As today’s competitive health care market evolves toward a model of episodic bundled payments, those producing the highest-quality outcomes, the lowest cost per episode, and the lowest readmissions back to the hospital will have a significant competitive advantage. 

Contracts will be negotiated with providers willing to be held accountable for superior, data-driven outcomes. 

As a result, the rush is on to drive electronic medical records (EMRs) as deeply as possible into operations to increase visibility and access to reportable information on which accountability will increasingly depend. 

Diversicare Management Services, Brentwood, Tenn., recognized in May 2010 that it would need an EMR program focused on driving higher-quality care. Diversicare provides rehabilitation and long term care services in 46 nursing centers across eight states, but at the time, had just one nursing center running EMRs. 

The Secret Sauce

The real question was how could they get the rest of their nursing centers quickly up to speed with full EMR? 

The answer: Assembling a team that would leverage internal staff with institutional knowledge and a committed software partner with deep expertise in workflows and training. 

The result: Diversicare collaborated with a technology company to develop a plan to deploy EMRs across its remaining nursing centers. And with amazing speed, the company deployed a full EMR system across 45 centers in less than 18 months. 

While other EMR systems would have resulted in complexity, cost, and extra staff needed for integrations, Diversicare utilized an integrated EMR application and received a clean database for connecting all types of systems, from therapy and pharmacy to health information exchanges. 

But what was the “secret sauce” for rolling out the full EMR so quickly? People fear what they don’t understand, so they must be continuously sold on the value, celebrate each milestone of success, and have the end-game in mind. This formula keeps the rollout true to driving quality outcomes.

The Need for Speed

Using great leadership, a committed staff, and strategic partnerships, Diversicare has embraced the digital EMR revolution and set the bar of success high for the rest of the profession. 

Diversicare has seen spectacular early clinical results, putting the value of EMR in a whole different light. With the implementation of EMR, Diversicare’s success rate with its medication administration system jumped to 99.9996 percent. In addition, the team immediately observed laser-focused insights into opportunities for improvements. 

Beyond the system itself are people and processes. Training staff ensured that the company could smooth details during implementation. A proactive platform was created to take quality care to new heights, and improved agility and competitive positioning were achieved. 

Today, Diversicare enjoys positive outcomes such as improvements to quality indicator scores and enhanced documentation. 

“As the industry grows more connected, we positioned for future integrations without introducing cost and complexity by using an integrated EMR application and database,” says David Houghton, chief information officer for Diversicare. 

David Houghton, chief information officer at Diversicare Management Services, Brentwood, Tenn., can be reached at Lisa Martens, vice president of quality management and clinical services for Diversicare, can be reached at Teresa Chase, president of American HealthTech, Ridgeland, Miss., can be reached at​