How one patient chose a PAC provider

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Dan Trigub
Dan Trigub

Hospital patients often think they can head home immediately. Recently, a hospital patient who needed a total hip replacement was able to use technology to make a post-acute care provider choice and seamlessly transition from hospital faster and with more transparency than was ever before possible.

In May of 2014 a patient by the name of Mr. Hill was introduced to a new technology that a California hospital was piloting called OpenPlacement during his pre-operative visit (weeks before his actual surgery). With the help of OpenPlacement and a world class Hospital Case Management team, Mr. Hill was able to learn about care after hospitalization, inform himself about post-acute providers and eventually transition successfully from hospital bed to a top-notch care facility. 

Before the implementation of this technology, this hospital, among others across the country, would rely on a “list” of post-acute care providers that would be shared with the patient, family and/or caregiver on the day of or after surgery. The patient would then spend countless hours making phone calls and trying to find the right provider based on their specific care needs, budget, insurance and geographical constraints. Just like searching for a restaurant table before OpenTable.com, this process was highly antiquated, cumbersome and challenging for patients and their care team.

I recently sat down with Mr. Hill to discuss his experience using this new technology and how it made his transition process that much better.

DAN TRIGUB: What brought you to Stanford Hospital?

MR. HILL: I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and it was suggested that I would benefit from a total hip replacement. After speaking to colleagues and other ‘ex-jocks' I found that there is no shortage of advice on where to go. I decided, instead of selecting an individual [surgeon] I would focus on an institution that seemed to provide the best experience and Stanford seemed to fit the bill.

Once I finally scheduled my hip replacement, I spoke to a friend that had recently had his hip replaced at Stanford. My friend agreed that Stanford was a great institution but suggested that the hospital stay in general is fairly uneventful. He was the first to introduce me to the idea of planning for what happens after I am out of the hospital.

We all think we are going to just walk right out of the hospital but as I learned, the time between leaving the hospital and week 3 post-surgery is where you are in serious need of care, rehabilitation and oversight. My wife works full-time and my kids are not local so I needed to research some post-acute options. Low and behold when I went to my pre-operative visit at Stanford's Redwood City campus, one of my stops during that day was with OpenPlacement. I felt relieved to know that they were going to help me think and plan beyond the hospital stay.

TRIGUB: What happened after you met with OpenPlacement?

HILL: After meeting with OpenPlacement I logged onto their website and immediately was interested in comparing Home Health Care and “Facility Care.” I ended up reaching out to someone at the Vi in Palo Alto and also selected a few backup providers. 

This process was extremely simple and also provided me a ton of information and data around who these providers are, the quality of their care, their availability and much more. After some dialogue and communication with the Vi, they ultimately worked out and where the best option available to me. I found OpenPlacement incredibly helpful in informing me about the options nearby and allowing me to connect directly with the post-acute care providers.

TRIGUB: How was the hospital case management team involved in this process and what role did they play?

HILL: I also spoke to someone in the Case Management department at Stanford. They were clearly an important part of the process and they were very helpful in facilitating my transition from Stanford to the Vi in conjunction with OpenPlacement.

I cannot imagine that there would be any patients that could not benefit from being introduced to OpenPlacement. I think the earlier people get tuned into the fact that you are not going to automatically go from hospital bed to ‘walking around' and that post-acute care is going to be involved the better.

TRIGUB: What was most important to you in making the decision of where to go?

HILL: Geographical convenience was important so my family would not have to drive a long way to come visit me. I also wanted to make sure that it would be covered by Medicare. I was surprised to find out that most of my stay at the Vi was covered. I am not sure if you have been to the Vi but it is a very posh place that provides a high-level of care. I remember the pictures on OpenPlacement vividly as they really helped push me towards the Vi. The Medicare rankings which OpenPlacement provided me were also beneficial to confirm the quality of the care. I think the other thing that is helpful is seeing other customer testimonials. I always find it is best to hear from other customers that have actually been there.

TRIGUB: How did OpenPlacement improve your experience?

HILL: The notion that there was going to be this stage where you are no longer in the hospital but still in need of care and that can be at home or in a facility was important to get clarified for me.  Having that clarified for me improved my overall experience.  I felt better prepared for what was coming.  I clearly understood what my options were and I felt confident in the options I selected!

TRIGUB: Anything else in the process that you enjoyed or could be improved upon?

HILL: I think having someone introduce patients to OpenPlacement early in the process really does make for a wonderful patient experience.

Dan Trigub is the co-founder of Open Placement

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