Published on August 9, 2018
Improving daily staff scheduling through Contexture Alerts? While it’s not the primary benefit, Jason Smidt — Chief Information Officer for Arizona Home Care — says that improving staff scheduling is an unexpected benefit of the Arizona HIE service.
Arizona Home Care is the largest locally owned home health agency in the Valley, providing home health care for more than 550 acute home care cases throughout the Phoenix Valley and Maricopa County. Cases range from patients with chronic heart failure, patients with post-surgical wounds or patients who need home infusion and specialty pharmacy services. Each day, Arizona Home Care sends nurses and other professionals to the homes of its patient to provide services. Before they began receiving Alerts, it was common for a staff member to travel to a patient’s home only to find the patient not at home but at the hospital. With these Alerts, staff is saving time and human resources by obtaining this information before leaving for a home care visit. Now they can reschedule prior to visiting a patient who is not home.
While the Alerts assist with care coordination, Arizona Home Care typically begins by using the HIE when onboarding its new home health patients, and staff members are able to get more complete information on these patients through the HIE portal, according to Smidt. “Contexture seems to have the information through the HIE portal that was missing in the past,” he said.
Due to the type of patients that are accepted, Arizona Home Care is set up to receive Alerts on all of its patients. According to Smidt, there are two key ways that Arizona Home Care is taking advantage of the Arizona HIE Alerts. First, the Alerts assist in the transition of care for these acute care cases, and the Alerts allow them to coordinate more closely with discharge planners in the transition from hospital to home. Second, Arizona Home Care is beginning to work with a handful of hospitals to reduce readmissions by reaching out to the hospital emergency department (ED) when they know of a patient who has returned. We work with ED staff to let them know what is going on in the home, and this coordination can avoid an inpatient admission and help return a patient to home care. “Discharge planners are struggling every day to find the right resource,” Smidt said. “Through our connection with Contexture, discharge planners know that they can count on Arizona Home Care.”
Smidt says that there is still a lot more to learn about the best ways to use information from the Arizona HIE. “As a fairly new participant of Contexture, we are learning a lot every single day and are eager to being implementing new workflow processes using the HIE,” he said.