Expert shares tips on pulling LTPAC data into a population health program

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Many long-term and post-acute care providers have become aware of the vastness of their data during the last five years, according to Steven Littlehale, chief clinical officer at PointRight.

Perhaps because they were not eligible for federal EHR incentives through the meaningful use program, Littlehale said that most have been slower to adopt IT, and thus their accomplishments so far are still mainly about organizing and understanding their data, rather than running analytics against it to determine business and clinical strategies.

“LTPAC providers are using evidence-based care protocols but few have integrated real-time, resident-specific information into their care,” Littlehale said.

Whereas LTPAC facilities tend to lag behind their acute care peers when it comes to digital infrastructure and capabilities, Littlehale said, “they are well ahead of the curve in terms of standardized assessment and use of National Quality Forum endorsed outcome measures.”

He pointed to skilled nursing facilities having used Minimum Data Set for more than 20 years, as one example that enables LTPAC facilities to create data-driven care and transition documents that other SNFs and Home Health Agencies can exchange, and they can share measures with payers and other partners.

The current scenario presents an opportunity for LTPAC and hospital executives looking to tap into LTPAC data for population health management programs.

Littlehale outlined the four components of a data-driven strategy for managing a post-acute network: “100 percent transparency of a broad set of agreed upon measures that are endorsed by an authorized body and able to be used to monitor and improve quality.”

He also shared four steps to integrating LTPAC data into a population health program.

First, use both claims-based and clinical-based measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum, as neither is on its own will suffice in a population health program.

Second, include more data than outcome measures related to the LTPAC stay, including patient data that extends to the home. The third step, in fact, is to identity the data and measures that reflect processes as well as outcomes. Littlehale pointed to the rate of RN staffing, which correlates to readmission rates as one example.

The final step is to employ risk adjustment with your population health metrics.  

“This is not to explain away a negative occurrence, but rather illuminate a care management path that otherwise might be obscured,” Littlehale said. “In LTPAC, ‘proper’ risk adjustment takes into consideration the medical and functional characteristics which impact the health of various groups — such as dementia, incontinence and depression.”

Whereas LTPAC facilities tend to lag behind their acute care peers when it comes to digital infrastructure and capabilities, Littlehale said, “they are well ahead of the curve in terms of standardized assessment and use of National Quality Forum endorsed outcome measures.”

He pointed to skilled nursing facilities having used Minimum Data Set for over 20 years, as one example that enables LTPAC

“This means LTPAC has the ability to create data-driven care plans and care transition documents that are understood from one SNF to another and one home health agency to another. They can also share the derived outcome measures upstream with referring partners and payers.”

Littlehale will discuss LTPAC and population health in the HIMSS17 session, “Winning at care coordination using data-driven partnerships,” which is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at 10:00-11:00 a.m. in room 331A. 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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