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Company > Customer Case Studies > Success Stories > Good Samaritan Society  
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The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society

We’re a not-for-profit organization, so we need to be good stewards of the resources available to us. We currently have more than 3,300 Socket devices in use in our nursing facilities. Thanks to Afaria, we’re able to manage these devices quite efficiently and effectively. We have a single individual administering our entire Afaria environment. Without Afaria, we’d have a much more difficult time deploying these devices and managing our mobile environment. It’s really an invaluable solution for us.

Steve Hitterdal
Manager, Desktop Technical Support; Good Samaritan Society

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of senior care and services, needed to increase the efficiency and accuracy of patient care documentation at its more than 180 skilled nursing facilities nationwide. It accomplished this by implementing a mobile data collection system utilizing more than 3,300 handheld Windows Mobile devices, all managed and secured by Afaria from Sybase.

Business Advantage

  • Enables the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and services for seniors to enhance the quality of care delivered to its residents and to increase management effectiveness and efficiency without having to increase IT staff.

Key Benefits

  • Increases efficiency of certified nursing assistants and other nursing home and management staff
  • Improves accuracy of resident care data
  • Provides near real-time availability to resident care data to medical staff and management
  • Ensures data security and facilitates regulatory compliance
  • Enhances overall resident care

Sybase Technology

Industry

  • Healthcare

Download the full success story in PDF format.

Mobilizing to Deliver Optimal Senior Healthcare
The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society is the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of senior care and services. The organization provides a broad range of senior care services including senior housing, assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and home care at more than 230 locations in 24 states.

The Society’s mission is to “share God’s love in word and deed by providing shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need, believing that ‘In Christ’s Love, Everyone Is Someone.’”

The organization’s skilled nursing services are provided to residents whose conditions are complex and/or medically unstable and who require frequent medical or nursing intervention. Daily nursing supervision is provided to residents needing health services and restorative or maintenance assistance with medications, eating, dressing, walking, and other personal care needs.

Much of the daily patient care is delivered by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who are responsible for documenting their resident interactions throughout the course of their shifts. This information is then passed on to the nursing staff to review and, where necessary, make adjustments in care plans and consult with physicians. The information is also reviewed by managers who are responsible for the overall quality of care as well as organizational efficiency and regulatory compliance.

Paper-Based Patient Care Documentation Neither Efficient Nor Accurate
Historically, CNAs documented resident care on paper forms. Typically, they would jot down activity information during the course of their shifts and would compile those notes and complete official forms at the end of their shifts. This method of documentation had a few notable drawbacks. Information on resident interactions was not generally available to nursing staff and management until the end of the CNAs’ shifts. Also, much of the compilation depended on their recollections of what they did with residents during their shifts. As a result, the information was not entirely accurate. Finally, it took time for the CNAs to complete these forms – time that could have been better spent working with residents. 

The Good Samaritan Society was determined to improve its documentation process by moving from its paper-based system to the use of mobile technology.

“We were looking for a way to streamline and improve care delivery,” explains Steve Hitterdal, the Good Samaritan Society’s manager of desktop technical support. “We also wanted to deliver resident care information to management in a more timely basis. Since the CNAs provide much of the direct patient care and are responsible for documenting the care delivered, we decided to start there.”

“What we were looking for was actual point-of-care documentation that could be transmitted back to our server at our headquarters every couple of minutes so that data would always be up-to-date and available to the medical staff and managers who need to see it,” Hitterdal adds.

Centralized Management and Security Capabilities Key to Success
From the beginning of the mobility project, the Good Samaritan Society’s IT staff knew the documentation system would have to be easy to use and easy to manage and update from a central location as there are no technical support staff at most of the nursing locations. The solution would also have to be secure to comply with HIPAA, Medicare and other regulations.

The organization’s IT department developed the application – named HandsOn – in house. It then deployed a wireless infrastructure (a wireless LAN) at each nursing facility. The infrastructure, using Cisco technology, was deployed with numerous access points throughout each facility so the CNAs would have constant connectivity via the facility’s wireless LAN.

Finally, the Good Samaritan Society chose Socket Mobile SoMo 650, Windows Mobile-based handheld computers as the devices the CNAs would carry and use to document care information.

Afaria Selected: “The Gold Standard for Mobile Device Management”
Recalling its earlier experience when it deployed PCs at its remote facilities, the IT department was keenly aware of the importance of being able to manage distributed assets from a central location. With the development of HandsOn, it was facing the same challenges, the difference being that it needed those management capabilities to work in a wireless environment.

“All of our servers are centrally located at our headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D.,” says Hitterdal. “In planning for the implementation of HandsOn, we knew we’d face some of the same management challenges we faced when we deployed our PCs as well as a number of challenges unique to a mobile deployment. This led us to investigate a number of mobile device management and security solutions. That investigation ultimately led us to adopt Afaria. In the course of our research, we spoke with research analysts who told us that Afaria is basically the gold standard for mobile device management.”

Sybase Professional Services worked collaboratively with the Society’s IT department to thoroughly understand their business requirements, resources, constraints and timelines in order to quickly and effectively configure and implement Afaria for the HandsOn system.  The Good Samaritan Society employs Afaria for everything from the initial provisioning of the devices to software updates, connection management, data security, inventory management and remote troubleshooting and fixes.

“The process begins when we need to issue a new device,” says Hitterdal. “We use Afaria to configure the handheld device and then send our distributor the software image. The distributor loads that image onto the Socket device and sends it off to the designated facility. When the device arrives at the facility, an employee unpacks it and sets it in its charging cradle, which triggers the set-up process. This configures the device and prepares it for use. The process takes about 15 minutes. We wanted to make this process as simple as possible for our nursing facility staff, and Afaria certainly helped us do that.”

The HandsOn application is so intuitive, there is virtually no learning curve. CNAs are able to begin using the devices almost immediately. As they perform their resident care activities throughout their shifts, they record those activities contemporaneously on the devices. The application is set up to transmit the data the CNAs record every two minutes via the wireless LAN at the facility to the Good Samaritan Society’s iSeries servers in Sioux Falls, and from those servers to the organization’s centralized DB2 database.

“An Invaluable Solution”
“We’re a not-for-profit organization, so we need to be good stewards of the resources available to us. We currently have more than 3,300 Socket devices in use in our nursing facilities. Thanks to Afaria, we’re able to manage these devices quite efficiently and effectively. We have a single individual administering our entire Afaria environment. Without Afaria, we’d have a much more difficult time deploying these devices and managing our mobile environment. It’s really an invaluable solution for us.”

The Good Samaritan Society envisions deploying additional applications to run on the CNAs’ Socket devices. It is planning to use Afaria to manage and secure these applications as well as the rest of its enterprise mobile environment including smartphones and laptop PCs.

“The most important thing,” Hitterdal adds, “is that the purpose of all of this technology is to help us be more effective in our mission to provide shelter and supportive services to older persons and others in need. Afaria is helping us do that every day.”

 
 
 

 
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