Turning Implementation Challenges into Invaluable Opportunities

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This is the 13th in a series of case studies from the Preparing for the Future report.

You can check out the full Providence Life Services case study or continue reading the summary below.
The Organization
Providence Life Services (PLS) operates retirement and assisted living communities, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, respite and memory care on 12 campuses in Michigan and Illinois. In addition, the organization’s home and community-based services program, called Providence At Home, offers a full spectrum of in-home services, including home health care, chronic disease management, private duty home care, palliative care and hospice care. 

In 2002, PLS formed a technology division called ProviNET Solutions. ProviNET considers itself to be technology collaborator in the long-term care provider network and has succeeded in creating an integrated system for the next generation of health care. 

The company offers consulting in software and hardware as well as support and training to PLS and to a wide range of other organizations. With 60 employees, ProviNET Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Providence Management, a for-profit subsidiary of PLS.

The Approach
Electronic Medical Records: PLS is about halfway through a three-year process to implement an EMR from HealthMEDX to support physician order entry, nurse notes, documentation by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and e-prescribing.

Telehealth: On its campuses, PLS has had some success deploying several telehealth systems which feature social networking components. In addition, the organization has deployed about 200 personal emergency response systems (PERS) through its home and community-based service programs.

Outside Consulting: ProviNET Solutions focuses much of its attention on helping providers of long-term care services and supports with their implementation, support and planning for efficient use of an EMR.

PLS has researched and pilot-tested a number of telehealth units over the years. In recent years, it has focused its energies on launching an electronic medical record (EMR) system for its nursing homes as well as integrating other component applications that are routinely used within their facilities.

Keys to Success
Revisit all processes: The implementation of an EMR system gives an organization a golden opportunity to thoroughly examine its processes and the forms it uses to document the provision of services. Staff members need to review every paper form the organization uses to make sure those forms are standardized for all campuses and divisions.

Analyze the infrastructure: The launch of a major technology initiative also represents a good opportunity for an organization to analyze its entire technology infrastructure, including servers, data circuits, workstations, and related software applications. During this analysis, staff at all levels of the organization should be invited to offer their input on what they like and don’t like about particular software and hardware products.
Business Case
PLS does not focus on calculating a return on investment for technology. It does rely on technology-enabled services to help make the organization more efficient and specifically looks for areas to eliminate any duplicate data entry by integrating as many existing systems as possible. 

However, it recognizes that the existence of an EMR or other technology does not guarantee greater efficiency unless the organization uses the EMR implementation period to standardize their procedures and processes. PLS staff members spent a great deal of time carrying out this standardizing process prior to implementation of the organization’s EMR.

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