Solving Healthcare for the Sandwich Generation

Posted by Luis Castillo on 5/9/16 12:42 PM

If only the decisions facing the Sandwich Generation were as simple as “do you want mayo or mustard on that?”

Instead, millions between the ages of 40 and 59 are finding that their lives are wedged tightly between the hard choices associated with taking care of elderly parents and supporting both their minor and grown children. The AARP estimates, in fact, that 66 million Americans are simultaneously caring for their children and parents at the same time they are supporting themselves. It’s a labor of love that they’re paying dearly for; the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that adults in the Sandwich Generation spend, on average, $10,000 and 1,350 hours on their parents and children combined per year.

The healthcare revolution is partly behind this problem. Care, such as giving medications, ensuring therapy is completed, eating the right foods and tracking vitals like weight, blood pressure and glucose was done only in formal healthcare settings a generation ago. Today, the expectation from all corners of the care continuum is that those activities are done outside the hospital – and absolutely have to be – to control the rising cost of healthcare.

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Topics: Care Coordination, Healthcare IT, Care Givers

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

EHRs Don't Go Far Enough: It's Time to Put the Whole Patient into the Equation

Posted by Kyle Salem, Ph.D. on 7/9/15 3:31 PM

Many believed the electronic health record (EHR) would be the panacea to managing patient medical information. While these systems have many merits, the extent of data sharing capability necessary to ensure continuity of care isn't among them. In fact, EHRs were never designed with interoperability in mind. So, what is the next step that needs taken to be sure patients' care is coordinated, compliant and effective?

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Topics: Care Coordination, EHRs

Making Sense of Weak Signals: Health-Care Systems Can Break the Code

Posted by Jill Reeves, MHA on 5/6/15 8:14 AM

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many Americans wondered how it was possible for the enemy to attack us on our soil. How did the Japanese military “sneak” into our airspace and kill and injure so many citizens and military personnel?

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Topics: Care Coordination, Care Transitions, Patient and Family Engagement, Healthcare IT

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

Using Your Post-Acute Network to Reduce Readmission Penalties: An ANI Sneak Preview

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 6/12/14 9:22 AM

Last year, two-thirds of eligible hospitals felt the blow of readmission penalties, which totaled $227 million, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Since CMS announced it would enforce these regulations, hospitals have been searching for effective strategies to address the complicated factors involved with readmissions.

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Topics: Post-acute Care, Care Coordination, Healthcare Reform, Medicare Readmission Penalties, Ensocare News

Breaking Down Barriers to Effective Care Coordination

Posted by Wayne Sensor on 6/4/14 9:47 AM

At the National Readmission Prevention Collaborative Summit a few weeks ago, I spoke about the challenges health-care organizations face today in facilitating effective care coordination and how addressing those challenges can impact the patient experience.

Namely, when discharge planning and care coordination are successful, hospitals and health systems are better equipped to navigate patients through the care continuum, reducing readmissions and ultimately improving patient outcomes. However, realizing effective care coordination can be challenging as there are several barriers organizations must first overcome.

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Topics: Post-acute Care, Care Coordination, Length of Stay, Healthcare Reform

Reducing Readmissions: A Better Way

Posted by Kyle Salem, Ph.D. on 5/19/14 10:14 AM

Did you know that nearly 80 percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication during patient transfers? Doesn’t that illustrate the need for accurate and timely information exchange in discharge planning?

There’s got to be a better way—one that benefits patients and providers.

Hospitals are employing nontraditional best practices to improve communication and avoid penalties. Consider the following strategies many facilities use to support robust patient care across the continuum.

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