Wayne Sensor

Wayne Sensor is a healthcare advisor and member of the Ensocare board. He has been recognized by government, political and industry leaders for achievements in quality, transparency, consumer engagement and wellness. Wayne is the former CEO of Alegent Health, a 10-hospital system serving Nebraska and Iowa, and Christus Schumpert Health System in Louisiana. Most recently, he was a partner at Leavitt Partners serving as the lead executive advising large health systems. Wayne earned a master's degree in business administration from St. Ambrose College and a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Northern Iowa.
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Recent Posts

Realizing Optimal Outcomes in Care Transitions

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 6/14/16 3:24 PM

June 13, 2016 - Health System Management

Strategies that Aim to Facilitate Communication and Reliability
Moving between care settings can be a risky proposition for patients. When transitions are poor, patients may experience delays in treatment, a lapse in care continuity and the omission of vital therapies. Moreover, two-thirds of medical errors occur during care transitions—at admission, transfer or discharge and these breakdowns can have serious ramifications. On one side of the spectrum, a patient could have a slower recovery or a greater chance of acute care readmission; while on the other side, the individual may fail to return to expected functionality, resulting in long-term disability or even death.

Getting a Handle on the Problem
Despite the impact of sub-par care transitions, organizations continue to struggle to effectively move patients from one setting to another. For many, there is a lack of consistent processes, frequent delays and insufficient communication. To improve the efficiency and safety of these critical time periods, organizations should consider these strategies that aim to facilitate communication and enhance overall reliability.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Healthcare Technology Solutions

The Boost Your EMR Needs to Be a Care Coordination Machine: a Healthcare Executive’s View

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 5/19/16 11:01 AM

More than a decade ago when the healthcare industry began transitioning from paper charts to electronic medical records (EMRs), leaders of large hospitals and health systems, including me, expected to see at least some return on investment. Yet over the years, it has become apparent EMRs alone cannot produce the clinical and financial returns once anticipated. Today’s EMRs need a technology booster shot to take them from electronic repositories of patient data to a vehicle that supports the free exchange of protected patient health information among care providers and even with patients themselves. If they get the boost they need, I believe EMRs will be the lone platform needed to fundamentally transform fee-for-service medicine to fully coordinated patient care.

So where do we start? First, leaders should accept that their EMR system is a living, breathing infrastructure platform which will require regular updates and investments to effectively manage healthcare information in a complex, constantly changing healthcare environment. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that our idea of care coordination is changing. Today, providers and payors are thinking and talking about “episodes of care” instead of discrete procedures. The data sharing that’s necessary to ensure continuity of care requires interoperability, and unfortunately post-acute facilities rarely use the same EMR system as the referring hospital. Bottom line, not everyone can read or access the information they need to fulfill their role.

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Topics: Healthcare IT, EHRs, Healthcare Technology Solutions

Why CJR Should Be Keeping Hospital CEOs Up at Night

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 4/26/16 9:00 AM

Published by Becker's Hospital Review

The Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) rule and the idea of bundled payment reimbursement is a wake-up call if there ever was one. It's Health & Human Services saying in this election year that value-based healthcare is here to stay. To hospitals, it's a paradigm shift of massive proportions because it's turning departments that were once revenue streams into cost centers. In the new world order of bundled payments, no longer is the government going to reimburse for every scan or additional procedure ordered. The government is going to pay a fixed amount for the care of a patient over a period of time. CJR is just the first step of what will become the bundled payment norm.

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Topics: Healthcare Reform, Value-based payment models

Using Technology and Proactive Communication to Help Prevent Avoidable Readmissions

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 4/14/16 9:00 AM

How do we efficiently move patients and relevant clinical information through the care continuum and ultimately reduce unnecessary readmissions?

Multiple workflows, a lack of transparency, and poor patient engagement combined with limited EMRs in post-acute facilities all contribute to the problem. Today, our hospitals are being forced to move from a fee-for-service to a value-based system, and until we find the right solution to these challenges, patients lose.

The financial viability of our health-care institutions depends on us figuring out a solution that will result in better care and a better patient experience. Readmission penalties add up fast. In 2015, 2,592 hospitals were penalized a total of $420 million. I believe care planning and communication are at the heart of a multi-layered solution that facilitates smooth care transitions for patients and their families.  

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Topics: Care Transitions, Healthcare Technology Solutions, Reducing Readmissions

Key Readmission Reduction Strategies

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 4/12/16 2:53 PM

Currently, hospitals are engaging in several initiatives to limit readmissions.

For instance, some organizations are pursuing mergers and acquisitions with the goal of keeping care under one umbrella throughout the continuum. The thought is that by strategically acquiring post-acute providers, hospitals can keep patients “in sight” during post-acute care. Unfortunately, this approach is costly and does not directly mitigate the drivers of readmissions.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Care Transitions, Reducing Readmissions

Using Technology to Meet CMS Discharge Planning Requirements

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 4/12/16 12:26 PM

On October 29, 2015, CMS proposed a new set of discharge planning requirements that HealthLeadersMedia_article.jpghospitals and other care providers must meet to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. According to CMS, the proposed rules are meant to modernize the discharge function and help organizations improve care quality and avoid adverse events, such as unnecessary complications or hospital readmissions. The comment period for these proposed standards ended in January, and organizations await the final rules. Although no one knows exactly when the rules will release or what form they will take, there is consensus that the final regulations will be similar to those proposed, and organizations will be required to comply with them sooner rather than later.

Overall, the new CMS regulations strongly emphasize the importance of taking the patient’s clinical needs, care goals, and psychosocial preferences into account when planning for discharge. The main idea is that if organizations place the patient at the center of the planning process, they will improve patient health outcomes, enhance satisfaction, reduce care costs, and limit the likelihood of medical errors.

Read my full article published by Health IT Outcomes to learn how technology can help providers meet the new CMS standards.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Care Transitions, Reducing Readmissions

Technology Solutions Enhance Common Readmission Strategies

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 7/23/15 9:39 AM

A recent article published by Becker’s Hospital Review named the six most and least common strategies used by hospitals across the country to reduce readmissions.

The most common readmission reduction strategies:

  1. Completing a medication reconciliation process
  2. Educating patients and caregivers before discharge
  3. Conducting phone calls or other communication post-discharge

The least common readmission reduction strategies:

  1. Conducting in-home visits post-discharge
  2. Using technology specifically designed to manage risk
  3. No formal strategy

As a former hospital and health system CEO, I have seen each of these strategies deployed with varying levels of success.  I have also come to realize that the time has come to capitalize on technology as a solution for reducing avoidable readmissions and mitigating the associated risk. Not only can technology bring new strategies into play, it also can work to make commonly-used strategies more successful.

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Topics: Healthcare Technology Solutions, Reducing Readmissions

Focus on Medication Management Translates to Real Dollars, and Real Sense

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 6/23/15 3:00 PM

Medication adherence is key to reducing 30-day readmissions and return ER visits

A recent article in H&HN Daily tells the story of Chicago-based Mercy Hospital & Medical Center and its quest to maintain better medical oversight of patients being discharged.

For organizations such as Mercy, who serve an estimated 300,000 at-risk, uninsured patients, the need to create innovative programs to help reduce readmissions is rooted in their very mission, but also in the practical realities of today’s health reform. Increasing penalties for avoidable readmissions is an outcropping of the Affordable Care Act and finding ways to reduce repeat emergency room visits that result in readmission translates into real dollars and cents.

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Topics: Healthcare Reform, Care Transitions, Patient Outcomes, Healthcare Technology Solutions, Reducing Readmissions

The Brave New World of Patient Involvement in Care

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 4/14/15 10:15 AM


It’s no secret to anyone that health care is an ever-evolving industry. But some people and organizations in health care are stepping into the brave new world of inviting patient and family advisors to partner on projects related to quality and safety.

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Topics: Post-acute Care, Care Coordination, Care Transitions, Patient and Family Engagement, Patient Satisfaction, Healthcare IT

Data, Technology Offer Sustainable Solutions to Address Readmission Risks

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 2/18/15 10:31 AM

I’ve had the privilege of talking to hospital administrators across the United States about the creative BLOG_Emergency_Roomstrategies being implemented to address the triple aim of the Affordable Care Act. One major outcome of health-care reform that I hear discussed time and again pertains to the associated migration of risk from the payer community to the provider community.

The one thing nearly all find problematic is identifying solutions to mitigate the financial risk of avoidable readmissions. This is not an easy task and one that can prove quite costly for organizations from both a time and financial standpoint.

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Topics: Post-acute Care, Care Coordination, Healthcare Reform, Reducing Readmissions