mind-the-gap-healthcare-itPosted on behalf of Alyssa Semple, Regional Sales Manager

Anyone who has ever been on the United Kingdom’s rail system is familiar with the phrase, “Mind the Gap!” to alert you (incessantly) of the large and looming gap that needs to be crossed in order to safely transfer between the rail car and the platform. While no one ever tells you what would happen if you don’t “Mind the Gap,” it’s pretty clear that falling into that wide crevice would result in a negative experience.
I tend to look at gaps in care coordination the same way. You never really know what you’re in for if you fall into a gap in care – and more importantly – you’re often not even told to be mindful of it. But if it happens, you know it’s likely not to result in positive healthcare outcomes.

What is Care Coordination?

Care coordination is terminology that has buzzed around healthcare discussions for years now. It seems to mean different things to different people, but Meaningful Use is working to herd the masses into some form of standardization. As someone who has worked for over 15 years in Healthcare IT, provides direct care services with a community-based hospice organization, and as the child of a chronically ill parent, my area of interest lies in the marginal ability to address the gaps that exist between hospital events and follow up care.
I have seen and experienced my share of health systems with disparate EHRs and disconnected community providers. In these familiar scenarios, the reality of care coordination has all too often depended upon the diligence of physician office, sub-acute facility staff or even the patient to request records from a hospital, resulting in some sort of faxing or manual exchange of information. That is, if a request is even made. All too often, nothing is done. The patient is discharged and no one is the wiser. Yet, study after study has shown that providing coordinated care from the emergency room visit and hospital admission to discharge and follow-up outpatient care reduces readmission rates, improves patient outcomes and lowers healthcare costs. How to accomplish it in an efficient, proactive way is still alluding the industry.
So, how do you strike the balance between regulatory mandates, provider and consumer needs? You’ll need a framework to accomplish the following:

Promote Care Coordination

Enhance care team engagement between patient, primary care provider, referring provider, care coordinator and/or other team members through notification of a patient’s significant hospital event. This is not just about providing an alert to a responsible provider, but also making the information available to office staff, who are able to take action through scheduling of follow up visits, etc.
At the same time, this functionality will help organizations meet the proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements for improving the delivery of patient care though real-time electronic notification, and will position an organization for new payment models and ACO shared savings.

Reduce Re-Admission Rates

Through targeted alerting, organizations can prevent potential penalties by providing appropriate follow up care, provide better patient outcomes, and maximize reimbursements.

Lower Healthcare Costs

Integrated care team engagement allows for faster follow up and cost reductions through medication reconciliation, proactive post hospital care and patient education.

Summit Provider Alert

Summit Provider Alert provides electronic delivery of notifications and corresponding data of significant hospital events sent in real time to known members of a patient’s care team, accomplishing the items in the above framework.
By sending actionable information to a patient’s care team, your organization is allowing for the promotion of care coordination, follow up, and reducing re-admissions, ultimately contributing to your organizations’ bottom line and allowing you to remain competitive in the marketplace.
There are many possible scenarios and use cases to execute this type of technology, and Summit Healthcare is the group to help you do just that.