Patient in the Hospital? There’s an Alert for That!

November 16th, 2016 - With HealthlinkNY’s new provider alerts, physicians and care managers can proactively manage patient care in and out of the hospital.

Although physicians are increasingly called upon to manage the health of patients, sometimes they can be the last to know when their patients are admitted or discharged from hospitals or emergency departments. That’s unfortunate, because providers and hospitals miss opportunities to improve patient care, avoid preventable hospitalizations, and reduce healthcare costs.

Now HealthlinkNY offers nearly instant alerts to participating providers when patients are hospitalized or discharged. All you have to do is tell HealthlinkNY which patients to monitor, and we will activate the electronic alert notification feature for those patients. The alert can be sent via secure direct mail or displayed directly in the provider’s EHR system. Next-day reports also are available.

Christina Galanis, president and CEO of HealthlinkNY, points out that HealthlinkNY Alerts call provider attention to information they need to see immediately. “American Express alerts me every time my card is charged, so I can see if something is amiss,” she says. “Our alert technology is more sophisticated, but the purpose is the same: keep providers informed so they can proactively manage their patients’ health.”

Tackling the Root Causes of Preventable Readmissions

Right now, most health systems don’t have protocols in place to immediately notify the people who ought to know their patients have been hospitalized or discharged—people like primary care providers, care managers, and home care agencies. Alerts fill in the gap by facilitating the flow of information from inpatient to outpatient settings.

That’s important, especially in light of a Journal of the American Medical Association study published in April 2016, which looked at 1000 readmissions and found more than one quarter could probably have been avoided. Researchers identified root causes for hospital patient rebounds, including many that real-time provider alerts might have prevented, such as:

  • Gaps in care during a patient’s initial inpatient stay;
  • A premature discharge from the hospital;
  • Failure to relay important information to outpatient healthcare professionals;
  • Lack of discussion about care goals among patients with serious illnesses;
  • Patient lack of awareness about whom to contact after discharge.
“Alerts can make a real difference. If PCPs know their patients are in the hospital, they can work with the hospital team to make sure patients get the care they need and are not sent home before they are ready,” explains Galanis. “When patients are discharged, PCPs can jump on scheduling the necessary follow-up care.”

PCPs are just one type of provider organization that can benefit from alerts, Galanis adds. “Home care agencies can be alerted when patients are hospitalized, so they can adjust staff schedules, and begin to develop discharge plans. Medicaid Health Home or DSRIP PPS care managers can know their patients have been discharged, so they can support patients and families during the care transition, making sure they understand their discharge instructions and plan appropriate care.”

HealthlinkNY is now offering weekly webinars to educate providers about activating their HealthlinkNY Alerts. To register, visit our training webinars page and scroll to the bottom to click on “Alerts and Results Routing.” To set up alerts, email the HealthlinkNY Deployment Team at pr@healthlinkny.com or call 844-840-0050.