Archive for the ‘Care Transitions’ Category

HINfographic: Home Visits Curb Readmissions and ER Utilization

March 15th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Seventy percent of healthcare organizations providing care to patients in their homes attributed a reduction in either hospital readmissions or in ER utilization to those home visits, according to the December 2016 Home Visits survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

A new infographic by HIN examines the populations targeted by home visits, the primary purpose during a home visit and a promising home visit protocol.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Home Visits Visiting targeted patients at home, especially high utilizers and those with chronic comorbid conditions, can illuminate health-related, socioeconomic or safety determinants that might go undetected during an office visit. Increasingly, home visits have helped to reduce unplanned hospitalizations or emergency department visits by these patients.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Home Visits examines the latest trends in home visits for medical purposes, from populations visited to top health tasks performed in the home to results and ROI from home interventions.

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Infographic: Transitional Care Management

March 13th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Transitional Care ManagementMedicare's billing codes for Transitional Care Management (TCM) highlight the importance of timely post-discharge contact with patients by provider offices, and timely face-to-face follow up and evaluation by TCM providers. Incorporating automated patient communications can facilitate efficient and effective handoffs, and support a consistent track of care to help providers earn TCM reimbursements and avoid hospital readmission penalties, according to a new infographic by West Healthcare.

The infographic looks at the financial impact of reducing readmission penalties and examines how automated patient communications can improve care transitions.

A Leading Care Transitions Model: Addressing Social Health Determinants Through Targeted Home VisitsSun Health, an Arizona non-profit organization, launched its Sun Health Care Transitions program in November 2011. Modeled after the Coleman Care Transitions Intervention® and adapted to meet the needs of its community, the program has been credited with keeping readmission rates well below the national average.

Sun Health's program was part of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' National Demonstration Program, Community-Based Care Transitions Program, which ended in January. Not only did Sun Health lead the CMS demonstration project with the lowest readmission rates, Sun Health also widened the gap between their expected 30-day readmission rate (56 percent lower than expected) and their expected 90-day readmission rate (60 percent less than expected).

During A Leading Care Transitions Model: Addressing Social Health Determinants Through Targeted Home Visits, a March 23, 2017 webinar at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Jennifer Drago, FACHE, executive vice president, population health, Sun Health, will share the key features of the care transitions program, along with the critical, unique elements that lead to its success.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today. Have an infographic you'd like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

3 Priority Populations for Home Visits and 10 More House Calls Benchmarks

February 14th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

More than half of home visits include screening for social determinants of health.

More than half of home visits include screening for social determinants of health.

Which patients should healthcare providers visit at home? A new survey on home visits identified three key populations that should receive home-based care management: the frail elderly and homebound (69 percent); the medically complex (69 percent); and individuals recently discharged from the hospital (68 percent).

In stratifying patients for these home visits, 62 percent rely on care manager referrals.

These were just two findings from the 2017 Home Visits survey conducted by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Nearly three quarters of the survey's 107 respondents visit targeted patients at home, an intervention that can illuminate health-related, socioeconomic or safety determinants that might go undetected during an office visit.

Who's conducting these home visits? In more than half of responding programs, a registered nurse handles the visit, although on rare occasions, patients may open their door to a primary care physician (4 percent), pharmacist (4 percent) or community paramedic (3 percent).

Once inside the home, the visit is first and foremost about patient and caregiver education, say 81 percent of respondents, with an emphasis on medication reconciliation (80 percent). Fifty-nine percent also screen at-home patients for social and economic determinants of health, factors that can have a huge impact on an individual's health status.

Patient engagement, including obtaining consent for home visits, tied with funding and reimbursement issues tied as the top challenges associated with in-home patient visits.

How to know if home visits are working? The most telling success indicator is a reduction in 30-day hospital readmission rates, say 83 percent of survey respondents, followed by a drop in hospital and ER utilization (64 percent). Seventy percent of survey respondents reported either a drop in readmissions or in ER visits.

Here are a few more metrics derived from HIN's 2017 Home Visits survey:

  • Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that the use of in-home technology enhances home visit outcomes.
  • Fifteen percent report home visits ROI of between 2:1 and 3:1.
  • Eighty percent have seen clients’ self-management skills improve as a result of home visits.

Download an executive summary of results from HIN's 2017 Home Visits Survey.

7 Healthcare Movements to Monitor in 2017

January 2nd, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

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Growing population base should be a 2017 priority for healthcare organizations, advises Steven Valentine.

In offering a set of guiding principles for 2017 success, Steven Valentine, vice president, Advisory Consulting Services, Premier Inc., outlines seven key areas healthcare executives should monitor in the coming year.

First, we have seen some commercial plans move to risk adjustment payments. This could be helpful or detrimental. We definitely have seen more time spent as health systems have moved to more risk payments, more two-sided models.

Next, a definition of financial responsibility (DoFR) will be critical: knowing all the various benefits that are offered and perhaps listing them on the left side of a spreadsheet. As you move across the sheet, what remains with a health plan, if anything? What would go with the physician organization? What would go to an inpatient facility acute hospital? To ambulatory providers and post-acute providers? We would advise you to begin to move in 2017 to standardize those DoFRs.

Then, if at all possible, exclude specialty drugs, where we’ve seen tremendous price increases. If you can exclude any new kinds of therapies, and I mention one there that’s been popular and growing in 2016, IVIG, and we expect a pretty good jump in 2017. Some doctors have labeled this the 'feel good infusion.'

Then, determine whether you can do anything on an exclusive basis that would help you capture more population. At the end of the day, strategically, in 2017, you need to grow your population base.

Next is effective use of comanagement agreements and a renewed focus on your risk adjustment factor (RAF) scores: there will be slight adjustments as they go down and you’re going to have to do a better and better job of documenting and trying to push those up.

Then we see patient engagement; we do want to see the patients engaged. The more you use various patient portals, the more helpful it will be.

Finally, we also look at the repatriation of patients, because if you have them under your care, you would be responsible for getting those patients and paying for them.

Source: Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Home-Visits-for-Clinically-Complex-Patients-Targeting-Transitional-Care-for-Maximum-Outcomes-and-ROI_p_5180.html

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2017: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN's thirteenth annual business forecast, is designed to support healthcare C-suite planning during this historic transition as leaders prepare for both a new year and new presidential leadership.

Guest Post: Care Transitions Are Susceptible To Breakdowns; Technology-Enabled Patient Outreach Offers Clarity and Improved Outcomes

November 15th, 2016 by Chuck Hayes, vice president of product management for TeleVox Solutions, West Corporation

Technology-Enabled Patient Touchpoints Post-Discharge

A surprisingly simple way to improve care transitions is to reach out to patients within a few days of hopsital discharge automatically with the help of technology.

Transitional care's inherently complex nature makes it susceptible to breakdowns. During care transitions there are many moving parts to coordinate, patients are vulnerable, and healthcare failures are more likely to occur. For these reasons, transitional care is a growing area of concern for hospital administrators and other healthcare leaders.

Errors that happen at pivotal points in care, like during a hospital discharge or transfer from one facility to another, can have serious consequences. Fortunately, strengthening communication and engaging patients can effectively solve many of the problems that transpire during care transitions.

When patients' needs go unmet after being discharged from the hospital, the risk of those individuals being readmitted is high. Around 20 percent of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital return within a month. CMS has taken several steps to try to improve transition care and minimize breakdowns that lead to hospital readmissions. Under the government's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Plan (HRRP), hospitals can be assigned penalties for unintentional and avoidable readmissions related to conditions like heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, and elective hip or knee replacement surgeries.

Between October 2016 and September 2017, Medicare will withhold more than $500 million in payments from hospitals that incurred penalties based on readmission rates. These penalties affect about half of the hospitals in the United States.

Not only are payment penalties problematic, but because readmissions rates are published on Medicare's Hospital Compare website, public opinion is also worrisome for hospitals with a high number of readmissions.

A surprisingly simple way to prevent patients from returning to the hospital is to reach out to them within a few days of discharge. Outreach can be done automatically with the help of technology. For example, with little effort, hospitals can send automated messages prompting patients to complete a touchtone survey. A survey that asks patients whether they are experiencing pain–and whether or not they have been taking prescribed medications–provides good insight about the likelihood of them returning to the hospital. It also allows hospitals to respond to issues sooner rather than later.

Medical teams know that patients are particularly vulnerable during the 30 days following a hospital discharge. Leveraging technology-enabled engagement communications multiple times, in multiple ways throughout that month-long window is a good strategy for improving post-discharge transitions. Whether that involves reminding a patient about a follow-up appointment, asking them to submit a reading from a home monitoring device, verifying that they are tolerating their medication, or communicating about something else, it is important to have plans in place to initiate an intervention if necessary.

For example, if a patient indicates that they are experiencing side effects or symptoms that warrant examination by a doctor, a hospital team member should escalate the situation and help coordinate an appointment for the patient. Recognizing problems is one component of improving care transitions, responding to them is another.

Imagine a patient has recently been released from the hospital after having a heart attack. The patient was given three new prescriptions for medications to take. He may have questions about when and how to take the medications or whether they can be taken in combination with a previous prescription. Hospital staff can use technology-enabled communications to coordinate with the patient's primary care doctor and pharmacy to ensure the patient has all the information they need to safely and correctly follow medication instructions. The hospital can also survey the patient to find out if he is having difficulty with medication or other discharge instructions, and learn what services or interventions might be beneficial. Following that, a care manager can provide phone support to answer questions.

Fewer than half of patients say they're confident that they understand the instructions of how to care for themselves after discharge. Without some sort of additional support, what will happen to those patients? In the past, hospitals may have felt that patient experiences outside the walls of their facility were not their concern. But that has changed.

Care transitions are exactly that–transitions. They are changes, but not end points. Hospitals should foster a culture that recognizes and supports the idea that care does not end at discharge. It continues, just in a different way. When patients physically leave a hospital, the manner in which care is delivered needs to progress. Rather than delivering care in person, healthcare organizations can support patients via outreach communications. The degree to which that happens impacts how well (or poorly) transitions go for patients.

Improving care transitions is not as daunting as it might seem, particularly for medical teams that use technology-enabled communications to support and engage patients. To ensure patients have the knowledge and resources they need, and that they are acting in ways that will keep them out of the hospital, medical teams must focus on optimizing communications beyond the clinical setting.

About the Author: Chuck Hayes is an advocate for utilizing technology-enabled communications to engage and activate patients beyond the clinical setting. He leads product and solution strategy for West Corporation’s TeleVox Solutions, focusing on working with healthcare organizations of all sizes to better understand how they can leverage technology to solve organizational challenges and goals, improve patient experience, increase engagement and reduce the cost of care. Hayes currently serves as Vice President of Product Management for TeleVox Solutions at West Corporation (www.west.com), where the healthcare mission is to help organizations harness communications to expand the boundaries of where, when, and how healthcare is delivered.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: Optimizing Post-Acute Care

October 17th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Seventy-five percent of hospital readmissions are preventable—more than $17 billion annually is wasted due to readmissions within 30 days, according to a new infographic by CareCentrix.

The infographic lists four keys to success in improving post-acute care and reducing readmissions.

Medicare's proposed payment rates and quality programs for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for 2017 and beyond solidify post-acute care's (PAC) partnership in the transformation of healthcare delivery. Subsequent to the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act), forward-thinking PAC organizations realized the need to rethink patient care—not just in their own facilities but as patients move from hospital to SNF, home health or rehabilitation facility.

Post-Acute Care Trends: Cross-Setting Collaborations to Align Clinical Standards and Provider Demands examines a collaboration between the first URAC-accredited clinically integrated network in the country and one of its partnering PAC providers to map out and enhance a patient's journey through the network continuum—drilling down to improve the quality of the transition from acute to post-acute care.

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‘Connect the Dots’ Transitional Care Boosts ROI by Including Typically Overlooked Populations

October 11th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Typically overlooked patient populations do benefit greatly from nurse-directed transitional care management.

Some typically overlooked patient populations do benefit greatly from nurse-directed transitional care management.

Determining early on that transitional care works better for some patients than others, the award-winning Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) transitional care (TC) program is careful to allocate resource-intensive TC interventions to those patients that would benefit most. Here, Carlos Jackson, Ph.D., CCNC director of program evaluation, explains the benefits of including often-overlooked patients in TC initiatives.

Transitional care must be targeted towards patients with multiple, chronic or catastrophic conditions to optimize your return on investment. These patients are the ones that benefit the most. It’s the 'multiple complex' part that is the key; this includes conditions that are typically overlooked in transitional care, such as behavioral health or cancers.

We may pass over and not focus on these patients in typical transitional care programs, but actually, they do benefit greatly from our nurse-directed transitional care management.

For example, with a cancer population, transitional care keeps them out of the hospital longer. The transitional care is not necessarily preventing or curing the cancer, but it’s helping to connect those dots in a way that keeps them from returning to the hospital. Again, we are also talking about complex patients. This is not just anybody with cancer; this is somebody with cancer and multiple other physical ailments as well.

The same is true for people who come in with a psychiatric condition. Again, we’re talking about a very sick population. For every 100 discharges, without transitional care almost 100 of these patients will go back to the hospital within the next 12 months. That’s almost a 100 percent return to the hospital. But with transitional care, only about 80 percent return to the hospital within the coming year.

This translates to an expected savings of nearly $100,000 just in averted hospitalizations per 100 patients managed. We were able to demonstrate that the aversions happened not only with the non-psychiatric hospitalizations, but also on the psychiatric hospitalizations.

Even though nurse care managers often tend to be siloed, by doing this coordinated ‘connecting the dots’ transitional care, they were able to prevent psychiatric hospitalization. That certainly has implications for capitated behavioral health systems. We don’t want to forget about these individuals.

Source: Home Visits for Clinically Complex Patients: Targeting Transitional Care for Maximum Outcomes and ROI

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Home-Visits-for-Clinically-Complex-Patients-Targeting-Transitional-Care-for-Maximum-Outcomes-and-ROI_p_5180.html

Home Visits for Clinically Complex Patients: Targeting Transitional Care for Maximum Outcomes and ROI describes the award-winning Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) transitional care program, how it discerns and manages a priority population for transitional care, and why home visits have risen to the forefront of activities by CCNC transitional care managers.

Care Transitions Playbook Sets Transfer Rules for Post-Acute Network Members

July 28th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

St. Vincent's Health Partners best practices care transitions playbook documents more than 140 patient transfer protocols.

St. Vincent's Health Partners best practices care transitions playbook documents more than 140 patient transfer protocols.

A primary tool for Saint Vincent’s Health Partners Post-Acute Network is a playbook documenting more than 140 transitions for patients traveling from one care setting to another, including the elements of each transition and ways network members should hold each other accountable during the move. Here, Colleen Swedberg, MSN, RN, CNL, director of care coordination and integration for St. Vincent’s Health Partners, explains the playbook's data collection process and information storage and describes a typical care transition entry.

The playbook is made up of several sections, including one with current expectations, based on the Michigan Quality Improvement Consortium, which we can review online. From an evidence-based point of view, they’ve listed the evidence for many common conditions patients are seen for in medical management. This is kept up to date. This is an electronic document stored on our Web site that can only be accessed by individuals subscribed to the network. We’ve also put this on flash drives for various partners.

A second section contains actual metrics for any network contracts. The metrics appear in such a way that the highest standard is included. For example, physician providers, as long as they provide the highest level of care in the metric, can be sure they’re meeting all the metrics. Those metrics are based on HEDIS® standards.

The third section is the transition section, laid out in two to three pages. For example, a patient moves from the hospital inpatient setting to a skilled nursing facility, such as Jewish Senior Services. For that transition, the playbook documents all the necessary tools for that patient: a personal health record, a medication list, whatever is needed. Also included is any communication with the primary care physician, if that provider has been identified. Finally, this section identifies the responsibility of the sending setting—in this case, the hospital inpatient staff. What do they need to organize and make sure they’ve done before the patient leaves and starts that transition, and what is the responsibility of the receiving organization?

That framework is the same for every transition: the content and tools change according to the particular transition. A final section of the playbook details all of the tools used for care transitions. For example, in our network, we’re just now working on the use of reviews for acute care transfers, which is an INTERACT (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers) tool. In fact, many settings, including all of our SNFs, as it turns out historically, have used that tool. This tool is in the playbook, along with the reference and expectation of when that tool would be used.

Source: Post-Acute Care Trends: Cross-Setting Collaborations to Align Clinical Standards and Provider Demands

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Post-Acute-Care-Trends-Cross-Setting-Collaborations-to-Align-Clinical-Standards-and-Provider-Demands_p_5149.html

Post-Acute Care Trends: Cross-Setting Collaborations to Align Clinical Standards and Provider Demands examines a collaboration between the first URAC-accredited clinically integrated network in the country and one of its partnering PAC providers to map out and enhance a patient's journey through the network continuum—drilling down to improve the quality of the transition from acute to post-acute care.

6 Population Health Strategies to Set Stage for Physician Reimbursement

May 12th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Robert Fortini, PNP

A team-based, top-of-license approach is key to population health success, says Robert Fortini, PNP, Bon Secours Medical Group chief clinical officer.

In the last six years, Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) has deployed a half-dozen population health strategies as groundwork for its Next Generation Healthcare offering. Here, Robert Fortini, PNP, BSMG chief clinical officer, identifies the tactics his organization leverages to effect health behavior change.

The specific population health strategies Bon Secours has deployed over the last six years start with the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) concept. I’m an avid believer in the concept of a team of professionals working together, along with that ‘top of license’ aspect, where it’s not just the sole domain of the independent ‘cowboy’ physician taking care of the patients. It’s pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and registered dietitians. It’s the entire team, with everyone having a vested responsibility for practicing to the top of his or her license.

Next, access is huge. It is ridiculous to think we can manage chronic disease in four 15-minute visits a year scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, while closing at lunchtime. It’s absolutely ludicrous. We are blowing that up by opening weekends and evenings and using technology to expand access, which is critical to affecting that behavioral change.

Third, know your population. Identifying effectively those who are most at risk with advanced analytics to make your efforts more efficient is very important.

Next is managed care contracting—aggressively coming to the table with our payors to help guide the conversations and craft the contracts and benefit designs that are attainable and achievable. That has been a new experience for Bon Secours in the last five years in particular. We have a CMS-based Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) covering about 30,000 attributed lives. We also have a number of commercial ACO-type contractual relationships with our commercial payors.

Fifth on the list: aggressive growth for palliative and hospice. We have invested very significantly in management of advanced illness that occurs at the end of life. The Medicare numbers around that are staggering: 40 percent of Medicare spend occurs in the last two years of life, and the pain, suffering, and emotional angst that occurs for patients and their families is incredible. Investing in the resources necessary to manage that effectively has been our strategic initiative at Bon Secours. We have a very large, well-versed palliative program that provides inpatient, outpatient and even home-based palliative services. And our hospice agency, which I am responsible for in addition to our medical group, has quadrupled in size in the last two years alone.

Then, finally, we manage the white space with powered care coordination, which includes health promotion, chronic disease management, care transition management, and more.

Source: Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Physician-Reimbursement-in-2016-4-Billable-Medicare-Events-to-Maximize-Care-Management-Revenue-and-Results_p_5143.html

Physician Reimbursement in 2016: 4 Billable Medicare Events to Maximize Care Management Revenue and Results details the ways in which Bon Secours Medical Group (BSMG) leverages a team-based care approach, expanded care access and technology to capitalize on four Medicare billing events: transitional care management, chronic care management, Medicare annual wellness visits and advance care planning.

HINfographic: Care Plans Put Healthcare Team on Same Page

April 13th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Though supporting technologies may vary, most healthcare organizations develop detailed, evidence-based, sharable care plans that follow high-risk patients through clinical episodes and transitions of care, with the goal of enhancing care quality and engagement and reducing spend, according to the 2015 Care Plans survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

A new infographic by HIN examines how care plans are distributed and stored, how long patients' care plans are tracked and the frequency of care plan tracking.

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Care PlansDetailed evidence-based care plans that follow high-risk patients through clinical episodes and transitions of care help these patients and their providers assess the level of care needed, evaluate services available and empower patients with goals of care, a strategy that impacts quality, outcomes and patient experience and engagement.

2016 Healthcare Benchmarks: Care Plans examines care plan utilization strategies and successes from more than 75 healthcare organizations responding to the November 2015 Care Plan survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Click here for more information.

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