For almost two decades, US Med Express has provided durable medical equipment (DME) directly to the homes of people across North Carolina and beyond. Working in close collaboration with Medicare, North Carolina Medicaid, and a range of other health insurance providers, the organization delivers incontinence supplies, enteral feeding equipment, ostomy products, and nutritional supplements for adults and children.
Molly Ezzell, medical record department supervisor at US Med Express, said, “Hundreds of people with long-term medical needs depend on US Med Express to deliver DME products to support their day-to-day lives. Our mission is to ensure our patients always get the products they need when they need them.”
To deliver on time, every time, US Med Express orchestrates a sophisticated set of regulatory compliance and supply chain processes. When onboarding new patients, the organization first secures written consent in line with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and then works with each patient’s healthcare provider and insurer to gather and review medical records and other documents. Every six to 12 months, US Med Express must review repeat orders for medical products to ensure that they are still suitable for each patient.
Ezzell confirmed, “In a typical month, we review hundreds of repeat orders, which requires back-and-forth communication with numerous healthcare providers. In the past, we handled this process manually using physical fax machines in our office. However, as the business grew, this approach became increasingly time-consuming and error prone.”
Previously, US Med Express employees would fax paperwork in batches. There were numerous opportunities for human error—from entering an incorrect fax number to accidentally combining separate sets of records.
“If something went wrong with sending a fax, it wasn’t always obvious that the documents had failed to send—or why the documents hadn’t gone through,” continued Ezzell. “To avoid the risk of delays or interruptions to patient deliveries, the company looked for a new approach to exchanging data with healthcare stakeholders.”
Thanks to the OpenText solution, we can process repeat orders 50% faster, saving us the equivalent of 19 person-days a year—helping us to devote more time to patients with complex needs.
By replacing manual faxing with digital fax services powered by Providerlink, US Med Express can dramatically boost the speed and efficiency of communicating with its stakeholders while driving down the risk of human error.
“We use Providerlink to support all our communications needs—from gathering documents during the onboarding process to reviewing and renewing repeat orders,” explained Ezzell. “We collaborate with over 100 healthcare providers, and in the past our team would have to manually type in their fax numbers every time we needed to send them a document. With Providerlink, all the numbers are saved right in the system, which minimizes the risk of sending documents to the wrong recipient.”
With built-in virtual print capabilities, Providerlink enables US Med Express to convert in-bound faxes from medical providers and insurers into digital images. Every in- and outbound document is stored in Providerlink, with a full audit trail of each transaction.
“One of the big disadvantages of the old way of working is that it was very difficult to detect when something had gone wrong with a fax transmission,” said Ezzell. “With Providerlink, that’s never an issue. Not only does the solution automatically alert us to failures, but it also gives us a failure code that shows the cause—for example, a busy signal on the recipient side.
“In the past, if a fax failed to send, we’d need to re-do the entire process: dialing the number, feeding in the documents, and waiting for the transmission to go through. With Providerlink, we can re-send failed transmissions with just one click. It couldn’t be easier.”
Providerlink also offers capabilities that make communications easier for recipients. The solution enables US Med Express to include a custom cover sheet with each set of documents that shows details such as the patient’s name and date of birth, enabling providers to rapidly determine the nature of the request.
Ezzell commented, “We also greatly value the way that Providerlink automates the sorting of inbound faxes. Fax cover sheets contain a barcode showing each patient’s Providerlink reference number. When healthcare organizations send the cover sheets back to us along with the documents we’ve requested, the solution scans them and automatically attaches the documents to the correct Providerlink records.”
Providerlink has already played an important role in our business growth journey, and we’re looking forward to reaching many more patients in the years ahead.
Today, the organization uses the OpenText solution to send and receive over 10,000 faxes a year with significantly reduced manual effort.
“When we began our journey with Providerlink, we were processing around 75 order renewals a month—but now, it’s closer to 300 a month,” said Ezzell. “With Providerlink, we have a full history of all the communications for each of our patients right at our fingertips. When it’s time to review a repeat order, we typically only need to open the last form we sent, update the date and a few other lines, and then hit re-send.
“Thanks to the OpenText solution, we can process repeat orders 50% faster, saving us the equivalent of 19 person-days a year—helping us to devote more time to patients with complex needs.”
Since it first deployed Providerlink, US Med Express has increased the number of patients it serves by a factor of four. Despite the significant rise in business volumes, the company is maintaining its reputation for timely, accurate deliveries.
“When a patient order is close to expiring, we can’t send out the new paperwork for the next order to their provider more than 30 days before the expiry date,” explained Ezzell. “The efficiencies we’ve unlocked with Providerlink are really helpful because they allow us to keep track of the renewal process and regularly follow up with healthcare providers to get the documents we need on time. The aim is to avoid any delays or interruptions to customer orders—and with Providerlink, we are doing just that.”
US Med Express continues to expand its business and is planning to start operating in additional states. With Providerlink at the heart of its data exchange processes, the company is in a strong position to accommodate increasing business volumes.
“We’re adding new patients to OpenText Providerlink all the time, and because the solution is delivered via the cloud, the possibilities for expansion are practically limitless,” concluded Ezzell. “In all the years we’ve used Providerlink, we’ve hardly ever had to contact OpenText for support—the solution is extremely reliable. Providerlink has already played an important role in our business growth journey, and we’re looking forward to reaching many more patients in the years ahead.”