Brightree has announced plans for its home health and hospice customers to access more than 50,000 provider locations and health systems nationwide via the CommonWell Health Alliance, a nonprofit national trade association of health IT companies, and through CommonWell to Carequality, a national, consensus-built common interoperability framework.
Traditionally, home health and hospice agencies obtained critical patient health data manually from each of a patient’s other care providers. This required significant resources and often resulted in large gaps in patients’ records, hindering the speed and quality of care patients received. Through CommonWell, Brightree home health and hospice customers will be able to quickly and easily retrieve documents and data from a patient’s previous hospital and physician visits within their EHR solution. They can also share patient updates with physicians and other providers in the CommonWell network who serve that patient. This seamless information exchange will help home health and hospice agencies improve their efficiency, as well as patients’ care coordination and quality of care.
“What this amounts to is a smoother journey for patients moving from care setting to care setting, which is traditionally difficult to navigate,” said Nick Knowlton, Brightree vice president of business development and CommonWell board vice chair. “Our customers can now help provide a better experience more efficiently, which can lead to improved outcomes. By including this service in Brightree’s EHR offering, we are helping create a better future for our providers and patients.”
“Our mission at CommonWell is to break down longtime technological and process barriers so individuals and caregivers can access important health data efficiently, affordably and securely,” said Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell Health Alliance. “We’re thrilled to be welcoming a new wave of home health and hospice providers into the network, and commend Brightree for its leadership in this space.”
In a forthcoming Brightree survey, 60 percent of referring providers say they would select a post-acute care delivery partner based on their ability to interoperate with the referral source.
“Fluid data exchange is so critical to successful patient management across a system of care, and Brightree is leading in this space,” said Denise Schrader, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, vice president of integrated services at Mosaic Life Care in Saint Joseph, Mo., a Brightree customer.
Most likely, in one of the few lucid moments you have in your hectic, even chaotic schedule you contemplate healthcare’s greatest problems, its most pressing questions in need of solving, obstacles and the most important hurdles that must be overcome. And how solving these problems might alleviate many of your woes. That’s likely an overstatement. The problems are many, some of the obstacles overwhelming.
There are opportunities, of course. But opportunities often come from problems that must be solved. And, as the saying goes: For everyone you ask, you’re likely to receive a different answer. What must first be addressed? In this series (see part 2 and part 3), we ask. We also examine some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, according to some of the sector’s most knowledgeable voices.
So, without further delay, the following are some of the problems in need of solutions. Or, in other words, some of healthcare’s greatest opportunities — healthcare’s most pressing questions, problems, hurdles, obstacles, things to overcome? How can they be best addressed?
Nick Knowlton, VP of strategic initiatives, Brightree
Throughout the healthcare ecosystem, patient-centric interoperability has historically been a huge challenge, specifically throughout post-acute care. This problem results in poor outcomes, unnecessary hospital re-admits, patients not getting the treatment they deserve, excessive cost burden and poor clinician satisfaction. This challenge can be solved through creating better standards, adapting existing interoperability approaches to meet the needs of post-acute care, implementing more scalable interoperable technologies, and involvement with national organizations, such as CommonWell Health Alliance and DirectTrust, amongst others.
Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing hurdles in the healthcare industry. The life and death nature of healthcare and the shift to electronic health records (EHR) creates an environment where hackers that successfully deploy ransomware and other cyberattacks can extort large sums of money from healthcare entities and steal highly sensitive data. To address this challenge, healthcare entities need to continue to increase their investment in cybersecurity and focus on improving their overall security posture by implementing tools and processes that will monitor all devices and assess their compliance with security policies; stop phishing attacks; keep all servers patched and current; ensure third party vendors comply with policies; and train employees on proper security hygiene.
Cyberattacks continue to expose the security vulnerabilities of healthcare institutions, keeping many industry stakeholders awake at night. This is why every organization handling protected health information (PHI) needs to build security frameworks and risk sharing into their infrastructure by implementing risk-mitigation strategies, preparedness planning, as well as meet industry standards for adhering to HIPAA requirements. Hospitals and healthcare systems must keep their focus on strategies and tactics that ensure business continuity in the event of an attack as it’s clearly not a matter of if a breach can happen but when.
The core problem for healthcare isn’t science, technology or caregiving intervention. It’s making sure that the systems of delivery and communications are thought through and actually respond to the way patients need and expect healthcare to be delivered. This means it doesn’t matter how advanced and perfected your health system may be — unless it conforms to culture — the way people think and behave — it will do nothing but confuse and frustrate patient needs, which are psychological and social, as well as physical and mental.