By Kim Walter
Grafton Integrated Health Network is moving forward in terms of its use of technology to better patient outcomes.
The private, nonprofit organization that is headquartered in Winchester provides a full continuum of services to people overcoming emotional, behavioral or developmental challenges.
For the past several years, Grafton has had an internal process that has proven quite successful in tracking the progress of clients. President and CEO Jim Gaynor said the organization had an obligation to start accurately answering questions about the outcome of treatment.
"Years ago, there was no real way to measure progress, or know what specific things were working," Gaynor said Thursday. "People want to know if their goals will be reached, and we need to have an answer for them."
The process includes constructing goals appropriate to each individual client, and then figuring out how to measure progress toward the goals. Data is collected and entered into an electronic medical record each week. From there, a chart is created, giving staff a visual way of seeing where a client is struggling, and whether or not he or she is on track.
Gaynor said that if there are three consecutive data entry points that fall below the "minimum growth line," a multidisciplinary team is called to meet and "figure out what's going on."
"The program we've developed keeps us truly accountable and focused," Gaynor said. "It's all about delivering the outcome."
In fact, before using the system, Grafton was meeting goals and succeeding throughout the process about 35 percent of the time. Gaynor said this was partially due to different goals being set by different parties, making it hard to track a client's "success."
Now that success rate has jumped to 85 percent.
"And that represents the number of times that a client has truly mastered their goal, which means they've met it and sustained it," Gaynor said.
For the past year, Grafton has been working with AudioEye -- a Delaware corporation that has developed patented Internet content publication and distribution software, enabling the conversion of any media into an accessible format. While AudioEye recently launched its patented Audio Internet technology at Grafton's website, Gaynor said more exciting things are still to come.
The CEO is looking forward to taking the technology and data collection system, and turning it into a mobile application. This will make entering data easier, and allow for real-time results and reports for employees and the families they work with. Clients will be able to sit down in their home and understand what their progress means, Gaynor said.
The mobile app for smart phones will add to the speed and cost effectiveness of the system. Gaynor said it will save money because records won't have to be transferred from "pencil and paper" manually.
Launching the application will take sometime, though, as bugs will need to be sorted through and fixed. However, Gaynor said he hopes to have it available to employees out in the field by late fall.
"The coolest thing, though, is that we'll be building in a decision support functionality," Gaynor said. "So the system will be able to identify a presenting problem, whether it be with behavior, emotions or even school work, and then it will offer suggestions of appropriate goals and best practices."
The best part is, he added, as more and more people use the app, it will grow into more of a database that constantly will upgrade itself. The suggestions will evolve with the entered information, enabling it to be more specific to each client's situation.
Gaynor said AudioEye has been a great company to work with, especially given Grafton's role in the community. He said the organization had to understand exactly how the system would benefit not only employees and health care professionals, but also family members.
"They understand the social importance of applying their skills to improve the health of everyday citizens," Gaynor said. "All of this is going to change the way things are looked at and paid for ... it's time to stop paying for procedures and start paying for results."
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org