"Putting the 'IT' in Care Transitions"

An Event Exploring Key Issues and Best Practices in Using Health IT to Improve Efficiency and Patient Safety After A Hospital Stay

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, a working meeting of innovators, policy and health IT experts, health care providers, patient organizations, technology companies, and government agencies will convene in Washington to assess progress in improving transitions in care and prioritize how the increasing availability of health IT can address some of the most intractable challenges related to care transitions on a broader scale.

Leaving a hospital can be one of the most challenging, expensive and even dangerous parts of the health care experience because of the wide variety of problems that can occur as patients transition from one care setting to another.  In recent years, several leading health care providers, foundations, and health care innovators have developed and implemented promising care interventions that have been shown to reduce problems patients typically face in transitioning from the hospital to another care setting, or to home, such as confusion or discrepancies about their medications. Yet despite these important "bright spots", roughly one in five Medicare beneficiaries is still readmitted to the hospital within thirty days of discharge, and many of these readmissions are believed to be preventable. The problem of improving care transitions continues to be a major national challenge as it can dramatically impact patient safety and health care costs.

Strategies for spreading promising IT-enabled models and barriers outside the realm of HIT will be explored throughout the day. Conference participants will identify: (1) best practices using health IT that can be implemented immediately to improve care transitions; (2) best practices that can be implemented within a year and; (3) an agenda outlining large opportunities where health IT innovation can address persistent barriers to progress.

"It is increasingly clear that health information technology, implemented in a patient-centered way, has vast potential to help us reduce the number of injuries, accidents and re-hospitalizations that are causing stress and harm to patients, particularly older patients, every year," said Christopher Langston, PhD, program director of the John A. Hartford Foundation. "We are committed to helping identify and support the best examples of health IT to assist complex patients in their most vulnerable moments."

The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Kaiser Permanente will host the meeting. The media partners for the event are Health Affairs, Health 2.0, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT at the Department of Health and Human Services and the HHS Partnership for Patients Initiative are key participants. The event will be held in Washington, DC at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health at 700 2nd Street NE, Washington DC 20002 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In-person attendance is by invitation only. The event will also be webcast live. For more information on accessing the webcast, please go to this link.

"By expanding the smart use of health information technology during transitions, we are paving the way for smarter, lower-cost health care and new levels of sustainable health care quality," said George Bo-Linn, MD, chief program officer of the San Francisco Bay Area Program with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "This kind of large-scale, systemic change has the potential to make a difference in people's lives that will be both lasting and significant."

"All health care providers understand both the human need to improve the patient experience during transitions of care, as well as the new demands that Medicare and others will be placing on systems to improve transitions. This meeting is an important service to anyone trying to create patient-centered transitions that are high quality, safe and efficient," said Scott Young, MD, associate executive director of clinical care and innovation at Kaiser Permanente.

Featured speakers include: National Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari, MD; Todd Park, chief technology officer of HHS; Dr. Aaron McKethan, ONC director of the Beacon Community Program; Eric Coleman, MD, creator of the Care Transitions Intervention; Joanne Lynn, MD, Altarum Institute; Carol Beasley, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief, Susan Dentzer.

"With our eyes on the prize to ensure seamless transitions, we are pursuing a range of aligned strategies including standards, interoperability, exchange, provider adoption and meaningful use. Through our programs, we need to identify and spread the word on the simple yet powerful HIT-enabled solutions that can help solve the complex problem of care transitions," said Dr. Mostashari.

"Care transitions are difficult for patients and families for many reasons. If we can clearly identify the most challenging issues, we can help accelerate work by providers, innovators and investors across the country who are energized to help improve care for patients," said Park. 

Members of the media are welcome to attend the proceedings (registration is required), and are recommended to attend opening remarks followed by brief Q&A with Park and Dr. Mostashari from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Please contact Danielle Cass at Kaiser Permanente for registration and inquiries ([email protected]).

"Health Affairs has devoted a great deal of attention over the years to the need to improve care transitions," says Dentzer, editor-in-chief of the journal. "We look forward to capturing learnings from this session, and hope to publish a series of 'Innovation Profiles' detailing how organizations are tackling the goal of better care transitions, and in particular, making the best use of health information technology in order to do so."

Throwing down a virtual gauntlet, success stories, and other announcements

This event will bring together individuals who have experience with successful IT-enabled interventions already in use around the country, including several ONC-funded Beacon Communities. The 17 Beacon Communities nationwide work to expand and strengthen their community-wide use of health information technology to improve care coordination, increase the quality of care and slow the growth of health care spending.

ONC will also announce a variety of new policy standards, including some concerning technological interoperability that will be of interest to anyone pursuing IT innovations in a health system setting.  

A call to action will be issued at the end of the meeting to ensure that progress can be made in the near term. Meeting attendees and other interested organizations are urged to consider future commitments and actions for discussion at the meeting, and to take meeting outputs to inform their near term agendas.

Guidance for remote participants

Due to increased interest, there are no longer spaces open for additional non-media attendees. Limited slots are open for individuals who would like to attend the convening remotely via webcast. To sign-up, please click here. In addition, interested individuals may participate through on-line social media outlets (google+, twitter, and linkedin). The twitter hashtag is #ITrans and the on-line conversation of the meeting will be hosted by Brian Ahier (@ahier), with real-time updates from conference attendees and hosts. Lastly, if you would like to send the conveners of this meeting a message, resources, or success stories (print and video are encourage), please email [email protected]. A public summary of meeting discussions and outputs (in person and online) will be provided to all interested individuals.  Following the meeting, select success stories and commitments will be showcased by HHS national leaders and as Health Affairs "Profiles in Innovation."

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.8 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.

About the John A. Hartford Foundation

Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation (www.jhartfound.org) is a committed champion of health care training, research and service system innovations that will ensure the well-being and vitality of older adults. Its overall goal is to increase the nation's capacity to provide effective, affordable care to its rapidly increasing older population. Today, the Foundation is America's leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health.

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation and scientific research around the world and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The goal of the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, named after our co-founder, is to improve nursing-related patient outcomes of adult acute care hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento. For more information, please visit www.moore.org.

Media Contacts:
Randi Kahn
[email protected]

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente