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4 Ways to Use Postacute Data Strategically

By Philip Betbeze  
   August 28, 2017

With the increase in risk-based contracting, hospitals and health systems depend on leaders to develop measurements that will help keep patients out of high-cost care settings.

Leaders at hospitals and health systems with risk-based payer contracts are taking a crash course on postacute care.

Learning how to keep patients out of the hospital, where the highest-cost care happens, is critical to success under risk.

Here are four ways healthcare leaders are using data to help keep patients stable and out of the highest-cost care settings.

1.To Enable Course Correction

In helping to develop HM Home and Community Services, a division of Pittsburgh healthcare conglomerate Highmark Health, Brian Holzer, MD, saw his job in simple terms: Close gaps in postacute care.

The former president of the organization (he left in late May to become president of Kindred Healthcare's Kindred Innovations unit) says the best way to do that is through measurement of key metrics and collaboration with postacute care providers that allow course correction in the patient care journey at the earliest possible point. 

HMHCS manages the interactions between those postacute companies and acute care facilities with the aim of holding postacute providers accountable for their performance in quality and cost control.

Its team closely monitors metrics such as SNF and home health readmission rates and SNF lengths of stay. 

"Generically speaking, these are examples of the unit measures of quality, so we're looking at those trends, but as important on a weekly basis is how well the model is working for our ACO and health plan customers," says Holzer.

2.To Shorten the Data Lag

Holzer hungers for more data that is applicable to realtime scenarios. 

"Healthcare, particularly postacute healthcare, suffers from lack of actionable data," he says, adding that, nationally, approximately 40% of patients admitted to the hospital recover in some sort of postacute care setting.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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