Seattle Children's Hospital | Concord Technologies

HEALTHY PARTNERSHIP: Seattle Children's Hospital Benefits From Concord's Technology Advances and Strong Support

Many teams must work together seamlessly at Seattle Children’s Hospital to provide outstanding care. That requires access to current patient information from its Epic electronic health records (EHR) system, which in turn relies heavily on faxed data to maintain those records. An aging, on-premises fax system began making it difficult to keep up, so four years ago the hospital’s IT team turned to Concord Technologies for reliable, affordable, scalable, and EHR-ready cloud fax solutions.

“I remember going to offices to deal with issues around the delivery of paper faxes, and those were not the good ol’ days,” says Grant Egerdahl, IT Applications Analyst, Lead with the Departmental Systems team at Seattle Children’s, ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. “I’m no longer spending time fixing issues related to faxing, fax quality and missing faxes. It’s been an amazing transition.”

It’s also a huge advance in data delivery and reliability for Seattle Children’s, whose footprint as a pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho is the largest of any U.S. children’s hospital. And the collaborative effort has only improved since the partnership began, as the hospital’s IT team and Concord continue to find ways to streamline processing for thousands of faxes per day, all designed to get data out of faxed documents and into workflows across the enterprise.

That’s meant everything from integrating data delivery directly into Epic to creating pathways for different care teams to connect with insurance providers, doctor’s offices, clinics, and other partners faster when additional data is needed.

Utilization Review Team Streamlines Authorizations

Rapid data exchange is essential for Seattle Children’s Utilization Review team, which is charged with managing authorizations for the hospital’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit. This group evaluates, monitors, and assesses elements of care when a patient is admitted, working in tandem with doctors, nurses, and the entire treatment team to deliver superior patient care. That means providing both utilization review and case management, two document-heavy processes that require accurate, timely data, according to Sarah Malasig, Lead Utilization Review Specialist at Seattle Children’s.

“Part of our review is requesting an authorization from insurance companies, and we work with over 60 payers,” says Malasig. “We rely heavily on the fax system to receive incoming authorization letters from insurance companies on time and send outbound faxes for clinical reviews to obtain timely authorization while the patient is admitted. In the old workflow, we received these authorization letters as incoming faxes. There were several steps to save those incoming documents into a patient file, which was very time-consuming.”

The transition to Concord streamlined incoming and outgoing document processing.

“Our team can see the incoming documents as well as the outgoing faxes,” Malasig says. “We really like being able to see a tracking number when faxes go through, a capability we didn’t have before. We also can line up multiple faxes in a queue instead of waiting for one to go through before the next one could be sent which was the old process. Having all the faxes in one spot and being able to track them more easily in case a provider says a document didn’t arrive, has been very helpful.”

Concord’s advanced capabilities also allow for easier integration with Epic. Malasig adds, “In the previous process there were multiple instances when we ran into issues trying to save and attach the document on Epic. Now we click ‘save’ and it’s there. That’s made everything much quicker. With this new process using the Concord system, it’s a lot easier to work within Epic to save and attach the document. We haven’t had any problems opening the document once it has been attached on Epic.”

“Prior to Concord, when an insurance company would reject a case because they claimed the clinical documents were not received or pages were missing on the fax, the Utilization Review team would often contact me to try to dig up a fax number and figure out what happened,” Egerdahl adds. “Now they can figure that out on their own, and it’s much simpler. Self-sufficiency for this and our other teams has been a massive benefit for everyone.”

Health Information Team Increases Inbound, Outbound Data Speed

The Health Information team also fields a steady stream of inbound and outbound faxes, making system reliability essential. Inbound examples include requests for release of information to a clinic or governmental agency, as well as paperwork related to continuity of care.

“We are one department with many service areas. For example, our Release of Information team receives around 200 record requests daily and on average we release records for 35 patients a day via fax for urgent continuity of care requests,” says Amy Hertel, Director of Health Information Integrity Operations at Seattle Children’s.

Each outbound release may include dozens of pages.

“Our inbound faxes are received electronically through an Outlook email inbox that provides us with a shared central location to sort and review from,” says Hertel. “We are now able to send outbound faxes through Epic, and we’ve seen improvement there as well. It’s less clicks all around, which is a win.”

Like other departments, the Health Information team can stay on top of its fax volume with Concord’s solutions.

“We used to have a lot of interaction with Amy’s team around fax problems before Concord was implemented,” Egerdahl says. “We now have a much more efficient and effective system for them.”

Clinical Intake Team Uses Data Extraction For Faster Referral Processing

Speed and reliability have also greatly improved for Seattle Children’s Clinical Intake team, which is tasked with inputting all outside providers’ patient referral requests into Epic. This is another data stream that moves much more swiftly now.

Concord’s ability to extract key information, then import the document directly into Epic, has had a significant, positive impact to our workflow, says Tish Secody, Clinical Intake Coordinator, Lead at Seattle Children’s.

“Information gets pulled shortly after the fax lands in the Concord system and is then generated to our file-share setup with tracking details,” Secody says. “We also have outbound capabilities, which allows us to fax back an incomplete or inaccurately submitted document to the sender for necessary corrections and updates if needed. We have 33 specific fax cover pages that cater to various errors. This enables us to swiftly return the relevant information back to the healthcare provider for quick resolution.”

That process compares very favorably to the prior setup, which involved several steps in order to save incoming faxes in such a way that they then could be attached to the related referral encounter in Epic.

“Now we can pull the vital information we really need and immediately import it into Epic,” said Secody. “We can add specific names, referral information and notes to the document. No hyperlink required. Then we are done! It’s a tremendous improvement to our workflow.”

“Our old referral organization system was a custom design on an aging platform,” Egerdahl says. “We knew we needed to improve our fax setup. When we got the go-ahead to select a new fax system, Concord met our current needs and has grown with us ever since. We rely on them, and they make it very easy. I work with 200 IT vendors and Concord provides incredible service and support.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital





The Problem

Seattle Children’s Hospital had an aging fax setup in need of upgrading. It included various components grafted together over time, aging hardware and several fax lines that were nearing capacity.

The Solution
  • Faxes are sent, received, and stored through Concord’s Email2Fax, Fax2Email, Folder Monitor, Fax2Print and Print2Fax solutions, all trackable through a dashboard that unifies all services. 
  • Concord’s advanced data extraction and document classification capabilities, deployed in some cases, integrate incoming data more speedily into the hospital’s Epic electronic health records system.
  • The solution speeds up Seattle Children’s referral processing and inserts additional data more rapidly into patient records through Concord’s ability to nimbly scale up to meet different departmental needs.

Concord Cloud Fax Differentiators For Seattle Children's Hospital


  • Elminates the need for a dedicated fax machine and landline, reducing initial purchase and ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Saves on paper, toner and ink cartridges, making it more environmentally friendly.

Improved Efficiency and Organization:

  • Streamlined document management with cloud storage and easy search functionality. 
  • Integration with existing digital workflows, such as email and cloud storage platforms.

Convenience and Accessibility:

  • Faxes can be sent and received from any device with an internet connection, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.
  • No more busy signals or worries about missed faxes, as they are stored securely in the cloud.

Additional Features:

  • Electronic signatures can be added to documents without printing and scanning.
  • Faxing capabilities can be customized to specific needs, such as setting up auto-replies or sending faxes to multiple recipients.

Security and Compliance:

  • End-to-end encryption for secure transmission of sensitive documents.
  • Compliance with data privacy regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.
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