Improving Care Transitions at an ACO With mHealth

Quality Independent Physicians (QIP) use of Red e App is featured in a Health Informatics article, Improving Care Transitions at an ACO With mHealth. QIP is a 1000-member ACO (accountable care organization) using Red e App as their secure and compliant communications platform for mobile messaging and file sharing.

Red e App Healthcare NetworkOne of the fundamental principles of accountable care organizations (ACOs) is to support the efforts of physicians, nurses and other clinicians to make care safer and better coordinate patients’ transitions from hospitals to other settings. Certainly, controlling the transition process can help to reduce unnecessary readmissions—and therefore drastically cut costs.

What’s more, the healthcare industry is the definition of having non-desk employees. And with the constant moving between patients and facilities and house calls, it can be hard for communication to occur. This lack of communication is never a good thing, especially when someone’s life could be at stake.

About two years ago, QIP started a Medicare Shared Savings program ACO employing nurses to hospitals and nursing homes to follow those Medicare patients around who were attributed to the organization, says Tom Samuels, QIP’s CIO. “At the time, we were struggling with a way to communicate with our doctors in a quick and real-time fashion, and still be HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant,” Samuels says, adding that QIP also needed a solution that would be easy enough for physicians to use.

Unfortunately, Samuels says, the only way that could have been done was by faxing, since e-mailing and texting are not HIPAA compliant, meaning protected health information (PHI) couldn’t be included in the messages. “Those faxes could get lost or they would come at the end of the day, which didn’t allow for instantaneous communication,” Samuels says. “We looked at secure e-mail services, but I am not going to get a doctor to log onto another web portal and remember another password just to retrieve e-mails from us. It’s an unnecessary burden.”

Six months ago, QIP ended up choosing Louisville-based startup Red e App, a real-time private mobile messaging platform, to allow on-site clinical staff to communicate back to the in-office doctors. One way QIP uses the app in the clinical setting is with care coordinators, who are in the hospital with patients, says Samuels. “The nurse might text a doctor, ‘Mrs. Jones is being discharged to a nursing home for rehab. Can she come to your office in 14 days?’ And the doctor might say yes, or might say he or she will visit the patient in the nursing home,” Samuels explains.

The application can authenticate clinicians, nurses and administrators into a mobile network that helps QIP maintain HIPAA compliance, he says. “And it fosters better transitions of care,” Samuels continues. “To measure the success of this product, we are looking at the percentage of patients seen after discharge within 14 days,” he says. “The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants us to see 70 percent of patients within 30 days of discharge, and we have moved that standard to 14 days. Now, we are looking for movement on those percentages because of the app—we’re able to notify office managers and doctors when patients are discharged from hospital. “

Read the complete article at Healthcare Informatics.

Amee Kent
Red e App Marketing Director

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