EHRs improve hand offs, care coordination in post-acute settings

Although long term and post acute providers are not part of the Meaningful Use program, their use of electronic health records help improve care transitions of patients, according to health IT expert Bill Russell, M.D., as reported in McKnight's Long Term Care News

Russell, in a release reflecting on a presentation he gave at the American Health Information Management Association's annual Long Term Care and Post Acute Providers Health IT Summit in Baltimore, noted that EHRs can help acute and post acute providers work together and coordinate care.

Poor patient care transitions are a major concern and a frequent cause of hospital readmissions and longer length of stays. EHRs can standardize much of the communication among providers. Both care coordination and interoperability among different provider types are building blocks for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

"It's not so much neglect. It's more of a process problem," Liz Reinking, a center representative with the Joint Commission, tells FierceEMR in an exclusive interview. "Hospitals have good intentions but need a better process [for] communications flow."  

Eighty percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication during hand offs, the Joint Commission says. In an effort to reduce these errors, the Joint Commission's Center for Transforming Healthcare created a new web-based tool to help providers pinpoint communication problems during care transitions and then work to solve them. The tool, released in late June, is free to Joint Commission-accredited organizations.  

To learn more:
- here's the McKnight's article
- learn about the Summit
- read about the Joint Commission's tool

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