5 Post-Acute Data Pitfalls – And How To Avoid Them

Increasingly health systems need to understand post-acute outcomes for their patient populations. Here are some common mistakes and lessons learned from hospitals such as Montefiore when it comes to asking for data from your referral partners.

According to claims data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), skilled nursing facility performance is highly variable.  

The image below highlights SNF performance variability.  For example, it shows data for seven SNFs in the New York area with average length of stay (ALOS) ranges from 24 days to nearly 50 days for Medicare fee-for-service patients. Also, we can see that one nursing home in Manhattan has a 30-day readmission rate of 16%, while another facility in Brooklyn returns almost half of its patients to the hospital with a 47% readmission rate.

Knowing this kind of post-acute provider (PAC) performance data can be very helpful for hospitals as they identify PACs to participate in a preferred provider network. When interpreting data like the data above, keep in mind these five pitfalls:

Five Pitfalls of SNF Data Collection

Here are five pitfalls our customers and other hospitals have experienced when collecting data to measure skilled nursing facility performance.  These aren’t the only issues you may encounter, but do they represent characteristic challenges.

Pitfall 1 – Claims data is a lagging indicator and difficult to parse

Claims data is often dated, lagging by multiple quarters if not years, and is available only for a portion of your patients.

Pitfall 2 – Manual data collection is burdensome for both acute and post-acute providers

Most health systems therefore depend on having PACs manually report data to them.  For PACs, it can be burdensome to assemble detailed reports on an ongoing basis. For hospitals, reconciling this data is equally tedious. Barbara Healy, MBA, MPH, Senior Project Manager at Montefiore Medical Center highlighted the time-consuming nature of collecting, parsing, creating reports from self-reported data when discussing the process prior to the implementation of CarePort. [See how Montefiore Medical Center tracks post-acute outcomes in this webinar with Healy].

Pitfall 3 – Using self-reported data to compare facilities is problematic

Another major question is to what extent the data submitted by PACs is comparable. Healy explains for example that each facility had a different method for determining what constitutes a readmission within the 30-day window.

Pitfall 4 – Sharing data in a secure way

Data security was also issue: “…we [Montefiore Medical Center] realized that we also needed to transmit this data in a secure way.” CarePort offered a HIPAA-compliant and secure platform for data sharing.

Pitfall 5 – Manual claims data collection does not scale well and is error prone

While a manual process to collect claims data may temporarily work for small segment of patients with a limited set of post-acute providers, it is not a scalable or sustainable solution for the medium or long-term. It’s also prone to human error.

Automating Real-Time Data Sharing Between Acute and Post Acute Providers

When I founded CarePort, I saw multiple opportunities to address the gaps in information sharing that Healy describes.  We built PAC Network Analytics tools to deliver objective PAC performance data in a real-time fashion to our health system customers. CarePort automatically pulls information from post-acute EHRs and enables hospitals and post-acute providers to build custom reports and score cards on key performance metrics such as readmission rates, average length of stay, discharge to community, leakage, and others. Users can apply multiple filters to these reports and segment data by patient diagnosis, demographics, and attribution.

Our solution gives health systems on-demand views into how their patients are being cared for in the post-acute setting. This kind of transparency empowers hospitals and post-acute providers to identify opportunities for improvement and work together to improve outcomes for their shared patients.

Next Steps

1. Learn Best Practices from Montefiore Medical Center

Barbara Healy of Montefiore Medical Center discusses the exchange of patient data across your prefered provider network and how this improves post-acute outcomes.

  • Generate better patient care and cost containment results from your preferred post-acute provider network
  • How health systems and ACOs can improve post-acute outcomes

2. Ask for a Complimentary Report

Would you like to see SNF data in your area? CarePort can help you get started by providing you a complimentary report of the readmission rates and average length of stay of post-acute care providers in your area, such as the map displayed above.

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