By Lindsay Carey
With some financial assistance from the Bradley Barnes Trust, the Central Connecticut Senior Health Services (CCSHS) was able to implement a new electronically medical record (EMR) system at the three senior living facilities in Southington.
The CCSHS applied for a grant last year through the Main Street Community Foundation and was approved as one of the first grants responding to the healthcare study done by the foundation.
CCSHS received a $185,000 grant from the foundation to help partially cover the $600,000 project, which included software, hardware, staff training and execution.
According to Main Street Community Foundation President Sue Sadecki, the healthcare study revealed that senior health was a priority area in Southington. As a result, the EMR system presented itself as a beneficial way to support the aging population in town.
“We tried to decide on what would have the biggest impact on Southington residents,” said Sadecki. “It aligns with the intent that Bradley Barnes set forth in his will for the betterment of the people in Southington.”
The grant is available to healthcare providers for the purchase of “capital equipment to enhance an existing program,” according to Sadecki.
The new EMR system will make patients’ medical records readily available to physicians, regardless of which facility they are treated at. The EMR system is being implemented at Mulberry Gardens of Southington and its Adult Day Center, The Orchards and the Southington Care Center.
Patricia Walden, vice president of CCSHS, said that they have been looking at EMR systems for the last couple of years and, now with the help of the Main Street Foundation, CCSHS is able to provide a full continuum of care at their facilities.
Walden said that CCSHS is one of the very few organizations to offer an EMR system in assisted living environments, along with skilled nursing facilities. According to Walden, the EMR system is beneficial because it follows patients through the changes in their lives.
“As people age they often transition from one level of care to another,” said Walden. “If at each stage of their lives we use the same medical record system then we’re able to get to know a person and support their needs.”
Walden also said that since the records will be available throughout the facilities, it makes the process for the patient much more convenient.
“The healthcare information follows the resident without a family member having to take on that responsibility of bringing healthcare paperwork to the next facility,” said Sadecki. “It’s all in the system.”
Walden said a lot of patients feel like whenever they go to the hospital they get asked a lot of general questions and if they go to another facility for care they are asked the same questions again.
“It makes the system feel like it’s not coordinated,” said Walden. “Having a consistent information system that ‘speaks to the other providers’ allows us to provide smoother transitions of care, reduces duplication and improves the overall experience of those who are receiving care.”
The new system is expected to improve the quality of care for seniors not only by preventing data duplication, but also reducing the risk of medical error, and making the process overall more efficient.
Walden believes CCSHS is breaking down barriers with patients because healthcare is more in sync.
“It provides a better experience and better outcomes for the people we’re serving,” said Walden. “As part of Hartford Health Care our objective is to provide a fully integrated approach in care delivery.”
By Lindsay Carey