An Akron-area start-up technology company is helping nursing homes coordinate patients’ care to keep them healthier and out of the hospital.
CareIntel recently launched a service that lets skilled nursing facilities track patients’ information and share it with the hospitals, primary-care doctors, specialists and others involved in providing medical care.
The idea is to use technology to pull together patient information from different electronic medical records system so problems can be addressed more quickly, potentially avoiding a costly return trip to the hospital, CareIntel Chief Executive and Co-founder Gene Groys said.
“By using CareIntel, everybody who needs to understand what’s going on with the patient is now connected,” he said.
Nursing homes, as well as home care agencies, subscribe to the CareIntel service and then give referring doctors and hospitals the option of receiving regular updates about their patients, Groys said. Participating doctors receive a text message or email alerting them when updates about one of their patients are available to view via a secure website.
Patients give permission for their information to be securely shared, Groys said.
Subscribers pay an implementation fee of $5,000, as well as a user fee ranging between 25 cents and 55 cents per patient per day, Groys said.
The system more than pays for itself by providing information to keep patients medically stable so they don’t have to leave the facility and return to the hospital, he said. In addition, facilities can get a competitive advantage by providing referring physicians and hospitals timely medical information about their patients.
“Because you’re able to communicate quality to your referral sources, they’re sending you more patients,” Groys said.
Century Oak Care Center, a 97-bed rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility in Middleburg Heights, is among the “beta” sites using the CareIntel service since late last year.
By sending instant alerts to staff cardiologists when a patient’s medical condition changes, the system has helped Century Oak eliminate cardiac rehospitalizations, said Shelly Szarek-Skodny, chief executive.
“If entered in the system, now there’s no phone call that has to happen,” she said. “It’s just instantly going out to the physician and clinical team.”
Groys got the idea for CareIntel from his experience launching OnShift, a technology company that helps skilled nursing facilities fill their staffing needs. In the past seven years, OnShift has grown to about 80 employees serving 1,500 nursing homes
CareIntel is located inside a renovated portion of a nursing home in Cuyahoga Falls. It has about 10 employees, with plans to grow in the future in the Akron area.
The close proximity to a skilled nursing facility allowed CareIntel to get feedback from the staff as the technology was developed and rolled out, Groys said.
The company now helps track care provided to more than 1,000 patients, with plans to expand to numerous other locations in the coming year, said Lou Primozic, one of the company’s co-owners, along with Groys and Tim Wilson.
CareIntel’s initial investors included a nursing home chain owner, Groys said. CareIntel now is in the process of trying to raise $1 million to help its expansion efforts and to reach profitability within the next couple years.
CareIntel is trying to expand at a time when the health-care industry is moving toward bundled payments to cover all care for a medical procedure or treatment, spanning across inpatient and outpatient settings.
There’s also a move toward “accountable care organizations” or ACOs. An ACO brings together doctors, hospitals and other providers to coordinate care for a population of patients and then share any savings achieved.
“It’s creating this environment where nobody can really stand alone anymore,” Groys said.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/CherylPowellABJ.