Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) is a leader in Post-Acute Care (PAC) benchmarking and analytics, so we took great interest in the report on Difficult Decisions About Post-Acute Care from the United Hospital Fund. The report was well documented and described the overly complex process patients and their families go through to navigate PAC options such as skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and home health agencies (HHA) after a hospital stay for major surgery or serious illness.
Often, patients and their families are faced with making important decisions about post-acute care within a very short period of time after hospital admission. The stakes of choosing wisely are high, patients who receive care from lower-quality post-acute care providers have higher rates of rehospitalizations and worse outcomes, contributing to rising costs. The report highlighted the large variation of PAC quality outcomes among competing entities, yet patients and families are often unaware of this disparity.
The report found that although patients and family caregivers often ask discharge planning staff for help, they do not commonly receive the guidance they seek. Some discharge planners share HHA and SNF lists, but they rarely contain comparative quality data. This is partly due to a lack of knowledge and support for careful assessment of their post hospital provider options.
Patients and families often resort to internet research and are referred to CMS “Compare” sites. The information available on compare sites is a start but falls short in identifying the most beneficial care for a specific patient, allowing easy comparison of quality info in one place, and providing up-to-date quality of providers.
It is just for these reasons why SHP developed CareStat®, a reporting tool that provides real-time quality data to hospitals and ACOs to help identify the home health (and soon SNF) providers with the best quality.
up-to-date quality of providers."
With CareStat, hospital discharge planners can now have current PAC quality data at their fingertips, in an easily comparable format, to share with families in order to best place the patient in the right setting at the right time. CareStat goes further in providing patient-specific data, allowing a close collaboration between acute and post-acute care providers.
In the SHP CareStat Scorecard Overview, a roll-up composite of home health quality outcomes, 30-day re-hospitalizations, process measures and patient experience scores help compare an overall rating to make it easier to identify top performing home health agencies. Drill down reporting by agency and specific patients attributed to the hospital or ACO presents additional insights including Medicare average costs, visit utilization, and timelines of admission.
This real-time patient reporting and agency benchmarking translates to better care coordination between acute and post-acute providers, something the report indicated was important in patient and caregiver satisfaction.
This Difficult Decisions report clearly identified the concerns of providers and patient/families alike in managing hospital discharges to PAC providers. Connecting real-time data with easy-to-use reporting tools will help alleviate some of the complexity of discharge planning, leading to more rational and efficient decision making. Real-time quality data is the missing ingredient that hospitals need to better manage and coordinate care outside of their walls and improve outcomes. To learn more about the solutions we offer for PAC quality and care transitions, visit our CareStat product page.