3 Ways Absolut Care of Endicott Uses HealthlinkNY to Reduce Readmissions
Reducing the number of preventable hospital readmissions within 30 days is one of the biggest goals in healthcare quality. It’s also one of the hardest to reach.
So, it’s quite an achievement that Absolut Care of Endicott had zero readmissions in the first quarter of 2018. And according to the 160-bed rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility, HealthlinkNY deserves a lot of the credit.
“HealthlinkNY is such a key part of us staying on top of everything,” explains Donna Grover, Medical Records Director. “We can access things so fast, and catch things so fast, we had zero readmissions, which is almost unheard of.”
Grover says that she and her colleague Amanda Curtis, who works at the facility five days a week as a nurse practitioner with UnitedHealthcare, continually use HealthlinkNY to protect residents from preventable hospital readmissions. Here’s their advice on how to do it.
1. Make sure the patient is ready to be discharged.
Find out if the hospital has completed all tests before a patient is discharged. In one case, Curtis looked up a patient’s record and saw one test was missing. She contacted the hospital, and the test was immediately done. The results were fine, and the patient was discharged as planned. If that had not been the case, the resident would have remained in the hospital until he was truly ready to come home.
2. Arrange follow-up care.
When hospitals request follow-up visits to a specialist after discharge, Grover can use HealthlinkNY to find out which specialist had seen the resident in the hospital. “If the doctor did the consult in the hospital, that’s who the resident should follow up with because residents are more comfortable seeing doctors they know,” she says. If the follow-up exam involves lab work or diagnostic imaging, Grover can find the results in HealthlinkNY and compare to earlier test results.
3. Look for trends.
After a resident returns from the hospital, Absolut Care will regularly test the resident’s blood and conduct urine, stool, and wound cultures as necessary. Grover says she can find the results in HealthlinkNY even before the reports arrive at Absolut Care. She notes that laboratories will call the facility only if the results are alarming, but HealthlinkNY allows Grover to spot changes over time. “A white blood count may be trending slowly up, from 7,000 to 8,000 to 9,000,” she says. “Nine thousand is not critical, but it’s telling you that something is going on there and it needs attention.”
Grover adds that with the flu season upon us, she depends on HealthlinkNY to see if the hospital gave patients a flu and/or pneumonia shot. “HealthlinkNY is an awesome resource to find out if patients received flu shots or Pneumovax® in the hospital,” Grover says. “I see what they gave them, when they gave it to them, and the lot number, which I enter into our system so there is no duplication.”
Grover explains that she’s on HealthlinkNY every day. “I have a list a mile long of what I use it for,” she says.