Case Study

Jayhawk Pharmacy Services

Provider:

Jayhawk Pharmacy and Patient Supply

Pharmacy and HME provider with three locations, serving the city of Topeka and Central and Northeast Kansas

Challenge:

Closing the COPD Care Gap

When owner Mike Conlin expanded Jayhawk Pharmacy in Topeka to include a durable medical equipment division, he noticed a gap in the care provided to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after discharge. Specifically, no one was responsible for ensuring that patients knew how to use their equipment and refill their oxygen when necessary.

This was a big problem, because COPD patients are already at increased risk of readmission. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and accounts for over 700,000 hospitalizations and over 1.5 million emergency department visits each year. And while readmission rates for other chronic conditions seem to be coming under control in recent years, COPD readmission rates have remained high. One out of every five COPD patients typically ends up back in the hospital.

Jayhawk Pharmacy receives referrals from both local hospitals—Stormont-Vail Healthcare and Sisters of Charity. If Jayhawk could help patients take better care of themselves and stay on top of their supply needs, it would lower 30-day-readmission rates and help the hospitals avoid penalties. And Jayhawk would fill one very important niche.

Solution:

HealthCall for Patients Managing COPD at Home

Conlin knew that the right care collaboration platform would connect Jayhawk with its COPD patients, help them use their equipment correctly, and track results in order to prove Jayhawk’s value to hospitals. That’s why he chose HealthCall, which is specifically designed to allow home medical companies to communicate efficiently and effectively with patients.

HealthCall’s cloud-based approach allows it to be configured for disease management, post-discharge monitoring, and long-term patient tracking. “I saw HealthCall as a great opportunity for us to prevent hospital readmissions,” Conlin said. “It has so many touchpoints to give positive reinforcement, and help with patients’ overall compliance and medication and oxygen therapy.”

HealthCall helps Jayhawk manage around 300 COPD patients through their 360º Patient Care program. New patients are monitored through a 30-day post-discharge care plan, then transitioned to a less intensive wellness program. Patients enjoy having one point of contact and developing a personal relationship with Jayhawk’s patient-care representative, who visits their homes and shows them how to set up and use the equipment.

And even though Jayhawk is helping more patients and providing a higher level of care, the entire program is staffed by just a single employee. The HealthCall task manager helps coordinate all of the visits and the follow-up calls.

“The task manager is one of the keys to HealthCall’s care coordination programs,” said Cheryl London, BSN, RN, BC, director of clinical operations at HealthCall. “We develop these based on best practices and they can be individualized for each patient, which our clients and their patients appreciate.”

Conlin also appreciates the documenting and reporting features. HealthCall automatically documents all patient encounters and allows providers like Jayhawk to report objective outcomes data for referral sources.

HealthCall also plays well with other software systems—like Epic, the system used by Stormont-Vail. Though not part of Jayhawk’s initial offering to the hospital, Conlin envisions a future in which the hospital loads patient information directly into the HealthCall platform. The results would be more cost-effective for everyone, and could potentially decrease patients’ hospital stays by as much as half a day. “I saw that as one more ‘wow’ that I could offer the hospitals,” Conlin said.

Results:

Lower Readmission Rates; Higher Adherence

A year and a half later, the numbers tell the story. COPD patients managed by Jayhawk using HealthCall have a readmission rate of just 7.7 percent. That’s 56 percent better than the national average of 17.5 percent.

Even more impressively, COPD patients served by Jayhawk with the HealthCall platform have a 95.9 percent adherence rate (based on medications, treatments, and assessments)—versus the national average of 21 percent. Conlin sees this as a result of Jayhawk’s frequent contacts with COPD patients. “I don’t think people are used to being truly cared for when it comes to medical equipment,” he said. “Especially not with oxygen.”

The COPD program has been such a success that Jayhawk is planning to add HealthCall’s heart failure care plan very soon.

“Jayhawk’s success with the COPD program has allowed them to see the benefits HealthCall can provide for their other patient populations,” said London. “With very little additional work, they can quickly add the heart failure program and expand their offerings to the community.”