Tech Key for Post-Acute Care

Black Book Research’s Annual post-acute care IT user survey www.blackbookmarketresearch.com is being used to determine if there are more efficient ways to improve and slow the fragmentation of post-acute patient care.

Inpatient post-acute providers overall responding to the survey report that 19 percent have some technological capabilities of EHRs operational in Q4 2017 as compared to 15 percent in 2016. Corporate chains and large nonprofit systems report the highest adoption rates among network post-acute care facilities nearing 34 percent as compared to 27 percent in 2016.

The slow adoption rate and fragmented health IT environments are attributed to the different levels of technology invested along with conflicting cultural priorities that prevent all providers from working together. The study reveals that 91 percent of post-acute administrators report that in 2017, they did not budget for technology acquisitions or improvements.

“All healthcare organizations must find better ways to manage the patient transition into post-acute processes in order to keep hospital readmissions in check which may fall completely on hospital systems in 2018”, said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book Research.

He adds, “The answer 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.”

Improving interoperability capabilities is important. Long term care administrators report 86 percent of their facilities are not exchanging health information electronically with referring hospitals, physicians, or home health providers.

The majority of those facilities share some records with acute care providers and are networked in closed silo health system EHRs with long-term care centers. According to Brown, “Finding ways to improve communications between disparate acute care EHRs and post-acute technology is a pressing problem for detached providers.”

It was also reported in Q4 2017, 94 percent of care managers surveyed acknowledge that hospitals send their most complex patients with the highest morbidity to Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) with virtually no communication channels open between the SNF and the acute provider.

The lack of communication is an extremely expensive problem, especially as hospitals become responsible financially for long-term outcomes and preventable patient readmissions. As Brown reports, “Black Book predicts remote monitoring and video visits will be the temporary solution to allowing hospitals to track patients after discharge until the post-acute care facilities find ways to afford technology with connectivity.”

 

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