Sponsored by ® Integrated Care. Better Outcomes.

months, Affinity was able to reduce its use of slid- ing-scale insulin by more than 2/3!

O’Neil has extensive experience in long-term care, including positions as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) with Brookdale Senior Living and Ascension Living, but commented how it’s still rare for most senior liv- ing organizations to have a CMO. However, he sees a bifurcation in the industry with some organizations clinging to a strict hospitality model while others work to marry concierge service with clinical rigor. “I think more will be considering it…especially where senior living providers are trying to position themselves as providers of value-based care and managed care,” said O’Neil.

Darden agrees, explaining that Affinity now contracts for therapy services and partners with home health providers for wound care and IV antibiotics, “We nev- er saw these in assisted living before. But we have to figure out how to meet the needs of these residents within our four walls and not send them back to the hospital,” he said.

Over time, O’Neil believes some companies will choose to specialize in certain conditions—develop- ing excellence in programming related to congestive heart failure (CHF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for example.

Preventing falls is one of such area of focus for Affinity. Their ARISE program (Affinity’s Reduction In Serious fall Events) is dedicated to reducing fall risk. By lever- aging the MatrixCare EHR, the company will be able to help them with this program, as MatrixCare is currently developing “clinical guardian” software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to examine hundreds of data points within an organization to predict with great ac- curacy the fall risk of individuals across its population.

Lesson #3) Don’t be afraid to try new things.

As managing risk becomes essential to managed care, O’Neil believes that “disruptors” and those who can iterate new ideas quickly will lead the way. He describes Affinity as an “innovation hub” that prides itself on being nimble. “We’re more like a PT boat than an ocean liner. Unlike an ocean liner, we can change course pretty quickly as the world changes around us,” he explained. Their philosophy is to pilot new initiatives in one or two communities to test ideas and gain grassroots support who can, in turn, champion the idea when it’s rolled out across the enterprise.

Of course, all senior living providers face a number of obstacles when it comes to the efficient delivery of medications: residents not being home when the cart comes by, caregivers becoming distracted by other needs and getting thrown off their schedule, forgetting to document times/dosages, etc.

Trefzger’s vision is to create a central, automated apothecary in Affinity’s communities. This would con- sist of an electronic kiosk that would dispense each resident’s daily medications at their convenience.

By putting medication delivery back in the residents’ hands, they gain greater autonomy and control over their schedule. Meanwhile, the electronic delivery both tracks and monitors compliance. Residents will likely receive reminders via Alexa-enabled technology (“Betty, it’s time to take your afternoon dose of Coumadin…”) and the kiosks will dispense the correct prescription and dosage via barcode to ensure the right medication is delivered to the right individual. Moreover, the kiosk information will feed to the sys- tem’s eMAR to alert staff of missed doses, as well as to the analytics software so community executive direc- tors will be able to monitor overall medication trends.

Trefzger also envisions using Alexa in residents’ units (as mentioned in the example above). The benefit of this, versus the industry-standard call pendant, is that caregivers can receive additional information about why the resident is calling them. This would enable them to respond more quickly to critical incidents and bring special equipment if needed.

As it continues to rollout MatrixCare technology in its communities, monitor its financial metrics and quality measures, and pilot innovative approaches to care- giving, Affinity is creating the future of senior living in a way that is sustainable, scalable and profitable as the industry evolves toward value-based care.

Mary Beth Mohn is Vice President of Marketing Communications for MatrixCare, where she is responsible for the brand strategy to drive corporate growth and market leadership. Contact her at


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