Beyond the Hospital: Choosing Quality Post-Acute Care is Life-Changing, Too

A recent The New York Times article highlighted the “life-changing magic of choosing the right hospital.” The piece was based on a study by health economists at Harvard, M.I.T., Columbia and the University of Chicago that showed how heart attack patients choosing treatment at hospitals with higher quality ratings ultimately experienced better survival gains.

While the article itself is focused on a particular type of patient, the crux of the argument is that choosing a hospital based on quality rather than geography or another demographic results in better – or life-changing – care. The same argument has been made for patients choosing skilled nursing care, and for hospitals and ACOs selecting providers to be part of a preferred network.

Developing preferred provider networks is a topic we’ve covered extensively, and we continue to see the market move towards this model, especially as bundled payment programs expand from joint to cardiac patients.

For patients, the difference between choosing a hospital vs. choosing a SNF – especially in the case of a heart attack or sudden illness – is time. Usually patients and caregivers have time to consider options for different skilled nursing facilities. What they might not have, though, is the right information or access to tools to help them find the best providers.

Under the IMPACT Act, new proposed rules will require discharge planners to share quality and clinical service information with patients. We think this is net-positive for patients. CMS recognizes that it’s not enough for hospitals to just give patients a printed list and expect them to make an educated decision. Tools like CarePort Guide enable patients and their caregivers to search for providers based on quality, specialized services, and other factors important to patients. CarePort Guide also makes it easy to see which providers are part of a hospital’s preferred network – something that’s not always obvious or available on a printed list.

Equipping patients and caregivers with the right information empowers them to experience that “life-changing magic” across the healthcare continuum. Want to see how it can be done? Request a demo.