Customer stories

salem health banner imageSalem Health

Health system cuts length of stay and boosts patient satisfaction with 40% faster delivery of laboratory and imaging results via OpenText™ EMR-Link™

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About Salem Health

Based in Salem, Oregon, Salem Health is a not-for-profit health system guided by a volunteer Board of Trustees. The health system is the area's largest private employer, with over 5,000 full- and part-time employees.

Salem Health image
  • Founded in:
    1896
  • Acute-care beds:
    644
  • Providers:
    924

Summary

Challenges

  • Improve patient outcomes by delivering laboratory and imaging results to local healthcare providers faster.
  • Replace manual, fax-based processes for information exchange with digital integration.

Solution

  • Avoided the time and cost of manual integration with a fully managed solution.
  • Deployed rapidly with managed services support.
  • Built standardized customer onboarding workflows.

Results

  • Onboarded new customers rapidly
  • Delivered test results 40% faster
  • Reduced length of stay and boosted satisfaction

Challenges

  • Serving hundreds of local care providers’ demands for laboratory tests and imaging services
  • These test orders and results were handled by fax, leading to significant lead times
  • Long turnaround times for test results stood in the way of preventative care improving patient outcomes

A not-for-profit health system, Salem Health strives to deliver outstanding care experiences and outcomes to patients across Oregon. In addition to operating one of the largest acute-care hospitals in the state, the organization’s main hospital—Salem Hospital—has the busiest emergency department on the entire West Coast.

Salem Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people and communities it serves. To further its mission, the organization supports hundreds of local care providers with laboratory and imaging services.

Tish Gross, laboratory/imaging outreach supervisor at Salem Health, said, “We work with a range of care providers, from outpatient clinics to assisted living facilities. Offering our customers fast access to test results is important for many reasons. Short turnaround times offer greater peace of mind for patients, and enable providers to diagnose medical conditions earlier, when they are easier to treat.”

In the past, Salem Health’s customers primarily relied on faxes to order tests and receive their results. However, the manual work involved in this approach meant that there was often a significant lead time between providers placing an order and receiving their results. Manual processes also carried an ever-present risk of human error, which had the potential to add further delays.

Gross continued, “As part of a long-term business growth strategy, we decided to replace our legacy electronic health record [EHR] and laboratory information system [LIS] with a modern, integrated platform: Epic Beaker. To maximize the value of our investment in Epic, we looked for a way to digitize, automate and streamline data exchange with our laboratory and imaging customers.”

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One of our key goals was to cut the turnaround time for delivering test results to our customers, and EMR-Link has helped us to achieve that.

Tish Gross
Laboratory/Imaging Outreach Supervisor, Salem Health

Solution

Salem Health selected OpenText EMR-Link to securely integrate its laboratory and imaging centers with its customers’ EMR solutions. Delivered as a managed service, the OpenText solution enables fast, consistent, and clean information exchange.

Products deployed

  • OpenText™ EMR-Link™

    OpenText EMR-Link streamlines the exchange of orders, requisitions and reports between diagnostic centers and their clinic and physician customers

Services provided

  • OpenText™ Managed Services

    Rely on OpenText to migrate, update, optimize or manage applications in cloud, on-premises, or hybrid environments

Avoiding the time and cost of manual integration

After reviewing EMR integration solutions from a number of leading vendors, Salem Health determined that EMR-Link was the optimal fit for its requirements. The OpenText solution offers tight integration with Epic and a wide range of other EMR systems, helping Salem Health avoid the time and cost of building individual point-to-point interfaces for hundreds of customers.

“EMR-Link offers us the technical functionality we were looking for, backed by the expertise of OpenText Managed Services,” recalled Gross. “Because OpenText works directly with EMR vendors, we were confident that the solution would allow us to build reliable integrations and ensure full interoperability very quickly. We also greatly valued the fact that OpenText offered us the flexibility to customize the solution implementation to our specific needs.”

Deploying rapidly with managed services support

Working closely with OpenText Managed Services, Salem Health configured and tested the new EMR-Link solution, beginning with the onboarding of two of its largest customers.

“We began the deployment of EMR-Link while we were still actively working on our implementation of Epic—and having both projects running in tandem offered valuable synergies,” said Gross. “When technical issues cropped up, OpenText was able to work directly with our Epic consultants to resolve them quickly. Thanks to the strong collaboration between all the stakeholders, we went live with EMR-Link on time.”

Building standardized onboarding workflows

Through its ongoing partnership with OpenText, Salem Health is developing repeatable, standardized workflows for customer onboarding—enabling it to digitally integrate with clinics and care facilities quickly and efficiently.

“OpenText takes the day-to-day data exchange and technical integration work off of our shoulders, which means we can focus on value-added activities such as outreach and business development,” commented Gross. “As a partner, OpenText is great to work with. Our OpenText project manager is phenomenal, and the team meets with us every week to capture any issues and help us keep our onboarding projects on track.”

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As a partner, OpenText is great to work with. Our OpenText project manager is phenomenal, and the team meets with us every week to capture any issues and help us keep our onboarding projects on track.

Tish Gross
Laboratory/Imaging Outreach Supervisor, Salem Health

Results

By embracing EMR-Link, Salem Health can exchange information with its laboratory and imaging customers faster than ever—contributing to shorter turnaround times for test results, faster diagnoses, and better patient experiences.

Onboarded new customers rapidly

As its onboarding work with OpenText continues, Salem Health is steadily moving its customers from manual, error-prone fax-based processes to secure digital integration powered by EMR-Link.

“To date, we have onboarded 270 providers to EMR-Link, including some of our largest customers based on order volumes,” explained Gross. “If we weren’t working with a partner like OpenText, onboarding a single customer could take up to 12 weeks. But with OpenText, the onboarding process is much faster and easier.”

Gross continued, “After a customer signs up for the new service, OpenText liaises with them to integrate their systems with EMR-Link. Within a matter of weeks, they’re ready to start sending orders and receiving results electronically—it’s a really slick process. The managed services approach delivers valuable time and cost savings for Salem Health.”

Delivered test results 40% faster

By simplifying customer integration with EMR-Link, Salem Health can deliver all-important test results faster.

Gross elaborated, “One of our key goals was to cut the turnaround time for delivering test results to our customers, and EMR-Link has helped us to achieve that. We can now provide electrocardiogram results to physicians within just a few minutes, and imaging data inside an hour. With EMR-Link, we’ve accelerated our turnaround times by around 40% on average, which would not have been feasible if we were still relying on fax.”

Reduced length of stay and boosted satisfaction

Streamlined information exchange is now bringing powerful improvements to the patient experience across the health system. By rapidly sharing test results using EMR-Link, Salem Health empowers physicians to make faster decisions, contributing to earlier interventions and improved health outcomes.

“Preventative care is a very effective way to avoid urgent care admissions or prolonged hospital stays, and with EMR-Link we’re giving our healthcare partners the opportunity to diagnose and treat conditions in days, not weeks,” concluded Gross. “Over the last year, we’ve seen a reduction in length of stay across our hospitals and an increase in patient satisfaction scores—and EMR-Link has played an important role in those successes. I think our relationship with OpenText will only continue to grow, and we look forward to bringing the benefits of EMR-Link to more of our customers.”

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