Addressing common challenges in post-acute care

April 11, 2022
Categories: Home health, Hospice
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In post-acute, it’s not uncommon to see chronically ill patients who need help navigating their care history. Because they often alternate between home and hospital, it’s imperative that their medical records move with them so providers have a comprehensive view of the patient’s care history and needs. Unfortunately, this is one of the all-too-common challenges in post-acute care, specifically for home health and hospice agencies, and one that two EHR vendors sought to solve by partnering to develop interoperability solutions.

Improving post-acute care transitions

Home health and hospice agencies often encounter challenges during patient care transitions. “When a patient has a seamless transition, it’s good for the hospital, for the home care or hospice agency, for the payor, and especially for the patient,” says Steve Herron, Cerner’s senior director of long-term and post-acute care. “It’s about getting the right care started fast, giving them a better chance at a fast, full recovery.”

To improve care transitions, out-of-hospital agencies need access to data from all previous encounters patients had with other providers, including allergies, medications, immunizations, procedures, and test results.

That’s why both Cerner and MatrixCare have integrated with CommonWell and Carequality, national-level interoperability powerhouses that enable the automated exchange of healthcare data between healthcare systems, creating seamless transitions and allowing caregivers to follow a patient’s healthcare journey.

Improving physician signature workflows

Another hurdle facing home health and hospice agencies is obtaining signatures on physician orders in a timely manner. Cerner customers who use  MatrixCare’s physician e-Signature capabilities see real operational improvements.

“When an order is entered into the home care EHR, our interface delivers it directly to the message center in the physician’s own EHR, so they can sign and return orders electronically,” Herron said.

Document signing processes are embedded into workflows, along with automatic document return and matching documents to patients. There’s an option for an expanded document signing workflow that automatically shares documents with Cerner-enabled hospital systems via the CommonWell network.

Enhanced communications for out-of-hospital agencies

Communication with referral partners and other providers can sometimes prove challenging for out-of-hospital agencies. The ability to send and receive documents automatically is a must-have. Integrating with technologies like electronic referrals, Direct Secure Messaging (DSM), electronic faxing, and document tracking can all help to ensure the timely sharing of patient data.

Since partnering with MatrixCare, a common comment from Cerner hospital customers is that the ability to get orders signed in the physician’s workflow is a huge improvement, and their physicians appreciate the ease of finding a patient’s previous medical history.

Interoperability is within every agency’s reach

Interoperability is becoming increasingly important to agencies. Given the opportunities to improve staff efficiency, lower costs, increase provider and patient satisfaction, and improve care quality, Cerner and MatrixCare are working to make sure interoperability becomes the norm, so providers can use it to help people lead healthier lives.

As part of this trend, Cerner and MatrixCare began a partnership in 2019 to build an interoperable solution with the capabilities home health providers need—and expect. “We focus on using healthcare IT as the driver for changing how healthcare works,” said Herron.

“After a comprehensive analysis of the home health marketplace from a ‘build, buy, or partner’ perspective, we narrowed our focus to partnering. We chose to partner with MatrixCare because of their superior platform and interoperability. And we’re pleased to see MatrixCare named Best in KLAS for three consecutive years, validating the decision we made in 2019 to partner with them,” Herron said.

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Chris Love
Chris Love

Chris Love, MBA is the director of channel partnerships at MatrixCare. Chris has been in the post-acute health care industry for 26 years with experience in home health, hospice, skilled nursing, home infusion, home medical equipment, and behavioral health care. He works closely with Cerner on all aspects of the partnership. Chris believes technology can best help caregivers deliver care when it improves their processes and helps patients and families on their health journey.

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