How I Work: A day with RN Quality Improvement Consultant, Amy Cassata
We sat down with Amy Cassata, RN Quality Improvement Consultant at Great Lakes Healthcare Group to talk about her career, how she works, and her recent experience implementing PointClickCare’s Skin and Wound solution. Amy shares her learnings from implementing technology solutions, some of the best advice she has received in her career, and her ambitions to be a better archer than that girl in The Hunger Games.
How did you get to where you are today? What has your healthcare journey been like?
I started as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2004 at a large rehabilitation hospital in Chicago. When I had my first child, I decided to move to a Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation facility that was closer to home. I worked there part-time as an LPN while I went back to school to become a Registered Nurse. When I completed my certification, I became the Assistant Director of Nursing at the facility, eventually moving on to become first the Director of Nursing and then the Senior Director of Nursing.
I met Benjamin T. Friedman, who is the Co-Founder of Great Lakes Healthcare Group, while we were both sitting on a suburban Chicago hospital board. At the time, Great Lakes was rapidly expanding and had just acquired a paper-based facility with a goal of transitioning it to an EHR system. Benjamin knew that I had experience managing multiple facilities using PointClickCare so he offered me an opportunity to manage this transition.
From May 2015 until May 2016, that facility went from 100% paper to 90% electronic with PointClickCare. Since then, we have acquired multiple out-of-state facilities, which I am now managing and transitioning from paper to PointClickCare.
What are you most passionate about in your job?
When I worked at the rehabilitation hospital, one of my patients was a professional boxer, who because of trauma, was in a coma state. From the time that he entered the facility he needed complete care – everything from being fed to being dressed and bathed. When he completed his rehabilitation, he was able to walk out of the hospital under his own power. Helping to provide a resolution to a problem and being part of the healing process has always made me passionate about my work.
You’ve had a lot of experience implementing various PointClickCare solutions. One of your most recent implementations was Skin and Wound. Why did your organization make the decision to adopt this technology?
At Great Lakes, I am responsible for setting our standards for clinical care, our systems, regulations, and polices. Knowing that CMS is very stringent with wound care documentation, it made sense for our organization to adopt a solution like Skin and Wound to help us provide consistent and accurate documentation that helps to ensure compliance.
At our facility, we have a specific niche in wound care and have one of the leading wound care programs in Chicago. PointClickCare’s Skin and Wound solution has enabled us to further differentiate our program by providing a comprehensive, real-time view of our facility’s current skin and wound performance measures that integrate seamlessly into the EHR. This has enabled us to shift from reactionary care to a more preventative wound care focus.
Has using the Skin and Wound solution changed the way your care team works?
It has had an immensely positive impact on our care team. The time that our wound team spends on wound rounds has been cut significantly in both capturing the measurements of a wound and the documentation of a wound. Before implementing Skin and Wound, our care team would assess 10 patients in four hours. Today, with Skin and Wound, that time has been cut in half.
We’ve also seen a benefit in terms of staffing. Let’s take a heel wound for example. In the past we would need both a nurse and a nurse aide to measure the wound. One to hold the heel up and the other to measure and record.
Today, one nurse can make the same measurement by holding the heel up with one hand and snapping the picture with the other.
This has allowed us to maximize our staffing because now we can re-deploy our nurse aides and have them focus on areas where they can provide meaningful care to our patients and residents.
Skin and Wound has also positively affected the care team’s relationship with the patient’s families. When a family member sees a wound for the first time, they are usually concerned about the severity. Being able to show the progression of that wound over time helps to reassure the family that even though the wound might look bad, it is healing.
Has it changed your role?
In my role, the visibility in the dashboard of the performance of our wound care program across all our patients and residents has been invaluable. Access to consistent and accurate documentation has allowed me to plan according to the current state of our facilities and have a wound care program that we use to differentiate ourselves.
The Skin and Wound solution has also helped improve our relationships with physicians. The quality and comprehensiveness of the documentation has established Great Lakes as a leader in wound care. When I have conversations with physicians, I can show them the application and demonstrate how technology is advancing care for the better. It’s easy to believe when you can see the power of this tool.
If you had to go back to a world without Skin and Wound, what would you miss most?
I would miss the consistency and accuracy of documentation. And the time savings! I don’t even want to think about having to go back to hand writing notes and typing them into the system, that I don’t miss.
If you weren’t in long-term care, where would you be?
I always had an ambition to be a flight nurse, so if I wasn’t in long-term care I would probably be doing that.
A flight nurse! That sounds adventurous, do you consider yourself to be an adventurous person?
I like to think we are an adventurous family. In the summer we essentially live on our boat. Wakeboarding, tubing, anything outdoors really. I have three kids, my youngest is almost three and she has been tubing with me since she was nine-months-old.
I also like to practise archery. I’m not quite as good as the girl in The Hunger Games, what’s her name? Katniss. Yes Katniss, not as good as her yet, but I will be soon!
Follow the link to learn more about PointClickCare’s Skin and Wound solution.
February 17, 2017