Case Study: Presbyterian Homes of Georgia
- Founded in 1949 with a 10- bed nursing home
- Five locations with a sixth in development
- Serves approximately 1,000 residents
- Range of accommodations including independent living, assisted living, memory support services and skilled nursing home care
Presbyterian Homes of Georgia (PHGA) has a long history of providing high-quality living options for seniors in Georgia, whether they need around-the-clock care, independence or something in between. The organization was facing a challenge that is common to post-acute care and elder care facilities: they did not have a comprehensive technology solution to address both revenue cycle management (RCM) and electronic medical records needs. While acute care hospitals and physician practices have been eligible for financial incentives to adopt EMRs through programs like Meaningful Use, this has not been the case for nursing homes and other community providers that primarily serve the senior market.
Despite the absence of incentives, leaders at PHGA recognized that by taking their health IT solutions to the next level it could improve care outcomes and ensure their finances would continue to remain on solid footing. The organization was also looking for solutions to address the need for delivering quality resident care and satisfying ever-growing reporting requirements. Manual charting processes required too much nurse time and doctors often struggled to address resident care needs while off-campus—often needing to call a nurse to confirm a lab result or vital sign reading.
In 2011, PHGA had an important decision to make. Their existing RCM program was scheduled to be sunset, which meant PHGA either had to implement a new RCM solution, or make the technology leap to a health IT solution that incorporated both electronic health records (EHR) and RCM. Leaders decided that now would be an ideal time to make the switch and provide them with the technology they’d need to accommodate future growth.
The organization brought in a cross-section of administrative and clinical teams to participate in the vendor selection process. Leaders asked clinicians and other staff to evaluate multiple solutions based on several key criteria, including the quality of customer service and support and the ability to customize the product based on PHGA’s specific requirements. PHGA also wanted a robust solution that would eliminate much of the guesswork inherent in the charting process. For instance, PHGA wanted to streamline charting – which would also free clinicians to spend more time with residents by having the system offer dashboards and prompts to remind clinicians of all essential data that needed to be entered.
At the end of the vendor evaluation process, PHGA selected HCS and its Interactant solution. HCS stood out among competitors based on its solid reputation in the industry, especially in terms of delivering its clients a high level of customer support and service. PHGA opted to implement the system in two phases, with RCM going live in May of 2013 and EMR in September 2014.
PHGA staff, including physicians, nurses and pharmacy, found the fully integrated system to be extremely user friendly. PHGA administrators appreciated the system’s ability to produce quality and performance metrics without interrupting nursing workflows. Today, nurses chart at the resident’s bedside, which has reduced documentation time and simplified the reporting process – and given nurses more time for direct resident care.
“One of the top reasons we chose HCS was because we wanted the ability to customize the system to address our specific needs based on our desire to continue our tradition of delivering excellent care to our residents,” said PHGA Chief Operating Officer, Gwen Hardy. For example, HCS worked with PHGA to design custom drop boxes with some of the most commonly-accessed data points in order to streamline nursing workflows during resident visits. In addition, HCS and PHGA worked together to design a body diagram that allows clinicians to speed up the documentation process, while also recording specific details about the location of injuries, wounds or other conditions. HCS has also provided pharmacy integration to make it easy for clinicians to enter and track medication orders and ultimately improve medication adherence and the medication reconciliation process.
With the implementation of HCS Interactant, PHGA is not only able to deliver high quality care to seniors, it also has a comprehensive technology solution that enhances the organization’s clinical and financial performance. Some specific improvements include:
- The ability to thoroughly document care in order to qualify for maximum reimbursements
- An increase of more than $100,000 in revenues in one year at one PHGA facility, thanks to more complete charting that supports accurate coding for billing
- More accurate charting, thanks to the ability to document at the resident bedside at in-room terminals, versus later at centralized terminals
- Improved charting speed and efficiency, allowing more time for hands-on care and better outcomes
- Better nursing morale, due to streamlined workflows and reduced administrative burdens
- Enhanced visibility into the “Big Picture” to drive better resident care
- Deeper family trust and satisfaction with the quality of care being delivered to loved ones due to the easy and secure access to residents’ comprehensive care records
- The ability to clearly demonstrate to prospective donors the value of PHGA’s coordinated, high-quality care
· Expanded telemedicine capabilities, which allows doctors to access charts