Mercy LIFE: Using Technology to Increase Operational Efficiency
Mercy LIFE (Living Independently for Elders), a member of Trinity Health of New England, is located in West Springfield, Massachusetts. LIFE is a Medicare and Medicaid program known in many states as PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly). Mercy LIFE serves more than 300 participants in Hampshire and Hamden counties.
Mercy LIFE participants were utilizing a non-CareKinesis vendor electronic in-home medication dispensing system. This system was not meeting the patients’ nor the center staff’s needs. According to the staff, the device would often malfunction, required frequent medication refills, used antiquated telephone modems, mishandled non-adherence, and the manufacturer provided limited customer support. These shortcomings prevented Mercy LIFE from achieving its participant care goals, including improving medication adherence, limiting access to controlled substances, and decreasing caregiver burden. Mercy LIFE decided to pursue a new electronic medication dispensing system with CareKinesis as a result.
It was a natural choice for Mercy LIFE to select the MedaCube™ since the staff was familiar with the device through its partnership with CareKinesis. MedaCube is an in-home automated dispensing system that helps PACE participants to continue living independently and avoid nursing home or assisted living admission. The device provides caregivers and nurses with real-time notifications when patients have not taken medications as expected. It does not require pre-sorting of medications or complicated canister configurations, so nursing time and the risk of
error are reduced. If a patient misses a dose, or the sensors indicate tampering, the caregiver and center nurses are alerted.
Mercy LIFE staff saw immediate results upon switching participants from the former in-home dispensing system. According to Kaitlin Swistak, RN, Clinic Manager, “The MedaCube helps with efficiency and the dosing parameters are particularly helpful.” MedaCube allows for remote dose modifications and dosing of PRN prescriptions using an online portal, reducing home visits by the Mercy LIFE staff nurses. “It’s nice to be able to cut down on nursing visits to the home. It’s much more cost-effective.”
Additionally, MedaCube takes photos of each individual medication dispensed, which Swistak says “is great for those patients who can’t remember if they took a dose.” CareKinesis also provides device training, and 24/7 customer service and support, a feature that Mercy LIFE welcomed.
“The MedaCube is a big help and makes a huge difference with medication adherence,” Swistak says. For PACE centers like Mercy LIFE whose goals include medication adherence, “MedaCube is going to help achieve that goal.”
“I like the MedaCube, the nursing staff likes the MedaCube, and the participants like it, as well,” remarks Swistak. “It helps them take their medication and reduces their risk of hospitalizations.” She advocates the use of MedaCube, and is “happy to talk about it” with PACE programs considering the device.