Editor’s Note: The 2019 winners of the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards are being announced Oct. 4-11. Skilled Care track winners are being announced here by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Senior Living track winners are being announced on the website of sister publication McKnight’s Senior Living.

Implementing a robust telemedicine program has earned Redstone Greensburg, a Pennsylvania-based rehabilitation center, a Gold Award in the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards competition. 

“With increasing clinical staffing shortages, the use of [telemedicine] helps connect patients with practitioners in real time,” Jacque Bell, the facility’s director of Health Navigation, told McKnight’s. “This helps to decrease acute care admissions and readmissions, which create risks for seniors.”

Concerned about rising readmission rates and the need to provide quality care to residents on nights and weekends, in 2017, Redstone turned to Curavi for its telemedicine expertise. Curavi’s after-hours telemedicine coverage was so effective that Redstone expanded the partnership to behavioral health telemedicine services. Both solutions use Curavi’s telemedicine cart, equipped with a high-resolution, pan-tilt-zoom camera, monitor, speakers and Bluetooth-enabled diagnostic services that include a stethoscope, high-resolution exam camera, EKG and otoscope. The physician or nurse practitioner examines the patients with assistance from clinical staff using the telemedicine cart. Only if a patient cannot be treated are they transferred to the hospital for further treatment. 

The telemedicine program has brought reduced hospitalizations, improved patient outcomes and an increase in retained revenue (as more residents were treated in place, census improved) at the community. 

What can other facilities learn from Redestone’s experience? 

“Just do it,” Bell said. “The opportunities are there and the investment is worth the outcomes you gain as a facility, but most importantly, the outcomes gained for individual patients.”

2019 Tech Awards

Other High-Tech, High-Touch award winners:

Silver Award: Signature HealthCARE, of Louisville, KY, for a digital platform that creates ongoing communication between medical directors, skilled nursing facilities and chief medical officers. The CareAscend app drives engagement between medical directors and SNFs and enables two-way communication for maintaining and improving the administrative, clinical and physician collaboration.

Bronze Award: Kaleida Health, of Buffalo, NY, for using software that reduced hospital readmissions. Patient Pattern Inc. software helped align the hospital physicians with SNF goals and best practices for the frail nursing home population. This resulted in more willingness to consider alternative and more appropriate approaches to care, thus lowering readmission rates.

Entries for the competition were collected earlier this year and judged by an independent panel of long-term care and senior living experts.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum Sponsor of the 2019 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. MatrixCare is the Gold Sponsor of the Senior Living track.