Upgrading Software & Technology at Crater Community Hospice

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Introduction

Crater Community Hospice (CCH) is a Virginia-based, not-for-profit community hospice program that offers a highly-qualified clinical staff renowned for their expertise in pain management, symptom management, end-of-life care planning, and spiritual and grief counseling.

In an effort to improve efficiency in patient care services and better allow employees to access the necessary software to complete their patient charting electronically, CCH chose to switch from an existing charting software that had been used since 1997, to Mumms PAS and CPC software.

Goal

Their goal was to find a reliable, cost-effective solution for the eight employees needing new, modern equipment. It was crucial that the solution met the needs of the software, as well as the budgetary and user-friendly needs of the business.

Background

Often times, the software used for medical charting becomes outdated and inefficient to the organization. Switching to a new system can be a very time consuming and tedious process, and can be a liability on the organization. With this in mind, CCH recognized the need to switch and took action. They hired an outside consultant to assist with the process, however, she was held up with the technical side of the transition and could not assist any further. The software company contacted ReFresh IT to step in and continue the transition process.

ReFresh IT, founded by Burt Cigler, Director of Technical Strategies, and Jacy Smith, Director of Digital Innovation, was hired in October 2013 to address these challenges, and assessed that both project management and technical work were needed.

ReFresh IT specializes in bridging the gap between people and innovation, through information technology strategy development, systems integration and infrastructure implementation, on-site employee training, mobile solutions, and beyond.

Assessment & Methodology

Project Management: Since some of the research work towards transitioning to electronic medical records had been previously completed by the original consultant, the project management portion of ReFresh IT’s service included the remaining work required to research and price-out suitable device options.

Technical Work: The technical work portion involved the initial configuration and setup of the Mumms devices for each employee at the business location. The on-site visit also allowed the team to make updates and set up remote access on existing machines in the office and cellular device configuration.

ReFresh IT provided CCH with a report outlining the devices that fit the functionality and budgetary requirements of the business.

The nurses and social workers were switched to MacBook Airs based on the technical specifications and their preference of a lightweight, durable computer. In addition to implementing the new system, ReFresh IT updated individual employee workstations from Windows XP to Windows 7, updated Microsoft Office software, and improved the network functionality. 

In consideration of the company’s budgetary needs, the ReFresh IT team worked closely with computer distributors to restore special non-profit pricing for software and equipment.

In order to create the least amount of disruption to the day-to-day operation of CCH’s team, work was completed in four phases and consisted of obtaining new devices, implementing the system, updating equipment, training employees, and providing on-going support; ReFresh IT continues to work with CCH on a monthly basis to provide remote support.

Evaluation

“From the start, I recognized the frustrations that CCH was experiencing and knew that we would be able to step in and help,” said Burt Cigler. “Selecting hardware can be intimidating when there are so many options to choose from. We worked diligently to understand their needs, and provided them with the most cost effective options.”

In collaboration with the CCH leadership team, ReFresh IT’s Cigler and Smith were able to find the best solution to allow the staff to work efficiently and not see their equipment as a hindrance. A recent survey found that 87 percent of employees were satisfied with their new charting software, and 84 percent of employees were satisfied with their new company-issued technology. Despite the improvement in efficiency thanks to upgraded charting software and technology, employees still remain challenged with charting at the bedside, citing patient and family members’ preference to have it done elsewhere.  

“Clinicians are facing a challenging shift in the care they provide because of a heavy interaction with computer laws and regulations,” said Jacy Smith. “It was important to find tools that met their practice’s procedures and helped deliver better patient care. Technically speaking, they chose to move their mobile employees to an Apple environment, which enhanced security and efficiency almost immediately, while also offering durability and an improved user-friendly experience. I appreciated the mindset of the upper management and their willingness to adopt new products and practices based on our recommendations.”

“As a small business we do not have IT staff on-site. From the moment we were introduced to Burt and Jacy, the entire process of transitioning to a new hospice software became so much easier. Prior to meeting them we had spent many hours just trying to determine the best hardware to use,” said CEO, of Crater Community Hospice, Brenda D. Mitchell, RN, MSN, CS, CHPA. “Due to their extensive knowledge and experience we were able to get this done very quickly.”