Ensocare - Topics on readmissions, discharge process and improving patient care

Strengthening Post-Acute Networks

Written by Jill Reeves, MHA | 1/16/17 2:00 PM

A strong network of facilities ready to receive a patient and seamlessly continue his or her care is a key element in transitioning patients out of the hospital and into the post-acute setting. Although large health systems often have capable networks based on the amount of patients they feed into these facilities, small- to mid-sized hospitals can lack the leverage of larger organizations and may have much less robust networks as a result. Though patients are the ultimate decision makers regarding which facility they will transition to after hospital discharge, network limitations can mean the hospital has fewer options to share. If this leads to a patient making a less-than-ideal choice, it can potentially impact the individual’s health outcomes, as well as satisfaction. As such, hospitals and health systems need to strengthen their networks in order to provide favorable recommendations for the next care stage.

By leveraging care coordination technology, hospitals and health systems can simultaneously expand their post-acute networks and enhance communication with them, aligning patients’ clinical and personal needs with vetted and qualified facilities. With just a few mouse clicks, care coordinators can send relevant patient information to prospective facilities in mere minutes, and with advancements in mobile devices, smart phones and tablets expedite the process even more. Additionally, post-acute facilities are able to review a patient’s condition and care criteria faster and respond almost immediately, allowing patients and their families to make faster, more informed decisions.

When the patient transitions to the post-acute setting, care coordination technology also facilitates communication between the hospital and receiving facility. The hospital is able to share meaningful information drawn from the electronic health record (EHR) prior to the patient’s arrival, ensuring orders and prescriptions are available to patients immediately, further preventing any gaps in care.

Not only does technology help transition patients to the next care setting faster and prevent unnecessary lengths of stay, it can also improve the likelihood that patients select a facility where their needs will be safely and satisfactorily met.

Learn more about how care coordination solutions can help expand your post-acute network and improve care transitions.