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Swope Health Services demonstrates technology’s application in the healthcare field.
No matter the industry you currently work in, your company is no doubt experiencing a technological revolution. For the healthcare industry specifically—where the fax machine was the only standard for decades—this revolution was sorely needed.
Swope Health Services (SHS), a large community health center operating nine clinics in the greater Kansas City region, understands this well. SHS provides primary medical and behavioral health care services across many disciplines, including family medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, dental, and optometry. SHS spent a lot of time, money, and energy upgrading many different facets of the business’s technology to catch up to, or in many ways, get ahead of, the industry.
SHS took a huge step in the right direction about five years ago by digitizing its medical records. The medical record environment is maintained with tools like scanners, desktop faxing, and signature pads to allow the company to electronically capture and store most everything it needs for a patient’s medical record.
“This was accomplished by implementing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) called eClinicalWorks,” shared Brian Thomas, V.P. and CIO. “Since this time, we have eliminated our need for on-site medical record storage completely.”
Other technological achievements are helping SHS solve the challenges of being a large healthcare provider.
Thomas shared the organization’s patient population is very large and diverse, creating a management system that becomes increasingly stretched thin.
“We know that our population has varying chronic diseases, like diabetes or hypertension, for example,” he said. “And when the healthcare landscape is rapidly shifting from fee-for-service to a value/quality based model, we need to be able to proactively manage and improve the overall populations’ health, not necessarily focusing on individual health as we’ve done traditionally. We are now developing a solution for this very challenge.”
This exciting solution is the implementation of an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), made possible by Swope Health Services’ new data mining strategy. The company now has a real-time view into its entire medical record, ranging not just from patient care and clinical information, but to financial and operational information as well.
“This data will be accessible to leadership in an intuitive web interface, providing dynamic and interactive dashboards to staff and leaders.” Thomas shared. “This will allow them to quickly make tactical assessments and long-term strategic decisions, which ultimately will improve the health of our patient population.”
To further ease the employee experience in a difficult industry, Swope Health Services instituted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in the workplace. By allowing its employees access to their own, already familiar devices, a more seamless patient experience is created. Instead of struggling with new or complex technology, the medical provider is now able to offer patients a little more of their time and attention.
“Our BYOD solution is a device ‘agnostic’ platform, allowing our providers to use a device of their choice to securely, quickly and conveniently connect to our medical record anywhere from in the clinic to the comfort of their home or office,” Thomas said. “Convenience is one thing, but when you can use a technology solution that improves your connection latency by 60 percent over the traditional VPN, you are going to see some very happy customers.”
Happy customers—and especially happy patients—are why Swope Health Services exists, but the organization proves its value in its happy employees. SHS is a non-profit organization, so it can’t often compete with the larger, for-profit health providers for employees. What it does offer, though, is a little sweeter.
Flex scheduling and telecommuting are just a couple of ways SHS encourages a strong company culture, which focuses around three specific ideals—diversity, family, and compassion.
“We do a lot of things to make the job fun,” he shared. “To give you an example, we have a very engaged and active Spirit Committee. These associate volunteers give their extra time to make SHS one of the most fun and tight-knit environments a person could work in.”
From creating spontaneous flash mobs in the main lobby of the building without warning to passing out candy and Valentine’s Day messages in February, the Spirit Committee is dedicated to bringing the heart of SHS to all that interact with the organization in some way.
This fun, employee- and patient-centered culture has driven SHS’s success for nearly 50 years, a milestone the organization will celebrate in 2019. Thomas reiterated that being true to the organization’s mission throughout sustained, long-term growth is the reason SHS continues to be a leader in the healthcare industry in Missouri and Kansas.
“We have amazing clinicians, medical providers, socials workers, etc. that really care about the patient population we serve,” said Thomas. “Additionally, having a financially disciplined Executive Team and Board contributes to the overall success of this great organization. I am looking forward to being part of the 50-year celebration at SHS.”
Providing quality health care since 1969
Swope Health Services provides primary health care and behavioral health services throughout Greater Kansas City. We are a patient-centered medical home, nationally recognized by NCQA for our commitment to an integrated model of health care. We are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and The Joint Commission.
We opened in 1969 as Model Cities Health Corporation, part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Model Cities program. Our first clinic was in the basement of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
That first year, with 20 employees and a $100,000 budget, we served more than 2,000 patients. Today, Swope Health Services has grown to provide care for more than 40,000 patients in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center and Federal Tort Claims Act-deemed facility, recognized by the NCQA.
Swope Health Services improves the health and wellness of the community by delivering accessible, quality, comprehensive patient care.