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Sybase Mobile Device Management Solution Enables Productivity and Customer-Care Upgrade for Kindred Healthcare Rehabilitation Therapists

Background: Kindred Healthcare, Inc. is a healthcare services company that through its subsidiaries operates hospitals, nursing centers and a contract rehabilitation services business across the United States. The contract rehabilitation services business – Peoplefirst – is the nation’s second largest contract therapy company, employing over 8,000 individuals the majority of whom work directly with patients at over 600 locations across the country. Peoplefirst delivers a full range of therapies including physical, occupational and speech. The therapists’ mission is to help patients reach their highest level of functioning in order to live as productive and pain-free lives as possible.

Challenges: Peoplefirst faced a problem with their current patient billing system. In the course of a typical day at Peoplefirst, a therapist might work with 10 patients. Historically, the therapists (or a secretary) had to spend an hour at the end of each day at a desktop PC keying their handwritten patient treatment notes – patients seen, time spent with each patient, and other treatment related information – into the company’s centralized billing system.This paper-based system created problems for Peoplefirst. The time spent keying information into the system was time that could have been better spent working with patients. Additionally, as with any paper-based system that requires re-entry into a computer system, errors were inevitable. This could cause problems with reimbursements from the healthcare facilities responsible for billing services to insurance companies and Medicare.To improve the quality of care delivered to patients, enhance its therapists’ productivity and increase the accuracy of the patient data required for billing and other purposes, Peoplefirst decided to develop and deploy a mobile system to replace pen and paper.Peoplefirst created a custom application called Point-of-Care Mobile to run on desktop PCs. By mobilizing this application, Peoplefirst eliminated the tedious process of entering handwritten information, allowing therapists to spend more time with patients. Peoplefirst also hoped the shift towards a wireless device would create more accurate timekeeping therapy service information, and billing.Point-of-Care Mobile was developed to run on HP iPAQ Windows Mobile devices and to connect wirelessly with the company’s centralized database in Louisville, Kentucky. Recognizing that it would be deploying thousands of iPAQs to its therapists across the country, Kindred’s IT team knew from the start that a proven and robust device management solution would be an integral part of its mobile system. 

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Solution provided by Sybase: Looking for a device management solution that was proven and reliable, Kindred worked in conjunction with analyst firm Gartner Inc. to assess the track record and user testimonials of Sybase’s Afaria to find a solution that would address their deployment challenges. Kindred relied on the Afaria skills and mobility expertise of Sybase Professional Services to help it integrate Afaria into its solution and accelerate the completion of its proof-of-concept. The company then began rolling the Point-of-Care Mobile application out to its therapists in stages, eventually deploying to 8,000 devices.The Point-of-Care Mobile system consists of HP iPAQ devices running the Windows Mobile operating system. Also running on the devices are the Point-of-Care custom application and the Afaria client software. Therapists sync their devices twice a day – in the morning to get their treatment schedules and at the end of the day to transmit their time keeping and treatment code information. Software updates can be pushed to the therapists’ devices as required. At Kindred-owned facilities, wireless connectivity between the devices and the company’s centralized database is via Kindred’s WAN. At other facilities that have contracted Peoplefirst to provide rehabilitation services, connectivity is via VPN over DSL. A typical sync session now last only 90 seconds, which is a vast improvement from the hours that would typically be spent manually entering this information. By reduced the time spent on paperwork, Afaria dramatically increased productivity and customer care.

Summary: Peoplefirst has experienced many benefits thanks to the deployment of Sybase Afaria. Moving from paper to Point-of-Care-Mobile has produced important benefits for their patients. The most important benefit is that its mobile system has eliminated the need for therapists to spend hours each week re-entering their time-keeping and treatment information into desktop PCs for transmission to our centralized systems. This allows them to treat more patients and/or spend more time with each patient, which is critical when your focus is producing the best possible clinical outcomes.Additionally, the information Peoplefirst captures now is more timely and accurate, which allows the company to generate more accurate invoices and improve cash flow. Management also benefits by being able to view information in near real time, which allows them to optimize scheduling, monitor treatment plans and progress, and meet compliance requirements more efficiently and effectively.Point-of-Care Mobile has produced additional, somewhat unexpected benefits. The use of this mobile solution has helped Peoplefirst secure rehabilitation contracts from healthcare facilities impressed by its efficiency and accuracy compared to the paper processes still used by many other rehabilitation businesses. And the solution has proven to be a valuable recruiting advantage in the competition among rehabilitation organizations for the finite pool of therapy graduates each year.

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Dublin, CA 94568 U.S.A.

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