A key component of many value-based care strategies is to improve post-acute care (PAC) efficiency, typically by reducing patient length of stay. And these efforts have paid off. For skilled-nursing facilities alone, length of stay declined 5.5% between 2013 and 2016.
However, a byproduct of this improvement is that patients are moving more frequently—not just from acute care to PAC, but between PAC settings. Each of these transition points is an opportunity for care breakdown. So how are PAC leaders responding?
Opportunities to collaborate across PAC settings
Increasingly, patients are receiving post-acute care from multiple settings. For example, a patient who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury might stay at an independent rehab facility (IRF) for 11 days and then be discharged to his or her home under the care of a home health agency (HHA).
This means that PAC providers will need to build relationships to streamline these transitions. Higher acuity facilities, such as long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) and IRFs are looking to build their referral network with downstream PAC providers such as SNFs and HHAs.
But it's not enough to just have the referral partnership in place. PAC providers must ensure safe transitions for their patients between settings. Studies have shown that between 45% and 56% of medication errors occur at a transitional point of care. So it's no surprise that when we surveyed PAC providers, 100% reported an interest in investing in resources to boost coordination on cost and quality initiatives.
What does this mean for suppliers and service firms?
As PAC providers look to streamline coordination across sites, you can help them identify potential care gaps when patients move across different sites. For example, you can provide the right training and tools to PAC staff to proactively flag high-risk patients and verify important patient information at the time of admission, such as insurance coverage, medication preauthorization, and details on hospital acute-care stay. These type of products and services can establish you as a preferred partner for PAC providers as well as hospitals and physicians that direct patients to PAC settings.
If you're curious about some of the other changes underway in the PAC world, join us for our upcoming Post-Acute Care 101 webconference series. The first webconference, on November 6 at 1:00 p.m. ET, will help get you up to speed on the PAC landscape—including the key differences between the five major PAC settings and who influences PAC decisions. The second webconference, on November 8 at 1:00 p.m. ET, will discuss the market forces affecting the PAC world and PAC providers' strategies in response to those forces.
Create the links you need for effective acute/post-acute information exchange
As a patient moves between settings, inefficient information exchange can result in delayed treatment, inaccurate care plans, and ultimately, poor quality outcomes.
Download the infographic to learn several ways you can optimize data transfer and communication between settings—even without an EHR.