Three things to look for in a post-acute/long-term care EHR

With the emergence of accountable care organizations (ACOs), post-acute and long-term care facilities are becoming increasingly prevalent as needed components in IT systems and operations. Additionally, with the western hemisphere’s aging population, long-term care facilities are going to gain an influx of patients in the upcoming years.

In order to support the documentation of this influx of patients, operations must be improved and EHR interoperability must be established. Many facilities need to make a transition or upgrade to new and more modern EHR systems. Here are three things to look for in a post-acute or long-term care EHR:

1. Integration of existing records

Many long-term care facilities are highly dependent on paper charts and manual records. Additionally, many facilities do not have the IT departments, networks, and equipment needed to upgrade to a more modern system. While purchasing more modern equipment and networks will be the responsibility of the healthcare facility, integrating existing paper documentation with the new technology can be delegated to the EHR vendor. Look for post-acute or long-term EHR vendors that offer a streamlined way of transferring existing charts and support this process.

Recommended reading: find long-term care and post-acute EHRs with our completely up-to-date EHR vendor directory.

2. Interoperability

Providers in acute and post-acute areas of medicine need increased interoperability and improved dialogue for patient care. As the ACO movement continues, providers will see that long term care facilities are now a major player in the overall medical picture. While the basics of patient documentation can currently be conveyed, specific components will need serious reworking, integrating and enhancing.

For many patients of post-acute or long term care, there is frequent readmission back and forth from the hospital to rehabilitation settings. Collaboration between acute and post-acute sectors needs integration. This way, medical information and patient status is readily available. Things like care pathways and care plans will need integration and interoperability. A big area of focus is continuum of health. A patient may leave a hospital with a follow up physician examination scheduled at a skilled nursing facility. There needs to be a system that can input this information without duplication of work in scheduling.

3. Outcomes measurements

Long-term care and post-acute EHR systems should offer outcome measurement tracking and analytics. Improved outcome tracking will yield higher quality, medically sound facilities and a more informed patient consumer of medical services. Better outcomes will lead to reduced readmissions to hospitals. Long-term care facilities should focus on operational analytics as they need to use data to move toward best practice, and to acquire and keep partners as ACOs continue. Proactive healthcare will be key to best patient care and data analysis will allow this.

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Amy Vant

About the author…

Amy Vant is a doctor of physical therapy and clinical director for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in the United States. She has experience utilizing and implementing many forms of medical documentation through various healthcare practice venues. Amy enjoys writing about healthcare administration strategies, including electronic health record systems.

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Amy Vant

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