Healthcare Information Management (HIM) for FQHC


A Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with six locations in the mid-Atlantic region, nearly 300 employees and serving more than 60,000 patients annually; was experiencing serious difficulties properly staffing its HIM function and keeping up with daily patient data management processes and release of information (ROI) requests.


While HIM departments have historically been challenged by the large volume of paper documents that they’re required to process, this data management challenge has been exacerbated dramatically by the Covid-19 pandemic. The multiplying factor of the pandemic was driven by two dynamics:

  1. The volume of patients seeking healthcare services increased, and as a result the volume of paperwork that required processing increased.
  2. The presence of Covid resulted in fewer people willing to work in a healthcare environment, given increased exposure. This fear of increased exposure led to incremental resignations as well as there being no ready supply of replacement hires who could step in.

These related dynamics placed enormous human resources strains on the organization. And the negative domino effect on the FQHC and its patients didn’t end with simply subpar record processing. This combination of factors led to more errors as well as medical assistants and doctors having greater responsibility for patient data management processes. This, of course, led to less time to care for patients.

Ultimately, the Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a perfect storm of challenges for the labor, paper and detail-intensive world of HIM operations.


Where data management inefficiencies and related staff challenges exist is a tailor-made environment for an ECM application to be implemented successfully. In this case, the FQHC mentioned above took advantage of two separate solutions that are part of the GRM HIM Automation Suite.

Clinical Document iFiling

The first solution was GRM’s Clinical Document iFiling product. In contrast to the typical manual review, data entry, scanning and coding processes required to process a paper patient record, the Clinical Document iFiling solution effectively automates all of these processes – minimizing errors, increasing productivity and dramatically reducing costs.

Delivered via GRM’s secure cloud-based platform, VisualVault, this solution employs a host of technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to auto-process the patient records and integrate them within the proper patient profiles in the EHR. And, beyond the obvious efficiencies it created in the course of a normal work day, this solution is capable of processing records by itself 24 hours a day vs. the average 8 hour workday of a typical staff member.

Healthcare Release of Information (ROI)

In addition to the Clinical Document iFiling solution that the FQHC adopted, they also engaged GRM on the ROI front. Fulfilling ROI requests is an area that requires both labor, expertise and ideally, a good technology solution so GRM’s ROI practice and digital solution was a natural fit.

As this FQHC was in a position of being forced to do more with less staff, faced with responding to an increasingly large number of aua they knew that they were at greater risk of falling further behind with ROI processing, making errors, creating confidentiality breaches and the resulting liability.

GRM’s HIPAA and HITECH-compliant solution automated and streamlined as much of the ROI activity as possible in order to make the process easier for the FQHC, as they requested and delivered medical records. All requests originated in the GRM online portal where patients, healthcare providers, insurance companies, lawyers and court systems filed their requests digitally using an intelligent form rather than via phone or fax. And, once the requested data was available, it was delivered online. With the GRM ECM platform at the center of the solution and easily integrated with EMRs, billing systems and imaging systems, a smooth exchange of data was established and the ROI fulfillment process was accelerated.


In addition to the operational efficiencies that were realized, dramatic benefits were also realized by virtue of the analytics made available as part of the GRM solution. The analytics delivered real-time perspective and alerts on the process; helping the FQHC avoid penalties for records approaching the processing cutoff and highlighted records that had missing data. The analytics dashboard also delivered an unprecedented level of visibility into the process and insights that were previously not available to management.

The ROI Analysis

Based upon the efficiencies realized, it is estimated that the FQHC decreased their HIM budget by over 50%.



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