• March 29, 2016

    This Customer Spotlight is brought to you by PointClickCare. Here, we explore a customer implementation of PointClickCare’s Electronic Health Record solution including insight into the process and the leadership behind taking team members through the transition to a paperless platform. 

    Meet Karen Decker, executive director of Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek in Orlando, Florida. Decker has held the ED position since August of 2010 and has worked in the Assisted Living space since 1999. She began her healthcare career working in Albany Medical Hospital in upstate New York, where she worked with the orthopedic, burn, and trauma units. Following this, she transitioned into skilled care where she worked in skilled nursing center in upstate New York. When she and her husband moved to Florida in 1991, Decker spent some time working with mentally handicapped adults, which eventually led her to the Assisted Living space.

    We sat down with Decker to hear about what it took to lead her community through the transition to working with PointClickCare, and how an EHR-enabled platform has not only helped serve residents, but also has worked to better engage staff.


    As the Executive Director of Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek, what does your average day-to-day look like?


    Busy. I have eight managers who report directly to me, and they all have their own staff teams that work under them. All together there are about 70 employees working at Spring Hills Hunter’s Creek, so my average day consists of a lot of supervising and making sure things are flowing smoothly across all of our departments. There’s marketing, business, dietary, recreation, resident concierge, nursing, and maintenance, and all of these departments need to run smoothly, or it will, in some way, impact our residents. It may not always be as big of an impact as if the pharmacy delivery didn’t come on time, for example, but everything we do impacts our residents in one way or another, which impacts the community. That’s the “in general” version of what my day-to-day is like.

    Of course, I also have to manage quite a few calls throughout the day. Calls from families and residents who want to talk, as well as calls from business associates. I sit on the board of directors for FALA, the Florida Assisted Living Association, as well as the board for the Hunter’s Creek Property Owner Association. I am also a notary for many of our residents. I received my state of Florida Notary Public certification, which allows me to notarize documents for the residents and families, such as living wills. As you can imagine, these things require a lot of my time.

    I prioritize the things I need to get done, but don’t plan my days around specific things. I focus on what I need to do and juggle a lot of things that often “pop up” throughout the day.

    Spring Hills Hunter's Creek, Orlando, Florida

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    During your time, what has been the biggest challenge the community faced and how did you overcome it?

    Our Spring Cottage. The Spring Cottage is our Memory Care unit and until recently the unit was essentially a big circle. Residents had to walk around the unit to get from one side to the other, and with our memory care residents, they often wandered in a circle, which caused a bit of confusion for folks. We worked out a solution where we removed a bay window in the living room and transformed it into a door. We brought concrete in and had the sidewalk restructured, which required a lot of work. However, now our residents can go out into the courtyard and access the Spring Cottage from two entrances.

    Previously, there was no way someone could access the courtyard at all. They could see it, but they couldn’t get to it. Now with the two entrances to the courtyard, residents can enjoy the outdoors, or just walk a path throughout the building if they’d like.

    It took time to get things done because we needed to secure approval through the county, but we were able to accomplish our goal. In total, the project took about six months to complete.

    Our Memory Care unit has 18 apartments, which are fully occupied, and our Assisted Living unit has 67 apartments, with 60 of them being occupied currently.

    As far as senior living is concerned, do you view technology a need-to-have or a nice-to-have for residents?

    Technology is a must. Where we are now versus where we were before with paper…I definitely would not go back.

    Technology is a must. Where we are now versus where we were before with paper…I definitely would not go back.

    What about for employees?

    Technology is a big necessity. We use it in two major ways. One, we use a computer online training program. For the staff, they have the entire month to go over required training, and if they don’t understand they can ask questions. It’s not, “OK, we are having a mandatory meeting and everyone needs to come.” When you’re trying to get everyone into a one-hour training all at one time that you have need to have multiple times throughout the month, it’s not always feasible. Now, staff can do the training at their leisure.

    The second way we use technology is with our caregivers. They can document the care that they’re providing online, our nurses can document the medications they’re administering, the interactions they are having with the doctors, any notes about a particular resident, etc. All of this is done online. If there’s a fall or an incident of some kind, all of that is documented in our system.

    Tell me about leading the community through the transition to an EHR platform. What was the process? How long did it take?

    We spent a couple of months transitioning the team to the EHR. It was probably around two months where we had access to a training site. Staff would log into their dummy accounts, which looked exactly like how our site looks now. They could enter notes, document medications, etc., all without worrying about altering information on our actual site.

    Every day from the time we were getting ready, our admin team had conference calls to go through timelines to make sure we were on track with implementation. We discussed all our residents and how things were going with entering their information. We went through everything, so by the time we went live, things were seamless and we didn’t have any problems.

    We rolled out functionality separately to give our team time. We started with the core electronic health record and Point of Care for our CNAs, and four months later rolled out eMAR. We followed the same process. We practiced and uploaded the information in advance, and when we went live from paper to eMAR it was seamless.

    I know most people have a computer at home, so I think that made it easy for them to pick up on using the EHR, but nonetheless, it was a whole new system they weren’t used to using.


    What were some of the lessons learned in implementing PointClickCare?

    The monitors that are mounted to the med carts have battery packs, which need to be charged from time to time, which we found this to be a bit rough on things. If I were to do it again, I would suggest having an extra monitor, so if one of them happens to get damaged, or stops working for whatever reason, there is always a spare and you aren’t required to share from one cart to another.

    How did you manage the transition to PointClickCare across multiple generations of staff?

    With my nurses, they were fine and had no problems. Even our med techs had no issues. With the caregivers, they only thing I would say is that for the ones who were not familiar with using a computer, we had to show them how to navigate through it. We had to reinforce that it’s a touch screen, you don’t have to forcibly tap. There was extra training in navigating through the screen, which they caught on pretty quickly with.

    How does PointClickCare help you serve your residents better?

    This is the part that has been very good for us. I have eight managers and I have to oversee all things making sure everything is running smoothly across all departments. Now I have a dashboard for billing and for resident care. With resident care, I can quickly look on the computer and see whether medications are running on time instead of picking up the medication books and flipping through page after page. I can get onto my dashboard from a tablet at my house. I can do the monitoring from anywhere; I don’t have to be in the building to gather the information I need. The same thing goes for the billing side. I can look and see if someone has paid or if they haven’t paid.

    Does PointClickCare give you a competitive advantage in your market? If so, how?

    For the families, because they don’t have access to our system, they can’t see everything, but yes, it has made us better as a team. We are listed as a five star provider with Senior Advisor and Caring.com. We are listed as #1 on the top three best for ALs in Orlando. I think a lot of it has to do with the system Spring Hills has in place. PointClickCare is one of the programs that we have embraced and we continue to add more parts to it, allowing us to provide better services to our residents.

    What’s the biggest difference in managing your organization before and after implementing PointClickCare?

    Definitely the lack of paper. I don’t have to rely on my managers to get me reports anymore, which has significantly freed up their time as well to be able to oversee their staff and to be able to help and grow their teams. My managers can focus on what they need to do to make sure services are the best they can be, instead of taking time to go through paperwork to find information. Everything is available at the click of a button for me now. We can find information faster, which allows us to address things before they become a concern, letting us focus on providing the highest level of care possible.

    How does technology position Spring Hill Hunter’s Creek as an attractive place to work?

    We do talk about this, especially what part of their job entails dealing with the technology and how comfortable they are with dealing with technology. We discuss the mindset of how we deal with the computer and what they put into the system, and how records are entered. Even though it’s not on paper, it’s still a permanent record.

    When you take care of the employees, they take care of the business. When you invest in tools, technology and education for your associates, they are appreciative and want to work for the company.

    When you take care of the employees, they take care of the business. When you invest in tools, technology and education for your associates, they are appreciative and want to work for the company.

    Has staff been more engaged? Retention improved?

    We already had longevity with our associates when we started with this. I have about five associates who have been here for 15 years. About the same amount who have been here 10, and somewhere around 20 or 25 employees who have been here more than five years. So more than half of our staff has been here for five-plus years. I don’t see a lot of frustration with staff because their job flows more efficiently now.

    What types of technology investments are you making today in order to ensure the community remains competitive in five years?

    We are in the process of changing our nurse call system to a pendant-based system. We are still getting the wireless worked out for the installation, but Spring Hills has associates at all levels looking ahead and thinking of ways to better the service for our residents. Our new nurse call system will give each resident the security to go anywhere in the building and know that they can call for assistance at any time.

    We are also adding more Wi-Fi to the building so that we don’t have any problems when a pendant goes off. One of the other things we are doing is getting a dashboard that will integrate all of the programs that we utilize. I will have one dashboard where I can see PointClickCare, our marketing program, and our recreation program.

    Sounds like you’re very ahead in regards to technology.


    Anything to add?

    We find PointClickCare to be very user friendly. There have been times where we have made a mistake in entering something, or don’t know how to undo it, but we have called our tech support team and PointClickCare and they are really responsive. They are very helpful and will walk you through how to fix it any issues you’re having.

    At our community, our wireless is tied to our generator so if we do lose power because of a storm, we won’t lose access to eMAR and the system. We are called the sunshine state but it’s not always sunny!

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