Minneapolis-based North Memorial Health has partnered with Lifesprk, a holistic home care provider also based in Minneapolis, to help serve the health system’s rapidly aging patient population. And the partnership is already seeing some impressive results in terms of lowering re-hospitalization rates and ER utilization
The goal of the partnership — announced in December — is to create an alternative delivery system for in-home care that breaks down traditional health care silos. Specifically, Lifesprk and North Memorial have dubbed the the product of their partnership the “Life Experience Alternative Delivery System,” or LEADS.
North Memorial provides low-cost, high-quality primary care, home care, medical transportation and other services via its clinics located throughout the Twin Cities. Its two hospitals include North Memorial Health Hospital and Maple Grove Hospital.
For Lifesprk, the North Memorial partnership adds to the provider’s growing list of in-home care accomplishments over the past few years. Lifesprk was founded in 2004 with three employees; it now has nearly 700.
Among its service offerings, Lifesprk provides whole-person in-home care and home health services to individuals living at home and in senior living communities. Apart from those core offerings, Lifesprk maintains an on-site primary care service line and has also added senior care advisors such as thought leader Bill Thomas.
Its relationship with North Memorial isn’t Lifesprk’s first system partnership. In May 2018, Lifesprk teamed up with Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, one of the largest health systems in the country.
The general idea behind LEADS is to create a more comprehensive and all-encompassing approach to senior care, one that harnesses Lifesprk’s experience and data in order to reduce costs for North Memorial and its patients — especially those at the highest risk for negative health outcomes.
Nationally, as U.S. seniors have become older, sicker and frailer, whole-person care has grown increasingly important.
“[North Memorial] said, ‘Wait a minute. Our population, our demographics are changing. We need to be the best at serving seniors,” Lifesprk CEO Tom Schmitt told Home Health Care News. “I think the vision between North Memorial and Lifesprk was aligned. We [recognize the] need for a different delivery system, an alternative delivery system, if we’re truly going to deliver the best experience for seniors.”
North Memorial wasn’t looking to partner with just any in-home care provider. But Lifesprk — backed by its success as the Homespire JV partner of Intermountain Healthcare in Utah — checked all the boxes.
Lifesprk’s data-driven mindset also helped the provider land the partnership opportunity, North Memorial CMO Dr. Carolyn Ogland told HHCN.
“You start with philosophy, and then you go into a data-driven approach, which is exactly what they have,” Ogland said. “And they’re building on that as we speak. They were able to take a model and apply it to the population, and then come back to us with a plan and goals, with the patient at focus.”
The partnership between Lifesprk and North Memorial has already lowered readmission rates at North Memorial by more than half in the group of clients being served through LEADS. Hospitalizations have been lowered by 47% and emergency room visits by 51%, according to North Memorial.
In previous conversations with HHCN, Lifesprk leaders have repeatedly underscored the company’s dedication to disrupting the existing silos of the health care delivery system. LEADS is another example of that.
“We’ve had LEADS in mind [for a while],” Schmitt said. “We’ve been building this competency of a delivery system from the very beginning. It started with private-duty home care services, and then we got into our campus settings … then we got into skilled, Medicare home health services.”
Meanwhile, one of the big, simpler perks of LEADS is increased interpobalibilty now that the partnership is live. Take medication, for example, according to Ogland.
“If one of our shared patients is in the hospital, and then makes the transition home, we need to be able to share that experience through the transitions to make sure that all the information is accurate,” Ogland said. “It sounds like a simple thing, but it can actually be quite complicated, particularly when you’re dealing with the senior population. [It’s about] accuracy of data, accuracy of treatment plans, and making sure that we can operationalize those plans that have been decided on by the family to meet the goals of the patients.”
The North Memorial partnership’s early success is a good sign, but Lifesprk ultimately has set its sights even higher.
“Our ultimate goal is to transform the health care industry, and we’re starting with focusing on seniors,” Schmitt said.