4 Providers share how they built a business case for EMR

(What follows is an excerpt from the white paper:  “No Paper Necessary: Four Post-Acute Providers Take the Plunge”)

How did you build the business case for EMR?

Ted Goins, Jr., President, Lutheran Services for the Aging: For us, it was difficult to quantify where we might be, but we felt like we would make some gains in the reimbursement side and it could help pay for the system. That certainly was one of the issues.  The rest was difficult to quantify and we didn’t try.  We knew intuitively that we had to get more technologically savvy to survive for the future, and that the future was going to be in those types of systems.  And the risk management piece is the same way.  I mean how do you quantify a lawsuit that might not happen?  But if you’re eliminating risks, you’re obviously eliminating the possibility of potential lawsuits.

Matt Auman, COO, Encore Healthcare: Ted has a good point there.  A lot of the metrics are difficult to quantify because they haven’t happened yet.  We ran a variety of return models, and obviously they’re based on what the salespeople from the various software companies are telling you.  Personally, I always cut those in half when I see them. But it’s a guess until you actually get in action. I basically backed into the process by analyzing “If the system is going to cost me X, I need X dollars per patient day on the increase in Med A rates to pay for that.” Now we have achieved numbers far beyond that, so I’m pretty happy about it.  But you know, the goal for me was to get this thing to pay for itself, and as Ted mentioned, you know, the ability to impact quality is where the ultimate goal is, and it’s hard to put that into a financial model.  But you know, the ability to look at exceptions happening in a building.  You know, I could tell you who didn’t get lunch yesterday in one of my buildings and that didn’t exist before.  So hopefully the payoff is in better care, better outcomes, and better quality of care. 

Mary Evans, COO, Covenant Care: We, much like Matt, we backed into it.  We said if we need to pay this much, how do we get there, and is it going to work for us or is there a different way to do it?  One of the things that we learned having our pilots in Indiana was that we saw a big increase on our CMI that we had not expected to see.  That was based on everything that was being captured using real-time data. Being a California operator, risk management was a very important piece of what we look at.  This system gives us the ability for the nurse to run a default report in the morning and ensure that functions were being charted timely. One of the attendant benefits that we saw was our hiring was positively affected.  People were knocking on our door, particularly when we were the only facility in the entire state that had this technology.  The aides were all talking amongst themselves, and we were getting increased staff interest.  We were able to increase the quality of our pool, so that was a good outcome of our business case analysis. 

Tony Ramirez, Director of Clinical IT, Skilled Healthcare: We also took a look back to see if we could calculate where we could benefit from this.  It wasn’t just a matter of just saying, “Okay, we know we’re going to make X amount of dollars.”  You can’t explain away a lawsuit that never occurred.  You can’t say, “We’re not going to be in this lawsuit or this predicament because of this.”  I developed some special ideas that gave the impetus to go ahead and pat me on the back saying, “Hey, that’s a great idea,” and also in some of our forums, our reports, our user-defined assessments. There are reports that can be generated that are standard information, rather than trying to figure out who did what. If you save the company money, that’s always a good thing.  And right now it takes us three to five days to do the monthly update log, which is a verification of all the stuff that’s supposed to be in your charts. Having a query written in advance that appears automatically, will save three to five business days

In this white paper, “No Paper Necessary: Four Post-Acute Providers Take the Plunge,” you’ll hear from:

Ted Goins, Jr. (President, Lutheran Services for the Aging)

Matt Auman (COO, Encore Healthcare)

Mary Evans (COO, Covenant Care)

Tony Ramirez (Director of Clinical IT, Skilled Healthcare)

Link to the full white paper