Care providers communicate and coordinate care every day in order to help the sick get better, especially those who are ageing and increasingly unable to proactively engage in their own care. In senior living communities, where residents keep getting older and sicker, the need for effective collaboration becomes more imperative. As a result, caring for this population's unique needs is stimulating innovation, not only in technology, but also in how care is delivered.
Attuned Care, founded three years ago, is a Chicago-based company with the mission to coordinate care tailored to the needs of senior living residents, an often-underserved population. The Attuned Care model is centered around collaboration and provides a glimpse into the future of cost-effective and patient-centered care.
For many, the transition from home to a senior living community is made as a result of a major life or health status change. Family members assume that having loved ones residing in a senior living community means that care will be coordinated effectively and things will get easier. Yet, even though 10% of the Medicare population lives in senior living facilities, the specific needs of this group are overlooked and lumped together with other high-cost and high-risk patient cohorts.
This is the experience that Attuned Care's CEO, Benjamin Berk MD, saw first-hand when a close relative led him to explore and understand the gaps in care, staffing, and service that exist within senior living communities. He explained, “My grandfather suffered from Parkinson's disease. After several years, his ability and our family's ability to care for him at home hit a wall. He made the difficult decision to leave his house and move into an assisted living community. We had this expectation that a lot of the problems would come to an end: the confusion over medications, the doctors who do not talk to one another, the night-time trips to the ER -- but like many families, we found that this was not the case. There was a huge gap between expectations and the outcomes.”
Dr. Berk understands the urgent need to work with senior living operators to provide customized care to their diverse resident population. Through their unique collaboration efforts with different provider organizations, communities and families, Attuned Care showcases the future of healthcare for senior living - bringing together care teams with common objectives and accountability to collaborate in care delivery.
Today, Attuned Care collaborates with communities and a range of providers to offer a suite of services, including primary and palliative care, home health nursing and therapy, that is administered onsite at the senior living community. Berk further described, “Our care coordinators pull teams together and also facilitate the coordination of care beyond the walls of the communities, such as scheduling and communicating with specialists, routing lab results, or obtaining medical equipment.”
The Attuned Care team currently serves over 50 high-risk communities in the Chicago area. Early results achieved between 2015 and 2016 are impressive:
- Nearly 50% decrease in hospital readmissions
- Reduction from 47 to 24 days in average skilled nursing facility length of stay
- 18% drop in total cost of care across the population served
“We can still do a lot better. That's why we are further developing our care pathways, population health capabilities, and community relationships, so that we can continue to drive outcomes and increase density of the population we serve,” added Berk.
Attuned Care is refining processes that will create strong feedback loops and augment the team's ability to provide high-touch care at low cost. To achieve this, the company continuously looks for opportunities to collaborate with those that share their mission and are willing to grow alongside them.
For instance, in 2016 the team set out to find a technology partner that could help increase efficiency of the field team. New York-based CipherHealth was selected because of their strong capabilities and their capacity to engage in agile development. With direct input from the field team, Attuned Care and CipherHealth partner closely on short iterations of two to four weeks to improve the care management platform.
“As we considered potential care coordination technology partners, we made it clear that we wanted a strategic relationship; more than just a vendor. We look to companies like CipherHealth who have the foundation and drive to support our future growth.”
Attuned Care's innovative approach to improving the resident experience and health outcomes in the senior living space permeates through all their efforts. Their ambition to build a unique provider organization through collaboration is built on the foundations of a shared mission, a consistent vision, and the willingness to adapt and learn from one another.