healthcaretechoutlook

Emerus Embraces Premier Healthcare Technology to Pioneer New Model for Community Medical Care

By Larry Guillory, Chief Administrative Officer,EmerusHoldingsInc.

Larry Guillory, Chief Administrative Officer,EmerusHoldingsInc.

Since its founding in 2006, Emerus Hospitals has embraced a patient-centered approach to medical care, with premier healthcare technology leading the way toward streamlining traditional hospital emergency room methods and processes.

A high demand for its advanced approach to emergency medical care has necessitated a rapid expansion for Emerus, the nation’s first and largest operator of micro-hospitals–and the preferred partner for leading health systems across the nation.

"Excellent communication among all staff members is the key to this model of medical care"

The micro-hospital is a model of smaller, capital-efficient healthcare facilities that combine a strong focus on empathy, with clinical excellence, to deliver superior operating margins and patient satisfaction scores. The model quickly became a necessary ingredient for most prominent hospital systems to provide broad geographic and clinical coverage to a geographic region.

Unlike standalone EDs, micro-hospitals are fully licensed hospitals with inpatient beds to accommodate people admitted from the emergency room. Emerus’ micro-hospital-anchored healthplex facilities offer a broad range of evolving coordinated care options. These include emergency room, primary care, surgery, imaging, pediatrics and other healthcare services in the communities where patients live, work and play.

Emerus’ pioneering new model for community medical care promises innovative care delivered fast and efficiently. Instead of the typical four-hour wait in a traditional emergency room, patients arriving at Emerus-affiliated micro-hospitals are usually seen within 15 minutes.

Operated as joint ventures with hospital partners such as the Baptist Health Care System in Texas, Emerus facilities use business agility and a strong patient-centric orientation to deliver the highest level of care, as well as cost-effective, scalable growth opportunities for large-scale healthcare systems throughout the U.S.

The model breaks the larger bureaucratic hospital processes down into simpler, easier to operate pieces, where ownership of the patient experience is shared among clinical staff–regardless of title or traditional role.

A series of innovations specific to the model were developed, including a redesigned hospital room sink that juts out from the wall at a 45-degree angle, allowing a treating physician or nurse to engage with a patient about his or her condition face-to-face, rather than with a back turned, as is the case in a traditional hospital or ER setting. These innovations allow teams to focus on efficiency and cost reduction.

Excellent communication among all staff members is the key to this model of medical care. Emerus decided to implement the Vocera Communication System, starting in San Antonio with its Baptist Emergency hospitals, not only for its hands-free wireless communication capabilities, but also to integrate with its telemetry system.

Vocera, which recently merged with Extension Healthcare, provides technology that connects nurses, doctors and care teams to improve processes and operations such as electronic health records, physiologic monitors and biomed devices such as ventilators. It also extends the scalability of the enterprise-class platform and enables stronger person-to-person and system-to-person workflows within a single system from a single vendor.

Emerus’ continuing focus on innovation in healthcare delivery has also led to the recent adoption of VeinViewer vein finding technology across 20 of its facilities, with planned facilities to adopt VeinViewer as they open. This innovative technology will improve the patient experience involving intravenous (IV) catheter placement and blood draws.

The adoption of VeinViewer vein finding technology was a natural fit for Emerus.

“Emerus’ focus on patient-centered healthcare means that we are always searching for ways to make a patient’s time with us more comfortable,” says Dr. Dan Middlebrook, Chief Medical Officer, Emerus Holdings Inc. “We’re excited to offer patients the best in vein finding technology to aid in avoiding multiple sticks, especially for those patients with difficult venous access.”  

Nurses at Emerus are embracing the futuristic technology, noting that it saved one nurse “from sticking a patient several times” and that “if a patient appears to be a difficult stick, or has poorly visible veins, then the VeinViewer is used on the first stick.” Nurses have reported that patients are receptive and intrigued by the new technology.

With joint venture partners across the country, each operating their legacy hospitals on various Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms, Emerus is required to operate as a Health System Integrator for billing records, operational data and patient records.

“Recent investments in Business Intelligence and Interoperability technology will allow Emerus to meet and exceed the integration demands of JV partners well into the future.”

Specifically, Emerus has recently implemented the Corepoint Integration Engine created by Corepoint Health. The integration engine streamlines the exchange of data between hospitals, radiology centers and laboratories – all leading to more complete patient records and the ability for providers to give better care to patients. The Corepoint Integration Engine will create efficiencies with interfaces with Emerus’ SAP-Business Objects data warehouse. These efficiencies will result in faster integrations, broader data sets and stronger data quality.

Emerus is also pioneering new micro-hospital delivery models with major EHR providers. One such provider is Cerner. Cerner is recognized in the industry for its innovations and ability to securely share data between disparate systems and venues, enabling clinical health information to be available when and where it’s needed the most. Cerner is a recently secured technology that will include roughly 30 new hospitals. Additionally, Emerus will leverage the Cerner platform for connectivity to the Commonwell Alliance for patient health information exchange that is generally location, health system and technology agnostic. The Commonwell Alliance currently represents over 42 percent of the acute care providers in the US.

Emerus does not limit its use of technology to clinical applications. Emerus has also recently implemented Workday, which is the fastest growing “cloud-based” Human Capital Management (HCM) system. With a quickly expanding employee population distributed across the U.S., Emerus is exposed to varying state and local guidelines. Therefore, it was important to choose an HCM that was flexible and leveraged the latest in cloud-based delivery and security protocols.

“At Emerus, we understand the most direct way to ‘best-in-class’ patient care is through engaged employees. We believe that as a member of the team, if you are not serving patients directly, then you should do all you can to serve those who are.  Workday has allowed us to better serve our team members. We have implemented online benefit enrollment, robust performance management, system supported compensation administration, and time tracking via Workday. Workday will scale with our business as we double, then triple, our employee count over the next few years.”