Blood Center Banks on Data Integration Software

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2015-11-18 Email Print this article Print
Data Workflow Management

The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas implemented a data workflow management solution in order to streamline and automate its processes and workflows.

Operating a blood and tissue bank is a data and labor-intensive endeavor. At the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas—a provider of red blood cells, plasma, platelets and testing to more than 40 medical facilities across 10 counties—a need to streamline and automate business processes and workflows led the center to revamp its software systems.

"Several years ago, we began using a new software package designed for blood banks," recalls April Cleaver, the center's controller. "While it was wonderful for tracking blood and tissue and handling other tasks, it lacked critical billing functionality."

The Austin, Texas, organization collects more than 55,000 blood donations annually and handles tissue from approximately 200 donors each year. It also distributes more than 3,000 implantable tissue graphs to 50-plus facilities.

The center required a more efficient way to transfer data from two systems into Microsoft Dynamics GP. Manual data transfers consumed huge chunks of time and devoured staff resources. The organization also needed to adhere to strict government regulations and compliance issues.

"In all, there are more than 100,000 transactions taking place each year," Cleaver reports. "We were looking at the possibility of adding one or two staff members simply to perform data management and billing tasks."  

Using a Data Workflow Management Solution

The blood and tissue center turned to a consulting and integration partner, Express Information Systems (EIS), which recommended using a data workflow management solution, Scribe Insight. The data integration software works in the background during non-peak hours to transfer data to the financial software automatically.

This makes it possible to generate invoices for health care organizations and other clients. The center also can obtain detailed reports on financial transactions, as well as on the organization's overall performance.

"The data is available the next morning," Cleaver explains. "It's a completely seamless process."

Deploying the software was a simple and straightforward task, Cleaver adds. It took only about three days to install the software and connect the various systems, but the facility tested and validated results for 90 days before going live with the Scribe software.

Since then, the system has been highly reliable—with almost 100 percent uptime—and the benefits have been significant.

The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas achieved a return on investment within a year. In addition to eliminating the need to hire two full-time-equivalent positions, the software accelerates collections and revenue generation and aids in auditing, she says.

The system enables staff to view data maps and connections between systems, and adds flexibility when it's necessary to create new data mappings. Altogether, the system handles upward of 120,000 transactions annually.

The software has also made it possible to handle accounting for four other affiliated organizations. The bottom line is a reduction in "day sales outstanding" to 22 versus an industry average of between 35 and 40 days.

"We are able to operate in an extremely efficient manner and improve regulatory compliance," Cleaver reports. "We have also been able to boost both speed and reliability."

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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