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Post-Acute Health Information Exchange Services On the Way

“Seamless transitions of care are absolutely critical to improving outcomes and containing cost."

By Frank Irving

CommonWell Health Alliance will begin offering its health information exchange services for post-acute facilities in the first quarter of 2016, the not-for-profit trade association announced on Feb. 24.

Three health IT vendors — Brightree, Cerner and McKesson — have committed to nationwide deployment of CommonWell’s person enrollment, record location, patient identification and linking, and data query and retrieval services this year.

Organizations in post-acute settings exhibit low levels of health information exchange, particularly the ability to send and receive data, according to a study published in Health Affairs. Against that technology backdrop, more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries are discharged from acute care hospitals into post-acute settings each year, with more than two-thirds of those individuals having at least two chronic conditions.

“This patient population typically requires care from multiple providers in a variety of highly divergent settings,” said Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell, in a public statement. “Our collective experience across the continuum can help break down the barriers to cross-vendor HIT interoperability and make a dramatic difference in care coordination among ambulatory, acute and post-acute settings of care, with the ultimate goal of better patient outcomes.”

Vendor support

In a recent interview with HealthITInteroperability, Asnaani pointed out that more than half of CommonWell members’ technologies are applicable to the post-acute space — areas such as pharmacies, labs, emergency services, perinatal and radiology.

The vendors newly committed to CommonWell's post-acute initiative are Brightree, Cerner and McKesson.

Brightree provides cloud-based software and services focused on improving clinical and business performance. The company plans to deploy CommonWell services to its home health and hospice customers.

“Seamless transitions of care are absolutely critical to improving outcomes and containing cost, and in the brave new world of healthcare, that simply can’t happen without interoperable exchange of health information,” said Brightree CEO Dave Cormack. “As an advocate for the effective use of healthcare IT in the post-acute setting, and the first CommonWell member focused solely on post-acute care, we’re thrilled to equip providers with the information they need to be more efficient and provide better patient care.”

Health IT vendor Cerner will extend CommonWell services to its long-term care clients early this year. Adam Laskey, the company’s senior director of long-term and post-acute care, commented, “As care providers become more focused on care coordination, it becomes increasingly important to enable the exchange of clinical health data across the continuum. We are excited to be at the forefront of this industry shift.”

Healthcare services and IT company McKesson plans to make CommonWell services available next month to home health and hospice providers.

“As risk continues to shift to providers, hospitals will rely more on post-acute providers to help gain the efficiency of providing positive outcomes in a lower cost care setting,” noted Billie Whitehurst, president and general manager of McKesson Capacity Management. “We’re excited that we’re delivering CommonWell enablement to our home health and hospice customers this spring. It’s part of our overall interoperability strategy to help improve efficiency in healthcare by connecting the care delivered in every setting.”

CommonWell said nearly 4,400 provider sites have gone live with its services to date. An additional 3,500 sites have committed to using CommonWell services in the future, according to the association.





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