ORLANDO, FL – HealthGrid, a provider of solutions that vastly improve the communication of patient data throughout the care continuum, today announced it has completed the rollout of a landmark mobile patient data exchange solution with partners VITAS Healthcare and Nicklaus Children's Hospital (formerly Miami Children's Hospital). As the first live, two-way system of its kind, the solution has the potential to transform healthcare collaboration by virtually eliminating delays, errors and disruptions between upstream and downstream healthcare providers.
The HealthGrid/VITAS/NCH solution is mobile-based, meaning clinicians can exchange critical care data securely via any smartphone or tablet. The ONC-certified system, incorporating HealthCare's CareNotify and CareNarrative products, satisfies many key requirements of the CMS Meaningful Use Phase 2 (MU2).
VITAS reports that the electronic solution has a zero transcription error rate; it has also shortened call times dealing with referrals from an average of 7 minutes to just 1.25 minutes—a reduction of more than 82%. VITAS also states the amount of relevant data for each patient has increased.
"When you look at all the initiatives—ACA, HITECH and others—to make interoperability work, this initiative shows that secure, practical, two-way interoperability between partners is within our grasp," said Patrick Hale, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of VITAS Healthcare, the nation's largest provider of end-of-life care. "Best of all, our install, which took only 10 hours over a seven-day period, demonstrates that we can make it happen without breaking the bank."
30% Reduction in Staff Time HealthGrid's mobile collaboration products facilitate the transfer of summary of care records and other discrete patient information between care providers electronically. CareNarrative provides a view of a patient's clinical state and allows providers to communicate in real time about patient care. CareNotify, the second HealthGrid product, sends patient schedules, medication lists, nutritional updates and other relevant educational content to patients and their families instantly, yet without extra work from attending clinicians.
VITAS states that HealthGrid's mobile collaboration platform has created major benefits that improve efficiency and overall quality of care, both for its own facilities as well as centers like Nicklaus Children's Hospital. VITAS, as integrated hospice and palliative services provider, operates 50 hospice programs in 16 states and the District of Columbia and employs nearly 300 care teams active across its system. It has nearly 14,000 lives under its care on any given day.
"By using automated interfaces like HealthGrid, our staffs are no longer forced to locate or track faxed information. Data is instantly associated with the patient and never lost," Hale reported. "Once we have a referral source connected via HealthGrid, we estimate a 30% reduction in time spent by nurses and call centers to locate patient information. This is an improvement that directly frees up nurses to be at patient bedsides where we want them to be."
"As all healthcare providers know, data risk is always a possibility during transitions in care," added Ed Martinez, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. "These risks can cause misunderstandings about patient treatments. The HealthGrid connection with VITAS ensures there are no disruptions in the speed or accuracy of information. Moreover, communications with clinicians, patients and families are made in a format they're used to seeing. This is comprehensive value that until now has been very elusive for all of us in modern healthcare."
MU2 Thresholds Exceeded
According to VITAS' CIO, certain requirements of Meaningful Use Phase 2 for electronic transmission of patient data can be met by the platform linking the two organizations' networks. "MU2 rules dictate that data for 10% of patients be electronically transmitted. This solution can be used to transmit data to all referral partners with little technical effort," Hale noted. "Our goal is to have all referrals come in electronically, from all our partners. As a critical care provider, we have to be able to trust the data we receive. This is a near-bulletproof process that allows us to make sure every patient is treated with the same level of care."
Both executives at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and VITAS agreed that implementation of the collaborative platform was far easier than most integration systems. "Our experience is that most integrations take on the order of two months," Hale said. "HealthGrid required just 10 hours of work over a seven-day period."
Because information is automatically updated in patient electronic medical records by HealthGrid, VITAS now uses just three people nationwide to handle data requests, resulting in staff savings of $390,000. "From acute care to hospice or home settings, we want all partners to be on a system like this," Hale said. "This is what fixes healthcare. Our holy grail is interoperability—there's not one of us in health IT who doesn't get that. Having meaningful data in real time, enabling care givers to intervene in order to meet patient demands, is transformational."
About Miami Children's Health System:
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital – formerly Miami Children's Hospital–is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with more than 650 attending physicians and over 130 pediatric sub-specialists. The 289-bed nonprofit hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine and routinely has many programs ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report. The organization has grown and evolved into the Miami Children's Health System (MCHS) which includes Miami Children's Health Foundation, the organization's 501c3 fundraising arm; a network of eight nonprofit outpatient centers situated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties; Pediatric Specialty Group, Inc., a nonprofit physician practice subsidiary; a management services organization, and an ambulatory surgery center (opening soon), as well as an e-commerce line of children's wellness and safety products that support the hospital's mission of serving the region's pediatric population. MCHS is the region's only healthcare system exclusively for children.