Virtual Care Provider, Inc. (VCPI): Loren Claypool, Vice President and Managing Director

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Virtual Care Provider, Inc., commonly known as VCPI, is a national company whose primary mission is to partner with long-term/post-acute healthcare providers, helping them improve their financial performance and quality of care through technology and technology-related products and services.

VCPI is currently in over 2,250 long-term/post-acute care locations in 46 states.

From the mundane to the sophisticated

Loren Claypool, vice president and managing director of VCPI, said his company can provide expertise on everything for a long-term/post-acute organization, whether it’s basic blocking and tackling, such as cabling or device installation in buildings, or the more complex, such as hosting applications, managing networks, or 24/7 service-desk capabilities.

“We cover the end-to-end IT space, including professional services and consultative services, and do so in a way that allows a company to either completely outsource their IT to us, which many do, but also we have the solutions unbuttoned so we can solve a very particular problem or create a very particular advantage for a client within our service offerings as well,” he explained.

Unlike hospitals, long-term/post-acute providers aren’t as focused on meaningful use yet, as they are still getting the fundamental electronic medical records (EMRs) in place. VCPI divides EMR implementation into three steps for providers.

First, Claypool said an organization must have in place the basic infrastructure for EMR. With its technology-hosting solutions, VCPI can prepare data-center configuration, redundant-network configurations, and the high availability of EMR for its clients.

Since EMR really implies point-of-care technology interaction, which really implies mobile computing and wireless networks, VCPI also offers solutions with design and installation for these secure and redundant wireless networks and the proliferation of a variety of mobile computing devices.

The second step revolves around the actual implementation of the EMR. Since selecting an EMR partner is tricky, Claypool said VCPI can assist organizations in going through a very disciplined and robust RFP and application-selection process.

“Implementation of an EMR is not insignificant,” he stated. “It’s the single most challenging IT implementation a long-term/post-acute company will have ever faced. We work with our clients on the project-management implementation pieces of these projects.”

VCPI will also assist facilities in training its front-line caregivers on EMR technology. A problem commonly encountered, however, is that many frontline caregivers are not comfortable with the basic uses of technology.

“One of the things we help our clients do is provide basic technology training so caregivers can be prepared to learn the utilization of the application itself,” Claypool said.

VCPI is a big proponent of the Savage-Gutkind EMR Adoption Model, and Janine Savage, one of the model’s authors, is a Healthcare Analytics Consultant with VCPI. With seven of the 10 stages already on the market, VCPI will help organizations work through each stage of the implementation.

Finally, VCPI will assist post-acute providers in optimizing their clinical workflow. VCPI will make sure that caregivers are using the technology as they provide care instead of capturing data for input at the end of the day. Claypool said that VCPI will make sure an organization is working with EMR in a very efficient and patient-centric way.

Maintaining the right culture

As a company in rapid growth mode, Claypool wants to ensure that VCPI’s culture remains intact and doesn’t dilute as they bring new partners in.

“Our culture is really built around a maniacal commitment to client service and a very intimate understanding that at the end of the work we do are real people that are either going through some interruption to their life or they’re having their end-of life experience,” he explained. “It’s critically important that we all understand that this isn’t about technology. Technology is the tool we use to help our clients take care of people and their families.”

With the market and technology changing rapidly, Claypool said the company is constantly asking, “How do we rethink yesterday’s decisions in the light of tomorrow’s reality?” Two years ago, VCPI could have made a decision that was appropriate then, but with the technology innovations available now, the same decision might require a fresh approach.

Not a time to hunker down

Claypool fights the idea that healthcare is currently weathering a storm. He thinks those organizations that believe all they have to do is “hunker down” and endure until this storm passes are missing the point.

“We’re at the front end of a tectonic plate shift around the industry,” he asserted. “Rates aren’t going to improve. The regulatory environment isn’t going to become less intrusive. Competition for the resident or the patient is going to do nothing but rise. Other players/partners in the healthcare space are going to be more demanding. The frontline caregivers’ jobs are going to be more complicated and really intertwine with that point-of-care technology. In tomorrow’s world, a frontline caregiver could have two patients in rooms side-by-side who came to them from two different networks or hospitals with different clinical protocols.”

With hospitals under challenge to reduce readmissions, Claypool has noticed that organizations are becoming much more active in seeking partners in the long-term/post-acute space. And with the speed of change that the industry is faced with and the speed of change in technology innovation, Claypool stresses that long-term/post-acute care has key decisions to make and key projects to execute that they must get right the first time.

“The question I would ask myself if I were the CEO of a provider is, ‘Do I have the IT talent that I need?’” he said. “In almost every case, the answer is no, because the follow-up question is, ‘Can I afford it?’ And in almost every case the answer is no. The economics don’t work for a standalone provider to assemble the depth and breadth of talent needed to effectively drive these decisions and execute them. You need a partner. We have the advantage at VCPI of scale, which lets us hire brilliant people to focus on these challenges.”

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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