CarDon Improves Performance Tracking With Aline-MatrixCare Integration

Optimize your referral management system for skilled nursing with smarter automation.

Amanda McGrory-Dixon , June 24, 2024

Amanda McGrory-Dixon

Since opening its first senior living community more than 45 years ago, CarDon & Associates has centered its mission on creating better communities for seniors. Now with 20 communities throughout the Midwest, CarDon provides an array of services, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, and skilled nursing. To provide that seamless care residents expect, CarDon decided it was time to replace its former CRM with a more powerful Aline and MatrixCare integration solution that could serve CarDon’s entire continuum of care services.

The Challenge: Inaccurate & Incomplete Referral Information

CarDon operates many residential communities, but skilled nursing is also a large part of CarDon’s business model. Previously, CarDon had two separate CRMs, which didn’t allow the team to link records and follow the resident through the continuum on the skilled side, said Jen Barnhart, director of product integration and business development for CarDon.  

Capturing the complete journey required a separate referral management platform. This coverage gap created problems for both the marketing staff and care staff.  

When it came to tracking, the old CRM system would send one referral to five different communities. Instead of counting that single referral once, the CRM system would count it five times, making it difficult to accurately track conversion rates.  

“We’re big data nerds here, and conversions are one of our big KPIs we track,” Barnhart said. “With our old system, we knew we were looking at inaccurate information and would have to adjust our conversion expectations because you can’t admit one person to five different places. We didn’t want to have to go to a spreadsheet to track this. We needed a system that would allow us to access that information at any time.” 

On top of inaccurate tracking, Barnhart was unhappy with the lack of hospital partnership data. The old CRM system couldn’t accurately track the quality and number of referrals coming from the different hospitals. CarDon didn’t have visibility into whether a hospital repeatedly sent high-quality or low-quality referrals, so Barnhart didn’t have the right data to calculate the conversions and ROI on CarDon’s partnership program.

The Solution: Aline CRM & MatrixCare Integration

To better serve both its residential and skilled nursing communities, CarDon needed a centralized CRM solution that could track referrals for skilled nursing as they moved through their care journey while sharing that information with its residential communities. CarDon found that solution with the Aline CRM, featuring a MatrixCare integration. 

As referrals enter the Aline Referral Engine, the CarDon staff updates them as appropriate. With CarDon’s CRM customizations, they can then enter the information they want to track and trend. When the referral is ready to admit, they push it to MatrixCare for the clinical team. This eliminates the need for time-consuming, error-prone duplicate data entry across multiple systems.  

With the real-time referral integration and reduction of data entry, the Aline CRM allows CarDon to quickly accept or deny referrals. For skilled nursing, the first community to accept the referral often moves in the patient, so maintaining fast speed-to-lead times greatly improves conversion rates, revenue, and even care. 

“We needed a CRM that focused on the skilled nursing side because it’s such a big focus,” Barnhart said. “This is a fast-paced business, and we needed something that could keep up. There weren’t any other software systems that could do that and offer the tracking abilities we needed.”

The Outcomes: Better Visibility & Data for Better Results

Since implementing the Aline CRM with MatrixCare integration, Barnhart has used that improved tracking and linked records to easily monitor outcomes, including those critical conversion rates. With more accurate insights into the patient’s journey, Barnhart can proactively identify performance or management gaps to continuously improve CarDon’s referral process. 

“I can quickly click a tab at the top and see what happened to one referral rather than having to look for that person over and over again,” Barnhart said. “I can find all their information in one place and see what happened. Were they accepted, denied, or lost? If they were denied or lost, why did that happen, and what can we do to address any issues in the future?”  

Once Barnhart identifies any issues, these insights make for effective training and mentoring, she said. While the previous CRM system included sales insights for residential communities, it didn’t include that information for skilled nursing. Now the marketing team can walk a sales rep through the notes and make suggestions for how to improve their nurturing efforts and conversion rates in the long term.  

With the Aline CRM’s custom reporting, CarDon created several special reports for the team’s KPIs, eliminating the need to maintain spreadsheets for a monthly review meeting. This has saved the team considerable time, Barnhart said. Depending on the report, it could take a sales rep up to an hour to prepare, but the information is now ready for immediate viewing.  

“Now we pull up the report right there in the meeting, and all that information is there to digest,” Barnhart said. “We can save that manual time, and the data integrity is better.”  

Along with the monthly sales team meetings, CarDon sends weekly reports to its skilled nursing administrators to give them a snapshot of their building’s performance for better corporate visibility.  

The powerful reporting functionality also allows CarDon to see its hospital referral sources, Barnhart said. CarDon operates several communities with in-house dialysis and runs paid marketing campaigns to promote referral partnerships. Now CarDon can look at data to determine whether those marketing campaigns deliver ROI. 

“We are constantly looking at where we can get more dialysis referrals, so we need to know if these marketing campaigns are paying off,” Barnhart said. “Our custom reporting allows us to create a dialysis report to give us more of that detail. That was something we couldn’t do in the past, and seeing those metrics is so helpful in informing whether our marketing efforts are producing the right results.” 

Beyond these positive business results, Barnhart has especially valued the partnership with Aline. From the first day of implementation to today, Aline and its customer success team have carefully listened to Barnhart’s needs, and the two have worked closely to help the CarDon team get the most out of the solution.  

“Having the Aline CRM with a MatrixCare integration is a game-changer, especially for any community that hasn’t had this kind of technology. With the way we can send information across communities and teams and save time managing multiple systems, it has allowed us to be so much more productive and improve our current processes, and we have more time to focus on our patients.”

Jen Barnhart, director of product integration and business development for CarDon

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