Discharge Planning Workflow and Patient Choice in Post-Acute Care
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported in May 2016 that “42% of all Medicare patients in the U.S. were discharged to a post-acute care (PAC) setting after hospitalization.1
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) advocates applying technologies to improve workflow and patient care. Yet, many health organizations provide patients with printed lists, often only containing provider names, addresses and phone numbers. Patients must then use those limited lists to choose a PAC provider. Often times, patients only preview the provider’s addresses and then select the PAC nearest to them, rather than choosing a provider that best meets their needs. With a lack of information, patients may not be able to make an informed next-care choice, leading to added length of stay (LOS) and costing hospitals additional care expense.
Maintaining an accurate list of PAC providers is cumbersome and difficult. It requires continual tracking, updating, and distribution to case managers and discharge planners. In a world of ever-changing information, it is surprising that printed lists are still the most common way discharge teams provide data to patients. Dated and partial lists are not compliant.
Compliance to CMS Initiatives
The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 standardizes post-acute care (PAC) assessment data for quality, payment, and discharge planning. The newly proposed CMS rule for discharge planning requires hospitals to give patients more information than ever before about their post-acute care options, including information about the quality of each provider, and encourages hospitals to use technology to improve compliance. Applying technology, such as tablets, dramatically enhances the efficiency of the discharge process and improves patient satisfaction. Providing a digital search application fosters deeper patient involvement and assists the patient and their families in choosing an appropriate, high-quality provider. Moreover, detailed informational listings answer patient questions about services and features offered by PAC providers. Technology provides patient-driven choice and allows them to actively participate in their post-acute care plan, thereby investing them in their own recovery and improving the likelihood of a successful outcome.
A growing number of hospitals empower case management teams and discharge planners with interactive digital tablets, providing current provider information that can be filtered by geographic location, insurance provider, quality scores, clinical services, and other relevant information, promoting best-choice care. A tablet in hand also allows family members to actively participate in the patient choice, improving the overall patient’s experience. Hospitals can also use tablets to electronically capture and document the patient’s choice. Patient information is never captured or stored on the tablet, eliminating any risk if the tablet is stolen or misplaced.
A Tool for Hospital Program Efficiency
Tablets are simple to deploy and maintain, yet they are part of a sophisticated technology platform that adapts to improve hospital program development. Tablets support coordinated care initiatives for ACOs and hospital programs like the CMS Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) and CJR models. Healthcare networks can determine program qualifications of participating PAC providers, and can implement advanced features such as filtering search results to only show SNFs eligible for the 3-day stay waiver. PAC providers who are affiliated or preferred partners within the patients’ search criteria can be designated, simplifying patient navigation to select participating providers within programs that meet their specified needs.
Hospital and Post-Acute Care Provider Collaboration
Cloud-based technology nurtures hospital and PAC provider collaboration to deliver better patient outcomes. PAC providers actively manage their profile and update information in real-time. Their profile includes facility photos and information, virtual brochures, accepted insurance plans, and other features, all viewable to any hospital or patient using a tablet.
Hospitals across the country are increasingly using tablets to comply with CMS guidelines, streamline case manager workflow and to improve patient satisfaction. Change is coming. What is your plan?
This advertorial was published in the August/September 2016 issue of CareManagement, the official Journal of the Academy of Certified Case Managers (ACCM) and the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC).