Strategic Profile: Visiting Nurse Service of New York
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VNSNY is the largest nonprofit home healthcare organization in the U.S. Through referrals from more than 60 area hospitals, 2,300 representatives make an average of 24,000 visits to patients' homes, every day. It's a critical differentiator for VNSNY to provide the best technology available to improve the quality of care and attract high-quality staff.
Top IT Exec: George Germann, CIO and vice president
Problem: VNSNY has been using pen-based PCs since 1995 to track basic patient information. But the older systems and software weren't helping the company gather critical patient data, or supporting nurses with onsite recommendations for patient care options. As a result, nurses often kept records on paper, which made it tough to track such patient information as prior treatments and medications.
Goals: Support state-mandated reporting requirements, capture onsite information about patient-care programs, provide a database of care options, and differentiate from competitors to attract quality nurses and hospital referrals.
Implementation: The company upgraded from older Fujitsu pen-based computers to Fujitsu's new ST4100 Tablet PCs. VNSNY also provided a customized application that made data capture easier, and a database of more than 20,000 medications made it easier to track potential drug conflicts.
Results: The company not only achieved all its basic goals, but also improved nurses' efficiency by improving onsite patient analysis, and increased the percentage of Medicare and other claims that were paid on first submission, reducing the number of days outstanding for revenue to come in. "We feel this gives us a tremendous advantage," says Rick Stazesky, VNSNY's director of information systems.
Lessons: Don't ignore the upfront work required to make data capture simple and intuitive. "The way to capture the data, if you want to do something with it, is to have a very structured data entry system," says Stazesky.