Most skilled nursing providers understand the value of an electronic health records (EHR) system, and the majority have adopted an EHR to help manage patient information. As of 2017, roughly 66% of skilled nursing facilities reported using an EHR platform, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
While initial adoption is a first step to modernizing the storage and analysis of patient information, some skilled providers ultimately find they need to change EHR providers to best meet their organization’s needs.
Such was the case for Cascade Health Services, based in Lufkin, Texas. With four locations across the state and a range of care services, the skilled nursing provider has long had a deep need for an EHR. That need grew with the impending onset of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), which took effect in October 2019, forever changing the reimbursement process for skilled nursing providers.
Under the shifting payment landscape, and given the time the company was spending on training during the employee onboarding process, Cascade decided that its longtime EHR provider was no longer sufficient.
Many of Cascade’s new associates had no prior experience utilizing the company’s EHR. However, the company realized many did have experience with PointClickCare, which is used in many facilities and health care settings across the nation. Because the onboarding process for the former EHR required numerous hours in teaching, training, and monitoring compliance, the company’s leaders were attracted to the idea of reducing the financial burden of its new hire process.
“We looked at three other options but made the decision to transition to PointClickCare due to their local market integration,” says Marjorie Dorrow, Cascade Health Services chief operating officer.
Once transitioning to PointClickCare, the company realized several immediate benefits.
“With Bundled Payments for Care Improvements (BCPIs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) increasing the amount of data requested from providers, we had previously spent four to six hours per month, at each location, gathering that information,” Dorrow says. “With PointClickCare, we are often able to run a report and have data ready for export in a matter of minutes.”
The company also utilizes a feature that assists with a deep dive into ‘return to acute’ to identify if actions could have been taken to prevent a hospitalization.
Ultimately, the transition led to more time available for clinical activities and growing the business.
“The additional time has been spent in census development and improving our clinical processes,” Dorrow says. “We have been able to update many policies and procedures to reflect the new technology. We have been able to migrate from a paper 24-hour report to an electronic version that has greatly improved compliance. Many nurses highlight important communication and provide a deeper level of detail.”
Inside the transition to a new EHR
Cascade had worked with a previous EHR for more than 15 years, and during the transition they found it useful to utilize PointClickCare’s online community, help button, video tutorials and private webinars, as needed.
Many organizations changing EHR vendors will benefit from a step-by-step process for the transition, including gaining organizational commitment; agreeing on project scope, planning, and a communication strategy; creating an implementation rollout strategy; and conducting a proper needs assessment.
Additional upfront considerations may also lead to a smooth transition, as was the case for Cascade.
“I would really encourage you to find out what EHR provider is being utilized by your local competition,” Dorrow says. “Speak with your vendors that you want to have integrated — pharmacy, therapy, lab, etc. — to ensure your selected EHR has the ability to integrate. Make sure you understand any limits with the platform and make sure that any EHR you are considering has enough resources to maintain a pulse on the health care industry. With the monumental changes in our industry, you want a partner that is working behind the scenes to prepare a functional product that helps ensure compliance and success.”
Choosing an EHR partner is a decision that requires significant thought, team input and a solid strategic approach. To learn more, visit PointClickCare and read “Switching EHR Partners Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for and Finding a New EHR Partner.”