Health Care

Mother-daughter team up on medical tracking software: Qtrac takes guesswork out of patient paperwork at long-term-care facilities

August 21, 2006

In charge of quality assurance for a long-term-care facility, Jennifer Summers was responsible for ensuring that the company strictly followed policies and procedures, that it maintained infection-control standards, and that overall patient care standards were upheld.

On top of internal controls, she had to make sure the facility met federal requirements for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, including documentation of a patient's range of motion, bed mobility, eating, hygiene and more.

For the most part, handwritten and verbal documentation detailed how often a patient got exercise or required a change in diet, or what occurred during the hours before the next shift change.

"I had so many responsibilities that I needed something to help me with my job," said Summers, who has been in the nursing field more than 10 years.

So Summers went shopping for a software program that would make it easier to manage her job and better ensure the quality of care for patients.

But she couldn't find one that even came close to offering what she needed.

So, she teamed up with her mother, and together they tapped their personal funds, borrowed from friends, and worked two jobs each while they created Qtrac LLC.

"It started as a project that has just blossomed into something much bigger," said Lana Kirby, Jennifer's mom, who had been a paralegal in the personal injury field for about 30 years.

"It was important to get rid of the handwriting of documentation," Summers explained. "And to stop passing information verbally or through [infrequent] written reports that told staff what patients needed."

More often than not, information about patients was passed from one nurse to another during shift-change meetings. Then information would be written-monthly-in report form. That often resulted in information not getting passed or documented at all.

The information lost would often show a patient's daily activities and prove restorative care was being administered, which was required by Medicare and Medicaid for reimbursement.

"Often, nursing homes would choose not to get reimbursement simply because the paperwork was too much to keep up with," Summers said.

And that could result in fines from regulatory agencies.

So Qtrac software, created by a computer consultant hired by Summers and Kirby, creates real-time documentation so staff members are more completely and timely informed of mandated patient care.

The system not only ensures quality care, the two say, but also maximizes the reimbursements the health care facilities receive.

Qtrac tracks more information than manual methods and can also spot trends that are used in infection control.

Summers and Kirby have received small-business planning help from Lorraine Ball, founder of Roundpeg, which provides consulting help with business plans and getting startups up and running.

"The two have come up with addressing a tremendously unmet need," Ball said. "What's innovative is, Jennifer started out wanting to solve her problem and began to realize that if it made her life simpler, it would help others. And the family aspect itself is innovative." Qtrac's software is being used in five restorative care facilities so far-three in Indiana and others in Illinois and New Jersey. Although the program is written primarily for restorative care facilities, the women plan to expand its uses and create models for other areas, such as assisted living.


Jennifer Summers and Lana Kirby of Qtrac Software.
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