A California software firm is reaching across the coast to help hospitals in Pennsylvania improve their quality of service.
Trib Total Media reports that Qualaris Healthcare Solutions, Inc., a software company based in Oakland, has been providing western Pennsylvanian hospitals with healthcare management software for more than two years. Focusing on quality measures, the software is designed to help hospital administrators keep track of everything from the number of times employees wash their hands to the number of follow-up phone calls the staff make to recently discharged patients.
Washington Health System, a health services provider operating in three counties near the Pittsburgh area, uses the software to complete what was previously long and tiring work. Before Washington Health used Qualaris’s apps, its managers had to complete compliance records by hand, manually entering data into computer spreadsheets, and creating graphs, charts, and reports. In addition, they did not have immediate access to the data, making the process even more time-consuming.
Now, Washington Health can collect quality measure information on tablet devices and submit and process them in real-time. This is a significant, especially considering the recent government pressure on hospitals to reduce infection and readmission rates. Since 2011, the government has taken stern measures to improve medical care, going as far as cutting Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that hadn’t reduced their infection and readmission rates.
“We found there’s a whole set of manual stuff going on [in hospitals] that could benefit from some sophisticated processes,” said James Wolfe, the CEO and Co-Founder of Qualaris.
Wolfe recently signed off on a deal with 40 members of the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania, a regional trade association that specializes in healthcare, to provide healthcare quality software and apps. Part of the deal requires Qualaris to provide free tools for keeping track of hand washing and fall prevention measures.
Karen Bray, vice president of patient care services at Washington Health, commends the software as an invaluable tool for her company. She points out that, before the software, reports on quality care were issued every quarter, making it difficult for managers to audit their progress and evaluate a hospital’s performance.
“By the time a quarter passes, it’s gone, you’re on to new issues,” Bray said. “It’s really nice to have real-time data.”
The software provides administrators with “actionable information right there so they know where they’re failing,” said Jane Montgomery, vice president of clinical and quality services for the Hospital Council. “Now, instead of having a person in an office entering all that data, that person can be out doing real work.”
Qualaris is hopeful that its experiences with Washington Health and the Hospital Council will enable them to sell their products to similar healthcare organizations around the country. The company has already made an imprint in western Pennsylvania. In 2012, it was awarded a $50,000 grant from Carnegie Mellon University and has received more than $180,000 from local investment company Innovation Works since 2013.
Washington Health has already seen signs of improvement since adopting the software. For example, the rate of placed 48-hour follow-up calls increased from 60% last April to 81% in December.
“That’s still not where we want to be but it’s still a good trend,” Brey said.