More Data, More Movement, Fewer Errors in Sharing Patient Data

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Charlie Batutis By Charlie Batutis 
Connectivity Product Manager, Change Healthcare

Having the best, most updated information on customers is a priority for virtually every business. In the home care industry, that information can be critically important, even life-saving.

These days, more patient information is being exchanged due to care transitions, care coordination efforts and new reimbursement models like accountable care organizations (ACOs). Fortunately, technology providers are stepping up with ways to make sharing information easier, resulting in smoother data flow and lower risk of error.

A few years ago, health information exchanges (HIEs) began to get traction as a way for states, regions or local providers to combine their technology systems to present a common patient record or track patients as they move among care settings. In certain localities, HIEs have matured and continue to grow by adding new providers. However, other HIE efforts have fallen well short of goals.

Interoperability a Key for Successful Transitions

For home care organizations, interoperability on this scale would eliminate the faxed documents that many of you still receive when getting a new patient. According to a recent study, post-acute care providers lagged in the ability to exchange data through HIEs, particularly the ability send and receive data.

Imagine how much easier an electronic process could make processing a new patient, scheduling the right caregiver, reconciling medications and monitoring the care that your staff provides.

The CommonWell Health Alliance has been working since 2013 to create national interoperability standards for data exchange among disparate technology providers. Change Healthcare is a founding member of the alliance. Common interoperability baked into competing technology products allows for more comprehensive data sharing among facilities. These common connections would help replace the piecemeal links that now take place at each healthcare facility.

Our work in the alliance is paying off for McKesson Homecare™ and McKesson Hospice™ customers who also use McKesson Home Health Connect™ or McKesson Hospice Connect™. CommonWell services are now available to help organizations exchange and organize data from referral partners, giving you access to a patient’s complete clinical record from multiple providers. Those services include person enrollment, record location, patient identification and linking, and data query and retrieval. (Editor’s note: McKesson Technology Solutions is now Change Healthcare.)

Providing a more complete clinical record can help coordinate care, improve efficiencies and allow for better decision making among providers. The electronic sharing of information helps greatly reduce the chance for error as manual procedures and handoffs are eliminated.

Filtering Mounds of Patient Data

The sheer amount of data per patient is increasing exponentially. It’s inefficient for providers to pore through large amounts of EHR data, as is often necessary, to extract the most valuable nuggets of information. But if providers enlist filtering mechanisms to separate out that rich data, they can deploy the most up-to-date and pertinent clinical and demographic information available during a patient’s visit.

Interoperability through HIEs and alliances such as CommonWell is allowing providers to access not only more data, but more structured data that can inform care decisions.  Interoperability can help provide data that is more accurate, detailed and valuable to the extent that home health and other providers encourage the adoption of digital tools that enhance real-time data entry and access.

Learn more about how home health software can aid in maintaining accurate patient information via subscribing to Homecare Talk.

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