Actionable patient intelligence – The key to the hospital of the future?

The typical patient coming into the emergency department (ED) doesn't just have one problem.

He or she is likely to have multiple chronic conditions and several providers involved in their care. It's also likely that the emergency room physician on call has never previously seen this patient and doesn't have access to his or her complete medical record. As a result, there are gaps in clinical information that exacerbate the challenges of caring for these patients.

The risks posed by these gaps are often further exacerbated since repeat ED users, defined as any patient with two or more ED visits in six months, tend to be more chronically ill and frequently have comorbidities and higher two–year mortality rates. Repeat ED users, or "frequent flyers," have also been found to have fewer and shorter inpatient admissions while having the highest rates of 30–day readmissions.

Historically, it has been up to the patient or caregiver to coordinate care and ensure the physician has as much clinically relevant information as possible. For their part, physicians haven't had access to the right tools nor have they been asked to coordinate care for their patients. Neither circumstance is ideal, and more must be done by all to ensure that patients and physicians have the most complete, actionable information to make better decisions. Giving physicians and hospitals the capability to request and receive nationwide patient record information in real-time is critical to better care.

In our hospital of the future, providers, including physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses and others across the healthcare continuum are connected to the most up to date patient information regardless of geography or technology platform. When two healthcare organizations meaningfully coordinate care on behalf of a patient, they will know which patients they should be coordinating care for, which providers those patients see, what procedures must be in place to determine when, how and what patient information to communicate with each other and what tools, processes and technology to employ to transfer and effectively use that information.

Beyond the ability to send patient information from one provider to another, the ability for providers and hospitals to electronically request patient information from other providers is a key capability to truly unlock interoperability and facilitate care coordination.

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