Interoperability essential for improving care continuity

Aric Agmon
Aric Agmon

Effective data exchange is essential for resident safety. Ineffective communication and data exchange between acute-care providers and senior care organizations at care transitions is one of the reasons why nearly 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to the hospital less than 30 days after discharge. According to the ONC, while hospital exchange activity has grown significantly over the years, exchange of data during transitions is limited for hospitals and post-acute care providers. Though secure connectivity, we can empower the triple aim of improved outcomes, increased care quality and lower healthcare costs across the care continuum – while upholding HIPAA compliance and making the most of your EHR investment.

By expanding EHR capabilities and connectivity to include HIPAA-compliant secure messaging, clinical document exchange and e-prescribing tools, senior care organizations can not only improve data exchange and compliance but also safety at crucial care transitions. This technology, which is in use at organizations around the country, such as the Westminster Ingleside communities, can electronically deliver resident data and integrate the information into the EHR system through direct or query-based exchange protocols using HL7, CCD and other standardized electronic formats.

 

Providers can easily collaborate, in real-time, regardless of their location, to assess residents' conditions and formulate a care plan, saving all stakeholders time in locating information. This comprehensive view also allows clinicians to make better-informed decisions before escalating the level of a resident's care and makes the data accessible for enterprise-wide quality data analysis.

Beyond the decreased dependence on paper and fax, improving transitions of care, compliance, and workflow efficiencies, having a single, secure point for exchange of resident data from any source is becoming a necessity for CCRCS and other organizations that offer several levels of care.

Independent living residents, for example, may not always notify their organization when they visited an emergency department, but then may return to the integrated CCRC requiring a greater level of care. With an interoperable system that connects senior care organizations with hospitals and other care providers in their area using enterprise systems such as Epic, Cerner, McKesson, Greenway and Allscripts, senior care organizations will have time to prepare and ensure a safe transition and continuity between the hospital and the resident's home, facilitating a prompt return to independent living.

As we look ahead to a collaborative healthcare system in the coming years, the capabilities that interoperable information systems offer senior care organizations will make them indispensable partners to Accountable Care Organizations and acute care providers who wish to improve their quality, reduce readmissions and improve the experience for the seniors under their care.

Aric Agmon is the CEO of AOD Software.
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