Heritage Living Center in Conway, Arkansas, is a long-term post-acute care facility that specializes in providing short-term transitional and long-term care services. The organization’s mission is to provide the best healthcare possible while making every resident feel at home. They are committed to achieving quality measures that ensure each resident receives excellent care.
One quality measure directly linked to the well-being of patients that is of critical focus for short- and long-term care facilities is unexplained weight loss, which has been associated with adverse health events and increased mortality rates. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) enacted this quality measure to track the percentage of patients experiencing unexplained weight loss of 5% or more in the last month, or 10% or more in the last two quarters. This metric is publicly reported, and in turn is subject to scrutiny by consumers, potentially affecting an organization’s business and reputation.
Facing a higher than average unexplained weight loss rate, Heritage Living Center rose to the challenge, determined to design workflows that would support more effective monitoring practices for unexplained weight loss across their patient population.
Heritage Living Center began their quality measure challenge by aligning stakeholders across departments. The interdisciplinary team consisted of representatives from the facility’s clinical, dietary, IT and administrative departments.
Recognizing that they already had the right technology available, the team’s primary challenge was to rethink processes and configure their technology to align with workflow changes. The team identified key features in their EHR to drive improvement, including integrated tools focused on nutrition management and electronic messaging capabilities that could be leveraged to strengthen staff communications regarding patient care.
Once they implemented the technical changes, the team created staff communications and educational programs to increase and promote the new workflows and inter-departmental communication and collaboration. As a result, Heritage Living Center saw improvement in the quality measure for unexplained weight loss and an increase in patient referrals. Streamlining more consistent, data‐driven workflows proved to be a critical factor in Heritage Living Center’s success.
The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence recognizes the thoughtful application of health information and technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and population health around the world. The Davies Awards program promotes HIMSS’s vision and mission by recognizing and sharing use cases, model practices and lessons learned on how to improve health and wellness through the power of information and technology.
“Good patient outcomes require coordinated and evidence-driven care after the patient leaves the hospital. Electronic documenting of wellness and behavior changes by care assistants alerts clinicians to potential patient deterioration, which allows for those patients to receive the right care at the right time,” said Jonathan French, CPHIMS, SHIMSS, senior director of quality and value-based care at HIMSS. “Heritage leverages their electronic health record and digital documentation interfaces, which allows the care assistants to drive care interventions. HIMSS is proud to recognize Heritage Living Center as the first long-term post-acute care Davies Award of Excellence recipient.”
“We humbly accept this award and acknowledge the deep dedication of our staff to the well-being of our residents as the primary driver of our success,” said John Ellis, COO, Reliance Health Care Management. “However, we could not have achieved the outcome we desired without the information and technology tools that enable cross-functional care collaboration and our best practice workflows to be realized. We are extremely excited that our efforts have been recognized by HIMSS through the prestigious Davies Award program.”
See the full list of 2019 Davies Award winners.
Updated March 6, 2020