The company is a provider of one of the United States largest specialty managed care health plans; it provides services to 720,000 individuals in 20 counties in a South Eastern state. The company takes a personalized approach to healthcare, incorporating both social support and medical services to meet individual needs.
During the normal course of business, the company needs to provide answers to questions and information inquiries from healthcare providers and a South Eastern State governmental department.
“We abide by state mandates so if a provider or the state asks us questions, we have to respond promptly…and the majority of that correspondence comes in through shared mailboxes,” said a SharePoint Engineer at the company.
For these inquires, emails are directed to a shared email box through the Exchange server. When an email was received, it was confusing to employees monitoring the shared mailboxes. They did not know if someone else replied to the email request or if it was still pending. Simple protocol of copying the shared mailbox on responses was often forgotten when a response was sent. There was simply no way to track the handling of these business-critical emails.
This setup was cumbersome and time-consuming, weighed down by the sheer volume of information that needed to be processed. It took a great deal of the administrator’s time to ensure that requests for information reached to the appropriate person at the company, so the requestor could receive accurate and prompt responses.
The manager of this process was over-extended; she needed a simple way to keep track of the emails without having to babysit it all day. So one day she came to us and said, “Hey, I can’t do this anymore. I need help,” said the SharePoint Engineer.
Furthermore, the company has precise document and record storage requirements. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PDF documents are routinely exchanged with providers as a part daily business.
For example, when a provider wants to do business, the company needs to pay for services provided to members [customers]. Each provider has to be credentialed and audited. Once accredited, all documentation related to that provider needs to be stored in the document management system (DMS).
Several years ago, the company implemented a document management system to handle provider and business documentation. The incumbent DMS “has reached its end of life,” according to the SharePoint Engineer, “and replacements were being explored. Many of the potential vendors we explored add more metadata to the documents, had Outlook integration and search, along with workflows that would automate existing business processes.”
To manage shared mailbox requests, emails are dragged and dropped from the shared mailbox into the harmon.ie Outlook plug-in. Once the email is dragged into a SharePoint document library through the plug-in, a SharePoint workflow begins a process for handling requests, including categorizing the request and assigning tasks to staff. SharePoint list views provide a simple dashboard of where requests are in the process.
In July 2015, the company decided to use SharePoint for document management. As part of the migration, the SharePoint team recommended using harmon.ie as a way to make it practical for workers to store and classify emails and documents in SharePoint through Outlook. They can search SharePoint within the plug-in so they could be easily found and retrieved later on. SharePoint workflows can be leveraged to process documents.
“I downloaded the free harmon.ie product and quickly found I needed the Enterprise version to do what I wanted [capture email headers as SharePoint metadata],” said the SharePoint engineer. “I worked with harmon.ie to get set up and it worked exactly like I wanted….it was great.”
As in many companies, workers were not eager to move to a new system and have to learn a new process. “As we move to SharePoint, harmon.ie is a peace offering to our workers who rely heavily on existing Outlook functionality…it’s like, ‘we know you are using Outlook – here is a great plugin that does a lot directly from the place you spend your work time.’”
harmon.ie’s robust email and document management capabilities were a perfect fit for the company. With harmon.ie, the company’s workers now simply click on an email or email attachment (i.e. document) and literally drag the email/document into the harmon.ie window on the screen. This process uploads the document to SharePoint and automatically associates email headers with SharePoint metadata. The metadata is indexed in SharePoint so that employees can later find important emails and documents.
With harmon.ie, emails and documents are stored in a SharePoint document library and can be shared and tracked by the entire team. With access to SharePoint directly from Outlook, harmon.ie ensures that emails are saved in the appropriate place and searchable when others on the team need to see the latest communications.
The SharePoint Engineer sums up her experience with harmon.ie, “We appreciate you working with us. We may not be the biggest client, but you’re so responsive. Your customer service is great.”