Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

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by Tim Rowan, Editor

Querubin Iguban, MD, MBA

This may be a little hard for our readers in big cities or who live in densely packed New England states to wrap their minds around but Querubin Iguban, MD, MBA operates a home health agency that is 77 miles from the nearest hospital. Bearing the same name as his father, he goes by the affectionate Filipino moniker "Jun." He founded his agency, Genesis Home Health and Hospice, in 2004 in Elko, Nevada, expanding into the much smaller communities of Winemucca and Ely in recent years. Today it is 95% Medicare with a handful of insurance contracts.

Challenges of operating a Medicare home health agency in the middle of nowhere include scheduling clinicians across massive driving distances and how to care for patients with more cause than most to avoid ER visits and hospital admissions. Jun had always known the value of technology solutions and was intrigued with one he found at a virtual NAHC conference last year.

He had learned to use SHP to help schedule front-loading visits for episodes, which helped somewhat to lower his 60-day hospital readmission rate, but he was looking for something more to help shrink the distances between headquarters, clinician homes, and far-flung rural patients. Late last month, he announced a 12 percent readmission rate after implementing the Synzi communications platform in September, 2020.

Synzi is a technology company with a HIPAA-compliant communication platform that supports virtual care and remote patient monitoring. Users are able to conduct virtual visits and use secure messaging, text, and email for clinician-to-patient and clinician-to-clinician communications.

Genesis is just now starting to use Synzi's telehealth features, but Jun believes the system's communications capabilities have transformed the agency. "It has lightened the patient load for our nurses," he told us. "We can send physician orders, programs and protocols for specific conditions and exacerbations, and other office communications. It has saved hours of travel time, which is important during this nursing shortage."

Prior to implementing Synzi, communications limitations caused numerous problems. "During the early COVID months, we had issues with nurses who had kids at home calling off work at the last minute and we wouldn't get their text messages for hours. Now we exchange several thousand messages per week. Synzi’s secure messaging enables our clinicians to send images such as a patient's wound to other clinicians and physicians to solicit their help regardless of their locations. We even use it for payroll. The nurses send us photos of their timesheets."

Jun told us that he had been sharing staff with a hospital and a nursing home, just to cover his own patient load. That program ended when the hospital increased nurse salaries and he could no longer compete. "We are actively recruiting nurses all the time," he said, "but it is hard. We have a nursing school but it only graduates 15 to 20 nurses and year, and they all leave town." He looks forward to reducing the burden on nurses when he adds Synzi Bluetooth telehealth devices for 10 to 15 percent of his 87 Elko patients.

Synzi's communication and telehealth platform leverages everyday devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. In addition to secure messaging, Synzi solutions include virtual visits, clinical episode management, remote patient monitoring, and digital assessments.

To bring the benefits of virtual care to even more patients, Genesis is actively expanding their use of the Synzi platform. The next phase of the Synzi roll-out will include using the virtual visit features to communicate with patients and their family caregivers. Genesis will also be leveraging the Synzi platform to schedule and send condition-specific messages which help drive patient engagement, strengthen adherence, and reinforce nutrition and exercise guidance.

About Synzi

Synzi is a technology company that drives better patient access to care with a state-of-the-art communication platform. Its HIPAA-compliant virtual care and remote patient monitoring platforms enable organizations to conduct virtual visits and use secure messaging, text, and email for clinician-to-patient and clinician-to-clinician communications. Multiple participants can be included in virtual visits including medically-certified interpreters, referring physicians, and family caregivers. The assessments feature allows administrators to create, send, and conduct patient assessments on a regular basis. With dashboard reporting, organizations gain insight into patient progress to help identify the need for immediate intervention or changes in plans of care.

About Genesis Home Health and Hospice

Founded in Elko, NV by a couple of Physicians in June 2004, Genesis Home Health & Hospice is a 5 Star Agency and uniquely positioned to become the premier provider of home health and hospice care in the State of Nevada. Genesis has a team of compassionate and knowledgeable clinicians providing valuable care to their beloved elderly patients. Genesis prides itself on achieving the best possible outcomes and quality of care – including Home Health Care for managing chronic medical conditions; Hospice Care to provide end-of-life care with dignity and comfort; and Personal Care aimed at helping people remain safe and independent at home.

©2021 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Home Care Technology: The Rowan Report. One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only.