Madonna Rehabilitation develops rehab documentation system

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, with campuses in Lincoln and Omaha, Neb., has created an electronic documentation system for post-acute rehabilitation now being marketed to other rehab hospitals nationwide after co-developing the system with Allscripts, their core software vendor.

The organization signed with Allscripts in 2008 and knew at the time that it wanted to develop the documentation system, says Chris Lee, vice president of rehabilitation.

Since early 2011, Madonna has built custom content to meet the needs of post-acute care for all clinicians including inpatient and outpatient therapy, nursing and case management, says Roberta Steinhauser, director of hospital applications.


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Madonna wanted to custom-build its apps because often times commercial software for rehabilitation facilities doesn’t meet hospitals’ workflows and regulatory needs, and they wind up doing a lot of work-arounds. “We needed all clinicians in one system,” Steinhauser explains. “The workflow is intensely streamlined when having clinicians only in one system, and that is what we have accomplished.”

While Madonna used an Allscripts platform to build the rehab documentation system, all content development has been done in-house. Now, Allscripts is starting to market the product, Sunrise Rehabilitation, and Madonna provides product demonstrations to other hospitals in a business arrangement with the vendor.

The therapy component was the last piece of the project, taking two years to develop, according to Lee. That’s because both inpatient and outpatient assessments and charting were part of the therapy build. “The interdisciplinary care plan touched every part of the organization,” Lee says.

Success of the project rested on a vision that Madonna needed separate workflows to meet every discipline’s needs, with clinicians in charge, according to Lee. “We had great collaboration by the IT department, technical experts and billing, and with front-line clinicians designing it.”

Other rehabilitation hospitals mulling the change to electronic documentation must understand the scope of the initiative, Lee cautions. “Don’t think you can take your paper systems and transfer it over. Leverage the strength of your vendor’s modules.”

Those modules, for instance, have enabled Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital to collect functional independence measures at a highly accurate level, compared with previous measure gathering that had a high error rate because the measures were not done in a uniform manner, Lee notes.

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