How to smooth the way for procedural changes

Implementing change is never easy. That's why Jean Terry, MBA, RRA, manager, health information services at Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross, GA, made these incremental changes to make new procedures for the medical records department functional:

    o establish a centralized location for incomplete medical records;

    o initiate a terminal digit filing system for medical records in the incomplete phase;

    o allow physicians to pull their own medical record files to complete them;

    o use bar codes for identification of medical records files (originally introduced in 1990);

    o extend staff hours to include nights and weekends.

By implementing this procedure change, the percentage of incomplete medical records over 30 days old decreased 71%.