Readmissions Battle Gets Help from Tech

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , March 27, 2012

What if, instead, hospitals were able to borrow a best practice from the travel industry? Now some case management directors say they've found a service provider that does just that. Massachusetts-based Curaspan Health Group provides software-as-a-service that takes care of transmitting patient records and clinical documentation and sending them to the next provider in the chain of care. That eliminates the phone call and fax labor and speeds the process of getting a referral request on its way.

Here's the travel industry tie-in: Because it's an online service, the solution enables providers to search a database of those care facilities, and hospitals benefit from reports detailing which facilities were referred to most often, and which ones declined or delayed care and for what reason, such as insurance denials.

The software-as-a-service also enables discharge personnel to communicate with and share documents with transport companies and payers, traditional sources of phone and fax labor.

Here are some other ways software-as-a-service solutions could curb readmissions:

  • Identifying the highest readmission rates by post-acute-care provider, diagnosis, and time of day. That way, hospitals can zero in on the problem providers, particular caregiver issues with those providers, and troubleshoot getting the right care to the right patients at the right time at those facilities to reduce readmissions.
  • Looking at how post-acute providers processed referrals. Did they review them all in a timely manner? Did the information provided lead to better matches between hospitals and post-acute facility? That could reduce readmissions.
  • Time-and-date stamping all online activities by personnel at all facilities using the software to  create an automatically-generated audit trail that can improve accountability at those facilities, enhancing treatment and reducing readmissions.
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