Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum, UnitedHealthcare cut ER visits with real-time data
Louisiana ranks fourth in the U.S. for the use of hospital emergency room care, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s why last year the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum launched an emergency department (ED) registry through its statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE), in an effort to improve those odds.
Ann Kay Logarbo, MD, chief medical officer for United Healthcare (UHC) Community Plan of Louisiana, said the registry, called the Louisiana Emergency Department Health Information Exchange (LaEDIE), is already improving care for Medicaid patients covered by United Healthcare — it’s keeping them out of the emergency room.
The program is also improving pediatric care for Medicaid patients and has increased the percentage of follow-up calls primary care physicians make after initiating an ADHD medication and driven in-person follow-up care 33 percent higher than it was. For diabetic patients, the program yielded a 10 percent spike in hemoglobin testing.
Logarbo attributes this success to real-time data provided by the registry.
“Without the data, we were clueless. We had to rely on claims data. It was like shooting in the dark,” she said. “Data-sharing is the key to improving quality of care, decreasing emergency department use and avoiding admissions.”
Cindy Munn, CEO of the Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum, said the real-time data can be integrated into providers’ existing systems.
“We are the conduit between the ER and the managed care organization,” she said. The managed care organizations are updated on the status of patients either in real-time, or in a 24-hour period, that their patients have been in the emergency room. This allows the providers and care plans to make calls and assess how they can help the patient.
Munn’s advice to organizations that wish to tackle this same issue is to first critically and regularly assess the health IT landscape.
“Keeping an organization strategically positioned is key because it enables you to more easily leverage HIE-related infrastructure across multiple initiatives and with multiple stakeholder groups,” Munn said.
Munn and Lagarbo will be sharing their experience, along with lessons learned and tips on how providers, payers, patients and employers can reduce costs and improve outcomes at HIMSS17. Their session, “Emergency Room to Living Room: Guiding Patients to Care,” is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.- 11:30AM EST in room 311E.
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.