The need for prompt, accurate ePHI continues to grow year over year as outbreaks and complex comorbidities become the norm in healthcare delivery. While we could bemoan the simplistic attempts at data aggregation from a federally driven perspective, we’re hyper aware of the challenges that face smaller health organizations and those lacking the budget to make more impressive gains when it comes to health IT. Given the current legislative focus on ADT notifications, let’s hone in on why ADTs are an important communication driver and how they contribute to real progress toward integrated care.
We’ve got to Start Somewhere
One of the benefits of pressing into more providers and facilities supporting Admission, Discharge, Transfer (ADT) notifications is that it is a well-defined starting point. Healthcare entities either do or do not send them (receiving ADTs in a meaningful manner as a metric of success is still lacking, admittedly, but let’s crawl before we can walk). It may seem like a simple data point, but the value of establishing a pathway for discrete, well-defined data structures can pay dividends down the road when it comes to snagging additional metrics as low-hanging fruit.
Tracking Patient Movement via ADTs is Paramount to Quality Care
It may shock folks outside the care delivery world to know how often a provider cannot answer the most basic question: “Where is your patient?” Especially for “frequent flyers” struggling with multiple chronic conditions and a litany of specialists for day-to-day care management, quickly identifying whether a patient is currently ambulatory or admitted is a massive improvement.
Given the cost of admission (and the dings for readmission), staying on top of transfers of care is of vital importance. Not just for cost containment, but it’s also a matter of patient quality of life to ensure that a referral to a long-care or rehabilitation facility results in follow through. A PCP cannot be expected to play central command without knowing the hand offs that have been initiated. Only with this data, provided at a base level via ADT notifications, can reinforcement of discharge instructions be enabled for the whole care team.
It Takes a Village: Cultivating a Care Team
Much like knowing a patient’s whereabouts, it might be shocking for some to realize how difficult it can be to define a given patient’s care team. Because we tackle disease based on the impacted system and parts, many specialists come to the table to oversee an individual’s treatment plan, sometimes even for a single diagnosis. Knowing who else is participating in oversight, especially when medications are involved, is a must-have for fostering communication and connectivity that benefits the patients and the business.
The Right Information at the Right Time
We’re going to say it out loud: sometimes the demand for real-time data is arbitrary. Yes, critical decisions can be bolstered by timely access to recent medical records, but in most provider use cases, we’re not talking life or death (thank goodness!). However, the value of ADT notifications is that they are timely. If, for example, we can recognize the tremendous benefits to outcomes when a patient follows up with a rehab facility within X days of discharge, it starts to become clearer how a real-time ADT message can “start the clock” on a proactive approach to health.
ADT Alerts Support Healthcare Beyond the Hospital
Finally, one of the big benefits we see to establishing ADT exchange and connectivity within care communities is that it recognizes the value of healthcare delivered outside the hospital. Many legislative and governing agencies narrowly target hospitals when it comes to encouraging interoperability and exchange of patient data. But in our view, that does little else but reinforce a system that lands patients back in the hospital on a regular basis. Let’s equip all care providers and their staff with visibility into the movements and activity for the patient population. This is how we can truly share the load and mount a community approach to getting folks well.