ONC guide aims to help providers use EHR alerts to reduce readmissions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Beacon team recently released its first guide to help interested stakeholders learn from the experiences of the Beacon communities in implementing electronic health records.

The first guide, "Improve Hospital Transitions and Chronic Disease Care Management Using Admission, Discharge and Transfer-Based Alerts" is "designed for communities that have a stated goal to reduce avoidable ED visits, avoidable hospitalizations, and preventable readmissions and have identified the implementation of ADT-based alerts as a potential strategy to achieve the goals," according to the authors. The guide covers practical information, such as systems, overview, use of message fields and workflow issues.

The guide is the first of six guides expected to be rolled out in 2013. Other topics to be covered include patient engagement, measurement data and public health. The guides are intended for use by stakeholders of all sizes.

The Beacon Nation project, funded by the Hawai'i Beacon Community, promotes innovation in health IT by gathering and disseminating lessons learned from the 17 Beacon communities. The Beacon Community program is a federally funded project designed to increase efficiency, quality and sustainability of health care though health IT and is slated to end in 2013.

It's one of several programs sponsored by ONC to help the industry transition to EHRs. Other programs include health IT workforce development programs and the funding of the regional extension centers.

To learn more:
- read the learning guide (.pdf)
- learn about ONC's programs