LTHC Homeless Services Implements Electronic Medical Record
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LTHC Homeless Services partnered with Indiana-based company HealthCall, LLC to develop a personalized electronic health record platform for on-site providers to track health services to those experiencing homelessness. The platform allows communication between healthcare professionals who are addressing the chronic and acute health problems experienced by many persons without housing.
“We did not want to be the owner of the medical record when we first envisioned having healthcare providers at LTHC,” said President/CEO Jennifer Layton. “But it soon became clear to us that if providers were going to come to our facility to help our guests, we needed to have a way for them to document the services that were happening.”
LTHC received grant funding from North Central Health Services (NCHS) to purchase the healthcare system. This community partnership grant aligned with the funding provided for the medical respite program at the Engagement Center and the needs documented in the 2018 River Bend Hospital CHNA for improved access to health care and services for the homeless in the NCHS service area.
HealthCall LLC, based in Crown Point, is on the cutting edge of developing care-coordination platforms that put the client in the center of the technology. They were excited to have the opportunity to create a platform for this unique setting.
“We were impressed with the LTHC care team and their desire to have such a robust system to support all of the various healthcare providers that they were working with,” said Daniel Hayes, President/CEO of HealthCall. “With their input, we were able to develop a secure, agile platform to accommodate the needs of their diverse care model.”
Purdue Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Eric Palmer is one of the healthcare professionals who comes on-site at LTHC. He oversees upper-class nursing students who provide healthcare services to guests throughout the school semesters. “Communication in healthcare is a safety concern,” Palmer said. “The HealthCall system allows us to bridge that gap with other healthcare team members who volunteer at LTHC as well as community partners that the guests go out to see.”
Layton said the agency’s Health and Wellness services has been a major focus for them even before COVID-19 was an issue. “When we planned the Engagement Center, we knew we needed to provide an on-site space for healthcare professionals to come serve our guests because their need for care is very high,” Layton said of the agency’s facility that opened in January 2020. “We need to do everything we can to get our vulnerable guests connected to the care they need.”
LTHC, formally known as Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, annually serves over 1,800 people who are experiencing homelessness. Their Engagement Center has an on-site clinic and four medical respite beds. They welcome agencies like the Tippecanoe County Health Department and Purdue’s Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy on-site to provide medical services.
In Spring 2021, LTHC was selected as one of nine homeless services agencies across the country to participate in a two- year cohort with the CDC Foundation and the National Institute for Medical Respite Care to improve the scope of services provided to people experiencing homelessness. With the implementation of the electronic medical record, LTHC will soon have nurses providing clinic hours to guests.
“We are thrilled with the progress we have made in the last 18 months to improve access to care,” Layton said. “Having HealthCall personalize a system to our setting has been a major part of this process.”
Hayes could not have agreed more, “Sadly, homelessness has grown unabated in our country for too long so we are excited to have this opportunity with LTHC.”
Catherine Scott, Purdue College of Pharmacy, is another provider that is excited about this partnership. “Among those experiencing homelessness, they frequently receive disjointed healthcare from many parties. This makes it incredibly difficult for them to follow medical advice. Having a singular location for their health information will enhance continuity of care and support safe healthcare practices.”
It took the HealthCall team about four months to design and pilot the LTHC platform. The next phase is for the Health and Wellness staff as well as core healthcare providers to start working within the system.
If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Jennifer Shook at firstname.lastname@example.org.