How nursing homes can put themselves out of business: skimp on tech

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

When you read between the lines, the troubling message in a new study is this: Skilled care operators had better stop being tech cheapskates — before it's too late.

But what the report actually states is also plenty scary. For example, the Black Book survey reveals that more than eight in 10 administrators (86%) do not electronically exchange information with referring hospitals, doctors or home health agencies.

In fact, only 19% of the respondents indicated that they had some EHR capabilities. And as bad as that sounds, it actually reflects progress. Last year, the number was a more miserly 15%.

And despite all we're hearing about analytics, it remains a largely untapped tool. In fact, only 3% of long-term care providers reported having the capabilities of data-driven analytics to lower care costs, reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions and ensure they receive proper payments. That's right, 3%.

So how should operators respond? According to Doug Brown, a managing partner with Black Book Research, improvement will require “the expansion of technology capabilities to connect physician practices, home health agencies, hospices, outpatient settings, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, DME firms, and hospitals."

To be sure, that's easier said than done.

But skilled care operators disinclined to make the requisite tech investments should keep this in mind: Many of your competitors are now doing just that.

They also are giving hospital discharge planners a good reason to look elsewhere.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.