The timing of the current COVID-19 pandemic and new CMS mandated Conditions of Participation requirements for automated ADT (admission, discharge, and transfer) Notifications are bringing communication and interoperability challenges to the forefront of healthcare. Timely and effective information sharing is critical for care teams to deliver proper care to all patients, improving care coordination, eliminating extra steps, and saving time and money.
The stats back up this argument. According to HIMSS Analytics, 51% of clinicians and clinical informaticists said improving patient safety was their top driver, 46% wanted faster response times between care team members, and 42% wanted faster response times to patients, all leading to better follow-up care.
This may sound like preaching to the choir, but at the end of the day, care teams want to treat patients more efficiently, get access to data easier, and make engaging their patients simple – leading to better provider satisfaction and healthier patients!
Care coordination and delivery has always been challenging — from the battlefields of 18th century Europe to 21st century urban emergency rooms, getting the right treatment to the patient, at the right time, by the right medical team, is a complex dance of information transfer and data coordination.
One misstep in this dance can lead to life-altering consequences. A study by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations indicates that communication errors were the root cause of almost 70% of all sentinel events.¹ Even with effective and reliable communication channels, the systemic lack of usable health data and information sharing standards, methods, and strategies between health organizations plays a crucial role in limiting effectiveness of care providers.
Additional recent studies saw a ten-fold increased risk of hospital readmission for patients who fail to see a physician within 30 days of discharge² — a tough problem to overcome when up to one third of primary care physicians are not notified their patients were ever hospitalized.³
These pressing communication problems directly impact the financial bottom line in the healthcare industry. The financial burden placed on the healthcare system from preventable readmissions is an estimated $17 billion annually on Medicare alone.
To add to these challenges, a new CMS Conditions of Participation (CoP) rule, requiring electronic alert notifications for patient admissions, discharges, and transfers (ADT) is on the horizon, with a pending compliance date of May 1, 2021. Though this is a comparatively short time window, this mandate will certainly close the communication gaps that currently exists between providers, patients, and insurers. Once in force, electronic ADT should result in:
- Up to an 18% reduction in preventable hospital readmissions
- A concerted effort to prevent relapses after discharge
- Quicker and more effective care coordination between medical teams and healthcare providers
Emphasis on open communication is the key. By sharing ongoing ADT events with all stakeholders during the regular course of hospitalizations and related encounters, care teams can work in partnership to segment (positive/negative) lab results, manage information across patient populations and monitor patient activity to facilitate long-term follow-up care. When applied to the current pandemic, these practices become a key weapon in controlling and eventually eliminating the virus.
ADT Notification Can Alleviate Converging Factors
COVID-19 exposes the pressing need for greater care collaboration and informed decision-making at the point of care. New CMS rules now require ADT event notifications as part of CMS CoP. Automated health event notifications delivered not only at the point of care, but also across the care continuum, help reduce the likelihood of costly readmissions and improve care quality. Actionable data equips care teams to respond quickly to patient needs, resulting in clinical efficiencies. Further, health event alerts support the CMS mandate for ADT notifications and compliance with COVID-19 public reporting requirements. At a time when healthcare is burdened by a nationwide pandemic, government mandates, and financial pressure, healthcare organizations must operationalize digital technologies now or risk compromising improving patient outcomes, clinical efficiencies, and reduced costs.
¹ Joint Commission, April 19, 2015.
² CMS Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.³ William P. Moran, MD, MS; Kimberly S. Davis, MD; Thomas J. Moran, MSW; Roger Newman, MD; Patrick D.Mauldin, Ph.D., “Where Are My Patients? It is Time to Automate Notification of Hospital Use to Primary Care Practices.” Southern Medical Journal 105(1):18-23, January 2012.