Imagine the letdown patients who have been released to a post-acute care facility experience when they must unexpectedly return to the hospital.

Unplanned transfers from inpatient rehabilitation facilities to acute-care settings are not only inconvenient for patients, but also may be costly to post-acute care organizations, especially if they prompt a readmissions penalty from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Encompass Health, one of the largest providers of post-acute healthcare services in the U.S., partnered with its electronic health records supplier Cerner Corporation, a global health platform and innovation company, to identify patients who are at risk of an unplanned acute-care transfer. The two entities then worked to develop a tool that will quickly alert clinicians. With an early warning, clinicians can provide timely intervention and reduce the likelihood of an unplanned transfer. The results have been promising: Encompass Health reported its lowest acute-care transfer rate in a decade in March 2018, while simultaneously increasing its discharge to community rate – meaning fewer patients were being sent back to acute-care facilities and more patients were returning to their homes.

Nov. 5, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) honored Rusty Yeager, senior vice president and CIO at Encompass Health, and Cerner with the 2019 CHIME Collaboration Award for their partnership. The award is given annually by CHIME to recognize a collaborative effort between a CIO who is a CHIME member and a CHIME Foundation firm who together offer a benefit to the healthcare IT community.

“Rusty and the team at Cerner have shown that we can achieve great outcomes when providers and their industry partners work together,” said CHIME Foundation Board Chair Cletis Earle, senior vice president and CIO at Kaleida Health. “They leveraged their strong relationship to build a predictive tool that will impact patient care for years to come.”

“The model was created using the knowledge, skills and capabilities utilized by both organizations to not only provide enhanced care and better outcomes for patients but also to do so in a manner that achieves business success for Encompass Health,” Yeager said.

Inspired by the success of this project, Encompass Health and Cerner launched the Post-Acute Care Innovation Center to develop clinical decision support tools to enhance the post-acute care continuum. Their goal is to design innovations to more effectively and efficiently manage patients across multiple care settings.

“Working alongside Encompass Health in developing a tool to reduce acute care transfers directly aligns with our company commitment to imagine, design and implement intelligent health networks. We are proud to be recognized by CHIME for innovation and collaboration in this space,” said Adam Laskey, vice president, Long Term and Post-Acute Care, Cerner.

“We are eager to expand upon this work through the Post-Acute Innovation Center, helping drive ideas that enhance and improve healthcare outcomes and experiences for all.”

The award was presented today during the 2019 CHIME Fall CIO Forum in Phoenix.

Sign Up