Use of electronic health records by post-acute providers improves care transitions, experts say

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Long-term and post-acute care providers aren't eligible for federal meaningful use incentives for electronic health records, but failing to pursue EHRs would be unwise, experts stress.

If LTPAC facilities hope to forge successful partnerships with acute care providers, EHRs will be part of the equation, Bill Russell, M.D., a top healthcare IT official, said in a news release Tuesday, in reflecting on a presentation made during the annual Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Health Information Technology Summit in Baltimore last month.

Under Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, eligible hospitals will be required to exchange electronic clinical summaries with LTPAC providers, as interoperability can help providers facilitate better transitions of care, according to Russell and other experts.

Additionally, EHRs can help long-term care providers participate in payment reform initiatives; generate summary of care records for each transition; and electronically track medications, among other benefits, experts stressed.

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