Graham Healthcare saves time, money integrating Salesforce, EHR, alerts, communications

The post-acute care group won back time it could spend with patients and saved $300,000 through interoperability.
By Bill Siwicki
01:17 PM
Graham Healthcare saves time, money integrating Salesforce, EHR, alerts, communications

Michigan’s Graham Healthcare Group.

Graham Healthcare Group, a post-acute care organization in Michigan, works with data technology companies to help it reach its goal of being an innovator in post-acute care.

THE PROBLEM

Recently, the healthcare organization reevaluated each of the systems that it runs. One of its biggest considerations in doing so was a singleapplication’s ability to integrate with other systems. Like a double-edged sword, investments with health IT platforms can end up creating inefficiencies if the systems are not connected within a single source of truth.

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“This becomes even more paramount for better care coordination with our post-acute specialties in both home care and hospice settings,” said Justin DeWitte, CEO of Graham Healthcare Group Hospice. “We knew that integration could help us find a sweet spot to best leverage the data we already have, so data can reach the right people at the right time. In order of priority, we engaged Bridge Connector to integrate three different systems with Salesforce: PatientPing, Connect America and then Homecare Homebase.”

PROPOSAL

The team at Graham has long understood the pervasive theme in healthcare that it’s difficult to integrate anything inside of an EHR, DeWitte said. The team adopted Salesforce years ago and knew that it wanted to tackle several integrations, eventually leading up to the EHR, Homecare Homebase.

"We knew that integration could help us find a sweet spot to best leverage the data we already have, so data can reach the right people at the right time."

Justin DeWitte, Graham Healthcare Group Hospice

“Bridge Connector promised faster go-lives, reduced costs and full service with their integrations, so we do not have to also manage the updates as systems evolve over time,” he explained. “Their solution was also different in that the pricing was all-inclusive and predictable with a subscription model – so as to not derail our original budget with upfront implementation fees or surprise maintenance fees.”

MARKETPLACE

There are many vendors of data integration technologies on the IT market today. Some of those vendors include Hevo Data, IBM, Informatica, IRI Voracity, Jitterbit, Lore IO, Microsoft, Oracle and Talend.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

It was important to Graham Healthcare Group to use Salesforce for integrations and processes that it couldn’t support in its EHR. Working with Bridge Connector’s team allowed the provider’s staff to integrate additional systems to make their Salesforce instance even more robust and useful across the organization, DeWitte said.

“Connect America is an alert system for nurses that detects patient falls at home and sends medical alerts,” he explained. “Integrating Connect America with Salesforce allows us to automatically onboard patients in Salesforce when they are assigned a nurse alert system. Also, any time that nurse alert system is used, a notification comes through Salesforce to immediately alert the team. That streamlines the workflow and makes logging the incident instantaneous.”

PatientPing sends real-time notifications to care providers whenever one of their patients receives care at another facility. It’s designed with post-acute care in mind, where patients often move between multiple providers in a short amount of time. Now, whenever one of Graham’s patients gets admitted to a facility within the PatientPing network, care managers at Graham receive the notification directly in the patient’s record in Salesforce, so the team never misses a notification and can take necessary action quickly.

Once the Graham team tackled these initial couple of integrations so successfully, they knew that their third integration, with the Homecare Homebase EHR, would be even more of a game-changer, DeWitte said.

“Homecare Homebase is an EHR designed for home health and hospice care,” he said. “Its integration with Salesforce pushes patient coordination notes from Salesforce into the Homecare Homebase instance, delivering actionable information at the point of care and allowing us to send automated notifications on updates from Connect America and PatientPing into the EHR. Having that information readily available improves the quality and continuity of care for all patients across our provider network.”

RESULTS

Graham has created workflows that seamlessly cross systems: improving care coordination, cutting down on readmissions, reducing time spent on manual data entry and ultimately reducing costs, DeWitte reported. Since the integrations went live, the healthcare organization has been able to save more than $300,000.

“Saving time in healthcare in some ways is just as valuable as saving money, because the time saved on administrative tasks has freed our staff to spend more time with patients, respond to their needs more quickly and deliver a higher-quality patient experience,” he said. “Those efficiencies are empowering our more than 2,700 staff and 10,000 patients served daily with real-time data at the point of care.”

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

“Data interoperability is one of the most frequently discussed topics in healthcare right now, and for a reason: Easy access to patient data that comes from efficient data sharing – whether through legislation or industry-wide standardization – will revolutionize the healthcare system and deliver the highest quality care for patients,” DeWitte stated. “Interoperability and the tools that enable it represent an interest that is unanimously shared by all stakeholders striving to improve patient care.”

Any healthcare provider, from the largest health systems to the smallest specialized care facilities, should have a strong interest in data interoperability because the next 10 years will see major shifts in how the industry shares patient data, DeWitte advised.

“Think of consumer-facing applications for smartphones or smart speakers that can alert local care teams when a medical emergency occurs – those technologies are coming soon, and I believe we should embrace these and other technologies that will benefit patients and improve care,” he concluded.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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