Capitalizing on Health Reform by Embracing Technology-Enabled Accountability

Center Post

MorseLife employs a variety of technology in its provision of services and supports, including remote monitoring technology to help mitigate acute-care episodes, care documentation software that helps nursing assistants track activities of daily living, wireless networking technology in preparation for EHR deployment and a paperless employment application process that includes background screening and competency testing.

This is the 16th in a series of case studies from the Preparing for the Future report.

You can check out the full MorseLife case study or continue reading the summary below.

The Organization
MorseLife is a non-sectarian,charitable organization that cares for seniors in various settings, including its long-term care facility, short-term rehabilitation center, independent and assisted living residence, and through home and community-based services (HCBS) that enable seniors to age in place. 

The organization also conducts research designed to develop best practices in the care of current and future seniors. The programs conducted on MorseLife’s 37-acre campus serve between 400 and 500 individuals on any given day. 

Thanks to an expanding HCBS program, MorseLife serves four times as many people in the community surrounding the campus.

Technology
MorseLife employs a variety of technologies in its provision of services and supports:

  • Remote monitoring technology, including Cybernet Medical’s MedStar.
  • Therapeutic recreation technologies, including “It’s Never 2 Late.”
  • Cognitive rehabilitation technology such as Dakim Brain Fitness software.

MorseLife also uses a paperless employment application process, has installed wireless networking technology throughout the MorseLife campus in preparation for the deployment of an electronic health record (EHR) system; and uses care documentation software, including CareTracker and Casamba.

Approach
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2009, MorseLife immediately understood that the historic health reform legislation would have an impact on providers of long-term services and supports. The organization worked with Artower Associates, a group of advisors formerly associated with Dixon Hughes, to improve its understanding of the law’s components. 

This education process led to a summer retreat in 2010, during which the MorseLife’s 45-member management council recommended a collection of strategic initiatives that the organization should pursue in order to participate fully in health reform initiatives. 

As part of these efforts, MorseLife has worked hard to develop relationships with hospitals and physician groups and to position itself as a useful partner that can help reduce local hospital readmission rates. 

To complement this effort, the organization developed new clinical pathways for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, hip and knee replacements, and stroke. MorseLife is also taking steps to track critical outcomes and readmission data that can help the organization promote itself as a potential collaborator in any ACO that is established as part of health reform.

Business Case
MorseLife spent over $350,000 on information technology in 2010, a figure that represents one third of its capital budget. This included wiring the campus for Internet, purchasing Care-Tracker and Casamba, and providing smart phones for management staff.

You can also view all 18 case studies from the Preparing for the Future report.