As patient communication increases, Crystal Lake-based Centegra Health System finds readmission rates decrease.
A primary focus in health care, from hospitals, the government and private insurers, is to improve treatment and efficiency. One key measurement: readmission rates.
Centegra Health System found that when case managers, home health aides, physical therapists and other care providers could easily communicate with each other about a shared patient, good things happened: readmission rates dropped, post-surgery stays in skilled nursing facilities shortened, and more patients successfully transitioned to less expensive post-procedure options like outpatient or community-based services.
The game changer, it says, was a private app from Chicago startup PreparedHealth, which connects various care providers and allows them to share information and status reports about a patient in the same way they might on Facebook or LinkedIn. The HIPPA-compliant network, called enTouch, also electronically stores a patient’s charts, insurance and other vital information, so everyone on the healthcare team has access to it. The network is open to professional caregivers and family members, although the Centegra program is limited to caregivers.
“We were struggling to reduce excessive use of medical staff and better match patients with the right level of care when they left the hospital,” says Astrid Larsen, Centegra’s director of care coordination. “We needed a tool to track our patients and their progress from the moment we got involved with them. The phone calls and faxes between various providers and manually writing down notes were not working.”