Grants target transition from hospital to home

The Center for Technology and Aging has awarded a total of $500,000 to California, Indiana, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington to help each state evaluate the benefits of technologies, such as personal health records and EHRs, for improving patients' transitions from hospitals to their homes or other settings.

The Technologies for Improving Post-Acute Care Transitions, Tech4Impact, will be administered through each state's Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).

The grants were made in collaboration with the Administration on Aging (AoA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiative that helps older Americans and persons with disabilities manage their long-term care support services.

According to Medicare data, the United States has an 18 percent rate of hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge and as many as 76 percent of these are preventable. It is estimated that as much as $25 billion could be saved each year if these unnecessary readmissions were avoided.

[See also: CMS adds mortality, readmission data to its online hospital rating site.]

In remarks Feb. 15 in Baltimore, Md, at the 2011 AoA and CMS grantee national meeting, Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said, "I want to thank the Center for sponsoring this innovative grant program that encourages ADRCs to expand the use of technologies that support their existing care transitions initiatives. I'm certain this public-private partnership will serve as a national model and will have a ripple effect across the nation for those seeking better transitional care solutions for their patients."

"Better management of transitional care can dramatically improve an individual's quality of life, as well as avoid billions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare expenses," said David Lindeman, executive director of the Center for Technology and Aging. "It is a privilege to be a part of a national effort that encourages broader use of exciting, but underused technologies that enable clinicians and other caregivers to keep patients from being readmitted to hospitals unnecessarily."

States will use the Tech4Impact funds to further expand technology use in ADRCs that are already implementing transitional care interventions. Two states are expanding use of technologies that enhance care transitions program evaluation and planning and three states are expanding use of technologies that better empower consumers in the care transitions process.

[See also: Remote patient monitoring improves outcomes for chronically ill, study shows.]

The projects: