CTG Partners with Emeritus Senior Living to Plan for an Integrated Business Information System
Emeritus Senior Living (Emeritus) is the largest assisted living facility provider in the U.S. Emeritus operates more than 500 communities in 45 states, with more than 45,000 units for 53,000 residents. In February 2014, Brookdale Senior Living and Emeritus signed a merger agreement to create the largest, full-spectrum, senior living solutions company, with more than 1,100 communities in 46 states.
Challenges and Objectives
The U.S. healthcare system faces unprecedented growth in direct correlation to the increasing number of aging Americans, and seniors are now the largest population nationwide. Like much of the rest of the U.S. healthcare market, the senior living industry is faced with ineffective data sharing. Enterprise electronic health record systems (EHRs) are still largely uninstalled in these organizations and, until recently, larger EHR vendors have not really addressed this space. At the time of this engagement, Emeritus was at the forefront of creating a network to connect its facilities.Emeritus had a future-state vision wherein senior living communities of care are an integral and critical component of the continuum of care. In order to be a low-cost, high-quality contributor in the independent living, assisted living, and memory care (IL/AL/MC) continuum, Emeritus had concluded that continuing improvements in the care and care coordination of seniors was dependent upon introducing increased levels of information integration across its enterprise. Emeritus partnered with CTG to plan for the deployment of enterprise-wide systems that would result in:
- Timely access and transfer of information between integrated care facilities across the enterprise;
- Improved resident care;
- Compliance with emerging ACO requirements; and
- An integrated care model between acute and post-acute (senior living) environments.
Emeritus faced a number of unique challenges in the journey to realize this vision, not the least of which was identifying an EHR system that could be deployed to more than 1,100 facilities (post-Brookdale merger) in 46 states, in communities ranging from urban to remote and rural. Further complicating achievement of the vision, Emeritus utilized a number of disparate applications, which did not integrate effectively. Redundancy and a lack of aggregate information hindered the business information available to executives. A consolidation of applications, along with the improvement and simplification of workflow processes, would be necessary to eliminate redundant labor efforts and improve internal communications.
In December 2013, Emeritus engaged CTG as its partner for IT strategic planning assistance and establishment of an internal project management office (PMO) that would support the selection of an enterprise-wide solution software suite, and the alignment of enterprise information management across the Emeritus community. CTG utilized its proven and proprietary structured approach and methodology at Emeritus. This practical and proven approach was designed to guide organizations like Emeritus in aligning organizational clinical, business, and IT objectives with technology solutions. For Emeritus, a customized approach was engaged to fit the organization’s specific IT needs and the unique challenges presented in the long-term care market.
CTG’s healthcare industry and EHR vendor knowledge, technical strength, proven approach, customizable methodology, and role as trusted advisor to Emeritus IT leadership resulted in building consensus across the enterprise on business priorities and necessary business, IT, and workflow improvements. Executive visioning sessions and detailed market research confirmed:
- Existing senior living EHR solutions focused on very specific components of the IL/AL/MC care space. Most solution options were driven by private pay and had deficiencies relative to federal claims management.
- Lack of standardized regulatory directives in this healthcare space (created mainly at the state level or as a part of state-managed Medicaid/Medicare programs) had caused many vendors to shy away from any payment method outside of private insurance/payment.
- Acute care EHR solutions had strong workflow and integrated utilities that could be leveraged in the senior living space, but work to include senior living in the care continuum was just beginning.
- Assisting in the establishment of an internal project management office (PMO) and development of supporting processes and documentation. The PMO was designed to support EHR selection and implementation efforts, as well as other mission-critical IT projects, such as the rollout of a system-wide knowledge management and document repository tool.