ONC: Post-acute providers need EHR support

Although long-term and post-acute providers are not eligible for incentive payments from the Meaningful Use incentive program, program, electronic health records will play a major role in long term and post acute care (LTPAC), according to a report released this by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). The release was announced in an Aug. 20 Health IT Buzz blog post.

The report, which is based on a roundtable meeting held in May, flags that the LTPAC providers' needs for EHRs and health information exchanges need to be understood, and that EHR products must have the ability to meet those needs. LTPAC providers also need help to determine what EHR functions and systems to look for, and adopt ones that support their unique needs, such as transitions of care and care coordination.

ONC noted in the report that it had a role, but needed to be cautious moving forward. The report also addressed what post-acute elements should be in Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, how such providers' EHRs need to be focused around care teams, and that EHRs must be able to capture patient data related to these providers, such as pressure ulcers and cognitive status. Both care coordination and interoperability among different provider types are building blocks for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

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 and improve post-acute patient care, according to a recent McKnight's Long Term Care News post.

To learn more:
- read this Health IT Buzz post 
- here's the report (.pdf)
- read this McKnight's post