The Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (CGMH) is a 68-bed facility serving more than 60,000 permanent residents and 3.5 million annual visitors to the communities of Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Clearview and the Blue Mountains. CGMH is an acute care hospital providing emergency care, diagnostic services including lab, imaging and cardio respiratory therapy, as well as two inpatient units (medicine and surgery).
CGMH is always looking for ways to cut overhead costs so they can provide better healthcare. For Michael Lacroix, VP of Corporate Services and CFO, one of his main focuses is on automating clerical procedures to achieve efficiencies and save money.
Inefficiencies and Unnecessary Costs
A few years ago, as he watched an executive assistant (EA) manually sort and collate report packages for board members, he thought to himself, “there has to be a better way.” Besides being a labour-intensive job (reports were 100-150 pages each), the process opened up the potential for confidentiality lapses, and the printed pages with full-colour graphics were costing a small fortune every year.
Then, because board members are spread across a fairly large geographical region, the packages were mailed or couriered to them, or members drove to Collingwood to pick them up. The inefficiencies and costs were staggering. Additionally, the same type of situation existed for committee meetings, for which EAs initiated agendas and requested input. With editing and attachments, it took a week to create an agenda.
The Search for Change
Lacroix knew that CGMH needed an automated meeting management solution to streamline the operation and save money. “I went online to search for a company that could help us in meeting management, and discovered eSCRIBE”, said Lacroix. “Compared to the cost structure of their competitors, many from the U.S., the eSCRIBE solution was affordable.”
“What stood out above all else, though, was that eSCRIBE is a Canadian company. It gave me a real sense of security to know that their servers were 100% on Canadian soil. The iPad app turned out to be a key feature I really liked and proved indispensable in our processes now.”
The eSCRIBE meeting management solution puts everything at their fingertips – instantly and securely, consolidated and archived. The eSCRIBE Meetings app is an enhanced dedicated iOS application designed to provide board members and meeting participants with real-time access to eSCRIBE meeting sites.
No more collating hundreds of pages across a boardroom table. No more costs for paper, printing and colour graphics. No more risk of leaving a confidential folder behind or sending it to the wrong person.
Embracing New Technology
What’s more, the iPad app means more flexibility, enabling board members and the leadership team to have access to information from anywhere, at any time, and to collaborate on meeting notes and agendas. Says Lacroix, “I wasn’t sure how well the iPad would go over. I talked about what we could do with it, showed some screen shots, and asked, ‘Is this something we want to do?’”
“To my surprise, it was unanimous. Not all board members had used an iPad before, so there was a huge learning curve. But they were excited that we were going this way, and I heard comments like ‘we’re so glad we did this’.”
- Multiple staff can edit the agenda directly at the same time
- Members can prepare for meetings in advance, posing questions and comments within the app
- Staff can prepare responses to questions and comments in advance of meetings
- The highlight feature and personal notes offer easy-to-see reminders
Since deploying the eSCRIBE solution, CGMH has realized the following benefits:
- Whereas board members used to carry around large binders that contained historical data, meeting notes and archival packages, now everything is in one place – on their iPads.
- Preparation time for meetings has been drastically cut (8 fewer hours in collating alone).
- The hospital has reduced their environmental footprint by virtually eliminating the use of paper and ink for agendas and report packages.
- Meetings move forward more quickly and more productively, because a lot of questions have already been dealt with – a real time saver for a busy executive team and board members.
- Confidentiality concerns are mitigated – only authorized people have access to classified material.
- Printing costs are zero for eSCRIBE-managed meetings.
The iPad App is the Future
Of the 70 meetings held every year, about 40% use eSCRIBE. That’s a huge impact on costs, efficiencies and security, and Lacroix is making plans to roll out the solution across all departments.
For Lacroix, the iPad app is the future of where things are heading, in terms of having people access information. Because it’s on the cloud, they can read, annotate, highlight and edit documents, utilizing instant communication and collaboration to get the job done efficiently.
“We continue to strive to make the eSCRIBE app the standard across the organization, so everyone has the same advantages our senior staff and board members enjoy”, states Lacroix, on how he was able to get his board to move towards technology he says, “just talk about the time it takes to prepare for meetings, it’s a big thing with the board as they are often mindful of taking time away from staff. Of course, cost advantages and standardizing meeting processes are also key things to highlight when making your pitch. In the end, it’s worth it.”