For our latest Four Questions Series, we sat down with Erik Iverson, VP of Business Development at Legacy Healthcare located in Skokie, Illinois. Legacy Healthcare provides skilled nursing, rehabilitation and specialized services to patients across 32 facilities throughout the Chicagoland area, as well as in Utah and Montana. Legacy aims to provide personal, empathetic, and customized care to each of the patients they serve.
1. What are some of the care coordination challenges your organization has faced?
One of the biggest care coordination challenges that we have faced at Legacy is knowing what a patient’s’ care journey looks like prior to them entering our doors. We often receive information on a patient’s most recent event, but we’re missing the important information about what happened to them before that. If an 80-year-old woman comes to receive care at one of our facilities after a hospital visit, we may know what happened to her at the hospital, but what about the 80 years before that? Without this information, we’re in the dark on patients’ medical histories, who their care providers are, whether or not they see specialists, etc. We then have to piece information together to develop an effective care plan.
Another challenge has been monitoring our patients post-discharge. It’s been difficult to ensure that patients are following up with their PCPs and continuing the services they need in order to stay healthy. Additionally, patients don’t always know that they can come back to our facilities to receive care and turn to the ED instead which results in costly, unnecessary readmissions.
2. How have you overcome these challenges?
Technology has been a big part of overcoming these challenges. Without it, it’s difficult for our staff to stay on top of care events, and information can easily fall through the cracks. Technology like PatientPing helps us by enabling our staff to act on patient events faster.
With PatientPing, we’re able to see the patient’s journey prior to them admitting to one of our facilities. PatientPing also gives us the patient’s care team contact information, enabling collaboration with other providers on appropriate care plans. This has not only helped ensure that we’re providing the right services, but it’s also helped us build relationships with our surrounding hospitals and health systems. As a SNF, if our readmission rates are too high, we may be not considered for certain partnerships. Having information at our fingertips through PatientPing has helped us maintain certain benchmarks, perform better, stay ahead of our competition and provide better care to our patients.
Through PatientPing, we’re also able to monitor patients post-discharge. We are notified as soon as patients present to an ED, allowing us to intervene and direct patients back to our facilities when appropriate. Not only does this avoid unnecessary ED visits, but allows us to provide continued support to the patients we serve.
3. How has PatientPing helped you achieve your goals?
With a lot of technology today, it may look exciting, but it may also force us to do things outside of our day-to-day. The beauty of PatientPing is that it’s been easy to integrate into our existing workflows.
Before PatientPing, figuring out who a patient’s PCP was or determining whether they had seen a specialist was both tedious and time consuming. Now, we’re able to see this info days before the patient is admitted to our facilities, putting us ahead of the game. We’re able to plan ahead for LOS expectations and post-discharge follow ups, making the patient's stay much smoother.
We’ve also strengthened our relationship with hospitals. Because we’re notified when a patient presents to the ED post-discharge, we are able to inform them that the patient doesn’t necessarily need to be admitted and can come back to receive care at our facility.
Overall, PatientPing benefits everyone involved. Providers always want to do what is best for the patient, but when the information they need isn’t readily available, that can be hard to do. With PatientPing, all of the information is there and now we’re able to focus less on worrying about these logistics and more on improving care for patients.
4. Can you tell us about a time when PatientPing helped you help a patient?
When we receive Pings on our discharged patients who present to the ED, we often perform what we call “wellness checks”, where we send someone from our facility to drive to the ED and check in on the patient.
In one instance, we sent a liaison to a nearby hospital to check on a patient who had been sitting in the ED for over 6 hours with her husband. The liaison learned that the patient did not feel well and wasn’t operating well at home. The liaison then informed the patient that she was able to come back to our facility to receive care for no additional cost. We were able to set her up with transportation back to our facility where she received rehab services for a week in the comfort of our SNF.
In this case, the patient was unaware of her care options and went to the ED to receive support. With PatientPing, we were able to avoid a costly, unnecessary hospital admission and also provide continuous support to the patient and her family.