Stace Webley, MBA
Financial Systems Support Manager, Confluence Health
Confluence Health is an integrated healthcare delivery system with two hospitals that provide primary care as well as more than 40 medical specialties, to provide comprehensive patient care throughout North Central Washington. With over 300 physicians and 170 advanced practice providers, we are the major medical provider for approximately 260,000 people between Seattle and Spokane with the goal to deliver high-quality, safe, compassionate, and cost-effective care close to home. Staying on the leading edge of healthcare innovation by adopting modern technology helps us provide better care for our patients and allows our providers to operate at their highest level.
Like many Healthcare Providers, one of the biggest challenges at Confluence Health is workforce shortages. Labor challenges in our hospitals can compromise care, place stress on existing staff, and create excessive traveler costs. When our hospitals have gaps to fill due to staff shortages, seasonality, extended absences, or training, they turn to travel healthcare professionals. That includes traveling nurses, for example, who step in temporarily and work alongside the core healthcare team. Confluence Health is spending a significant amount on travelers. In the first quarter of 2022, $10.6M was spent on travelers versus $4M for the same period the previous year.
Partnering with Infor, the goal of Confluence Health is to leverage technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to address resource necessities head-on, while keeping employees happy with a modern experience. By applying AI driven automation for key use cases, we are increasing employee productivity Which allows us to provide better care with fewer resources.
We found it beneficial to maintain a close relationship with Infor to stay current and be early adopters of new technologies integrated with their ERP – Infor CloudSuite Healthcare. As soon we were shown the power of Infor’s Platform Technology delivering AI capabilities embedded with CloudSuite, we knew automating manual tasks would not only increase employee productivity and satisfaction but also allow us to provide better patient care knowing we had the right levels of inventory on hand. These new capabilities are delivered through Infor Coleman Digital Assistant (DA), Inventory Intelligence, and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Vendor Check.
Coleman DA provides a conversational interface using natural language processing (NLP). Infor Inventory Intelligence calculates and recommends inventory re-order points using Coleman AI. OIG Vendor Check verifies vendor status with the OIG exclusion database using ML with Coleman AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Coleman DA provides staff a user-friendly interface to chat and get fast answers to inquiries from CloudSuite on supply – on the web or mobile device. This alleviates anxiety on staff when trying to locate supplies when a patient needs emergency care.
For example, a Stat CNA is a dedicated resource who procures essential items for patients once departments are closed. Before, if the CNA did not know where an item was located, it could take up to 15 minutes to locate it which could potentially cost a patient their life. With a simple voice command or text on a mobile device, Coleman DA provides the exact item location in the supply room to grab quickly for the best patient outcome.
Inventory Intelligence provides supply managers more confidence in stock levels and removes the need to manually calculate re-order points in Excel. Re-order points are critical to patient care because supply rooms can’t run out of an item that is going to negatively affect patient outcomes. Supply rooms also do not want to carry excess inventory, which increases overhead costs and consumes too much valuable space. With this AI-driven tool, supply managers are working with recommendations based on the most recent data, which is critical because stock levels and usage are continually changing.
OIG Vendor Check automates the manual process of verifying vendor status with the OIG exclusion database through automation. Infor has turned a process that used to take hours, into just a few minutes.
Using integrated AI capabilities, Confluence Health can now execute key supply management processes at least 90% faster. Implemented in under 90 days, AI-driven software automation has enabled them to reduce the time to execute these key processes from hours to minutes and minutes to seconds.
With the implementation of Infor CloudSuite Healthcare, Confluence Health leverages the underlying platform technology included with Infor OS to embed AI capabilities within the ERP screens on the web or on mobile devices (Infor Go). Data from CloudSuite is automatically collected and managed in the Infor Data Lake, allowing the integrated services of Infor Coleman AI, Infor Coleman DA, and Infor Birst to be applied to Confluence Health’s specific use cases very quickly.
Infor has been talking about integrated AI capabilities for a while, but we didn’t think we needed them at the time. When Infor approached us early this year and knew our challenges, they demonstrated these capabilities, and suddenly, we really needed them. The AI capabilities are not replacing humans or our staff, but rather placing less strain on resources by changing manual tasks into automated tasks, making things easier, but also more accurate. It’s game-changing to now get back valuable time in your day and re-directed it to the patient and community care.
Providing modern tools, like Coleman DA, helps retain staff keeping them happy and less stressed. Aja Rodriguez, CNA at Confluence on its impact, “There's pressure to get an item immediately if a patient is coding. One critical item is Belmont tubing for rapid transfusions. Not knowing its exact location could mean a patient's life. With Coleman DA, like Siri, I can search for it with a voice command to my mobile and know exactly where it is and grab it quickly for the best patient outcome.”
About Confluence Health
Confluence Health, one of the largest healthcare providers serving North Central Washington. We receive patients from Oroville to Royal City, providing them with the high-quality care they need. Part of what sets us apart is our commitment to offering comprehensive care. We have specialists who drive more than 130,000 miles every year to provide niche services our community needs.