Illuminate HC operators saw a “consistent and direct” correlation between delays in call-light response times and negative — and avoidable — patient experiences. Their efforts to change the model, especially around staffing, led them to win the Gold Award in the McKnight’s Technology Awards competition in the Quality category.

The goal was to answer every call light quickly, with the first responder assessing the request and finding a way to address it. As part of a team restructuring process, a certified nursing assistant supervisory position called “The Quarterback” is responsible for all initial responses, then assigning other staff members.

“The goal is to get every single call light answered in 30 seconds,” said Scott Sklar, Director of Research and Development. “The QB can handle multiple units. There was originally some apprehension by floor staff of the QB concept, but them came they see it as a way to be a cohesive unit.

The Illuminate Staff mobile device is wearable and lets staff receive tasks, communicate status/progress of the tasks, request assistance as needed and also access basic pt information. The idea was to channel the efficiencies of the hospitality industry when, for example, a customer orders room service.

Since the system’s implementation, piloted at Warren Barr Gold Coast in Chicago, there has been a 39% reduction in the actual call-light pulls, which Sklar attributes to more frequent rounding and renewed confidence the call-lights will be answered. There was a 20% reduction in call-light response time after the first quarter of deployment, and a 50% reduction by the fourth quarter of 2016.

“It’s more than a product. It’s a philosophy,” said Illuminate HC CEO Yair Zuckerman.

Nexion Health Management Inc. achieved a Silver Award in the Quality category for using

iDocsWeb-Telemedicine for 11 of its affiliates. Nexion found that in those 11 facilities, seven had improved their Medicare 30-Day All Cause Rehospitalization rates to below their 2015 baseline performance. One, McKinney Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in McKinney, TX, improved its RPM rate to 14.81%, which is a 34% improvement from the 2015 baseline.

The Bronze Award was won by HighPointe of Michigan in Buffalo, NY, for use of a software system to improve quality outcomes. Within six months its readmission rate went from 24% to 9%.  By the end of the first year, they had saved $400,000 in pharmaceutical costs, $100,000 in laboratory charges, and increased their Medicare star rating by one star.

Certificates of Merit were awarded to:

  • Plaza Health Network in Miami for its telemedicine/telemetry program, which allows for real-time remote monitoring of patients and a result of less hospital re-admissions.
  • Maryland-based Erickson Senior Living for working with Touchtown to create an interactive app called My Erickson. The integrated digital platform that supports all of the app features is called Erickson Now, which allows staff to manage or update content in a single tool, and publish it to several types of media.
  • Wellspring of Milwaukee for using the Gentell FastCare wound management program, allowing staff to input wound documentation required for MDS that is F-314 compliant.

Winners for the remaining McKnight’s Tech Awards categories — Dignity and Transitions — will be announced Friday and Monday. To read about the Innovator of the Year winners, which were announced Tuesday, click here. To read about the High Tech/High Touch winners, announced Wednesday, click here.

The McKnight’s Tech Awards program is sponsored by CareRise.