Technology key to practice's care transition efforts

Technology is at the forefront of how New Jersey-based primary-care practice Vanguard Medical Group works with other facilities to provide quality care to its patients, according to Janet Duni, the group's director of care coordination.

In a recent post to Medical Practice Insider, Duni, a registered nurse, talks about the role of tools such as electronic health record systems for readmission reduction and patient engagement efforts.

"A dominant goal is to use technology to create effective, standardized interventions across all sites to manage high-risk patients, and those patients who have had an emergency department or inpatient stay," Duni writes. "Patients have experienced the benefits of proactive outreach, which includes regular visits with their provider, better medication management, coordination of specialist visits and a decrease in hospital readmissions."

In particular, Duni says, Vanguard has created a risk stratification matrix within its EHR that identifies risk levels, types and outreach for its patients. The practice also organizes its payer information into an internal database of patients, according to Duni, which enables proactive care efforts while standardizing "high-risk management across all payers and at all sites."

Vanguard's experience aside, technology expenses are a leading driver of strain for many practices, according to recently published research from the Medical Group Management Association.

According to the its Cost Survey Report: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data, unveiled in September, medical practices' annual expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) physician for information technology have climbed 27.8 percent in just five years, from a median of $15,211 in 2008 to a reported $19,439 in 2012.

"Implementing and optimizing information technology is a significant investment for physician practices," Derek Kosiorek, a principal with MGMA's Health Care Consulting Group, said in an announcement touting the research. "Although an electronic health record can be costly, it's admirable that physician practices are leveraging sophisticated tools that produce higher efficiencies and impact patient care."

To learn more:
- read the Medical Practice Insider post

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