HCHB Blog

How PDGM Implementation & COVID-19 Made Data Interoperability a Home Health Care Priority

The implementation of the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) was the biggest change to home health care reimbursements since 2000. PDGM forced home health agencies (HHAs) to modify their clinical and operational processes. That was always going to be difficult, but no agency anticipated having to implement PDGM at the same time regular operations were disrupted by a nationwide pandemic.

PDGM and the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the importance of seamless data transmission between providers, referral sources, and payers. Improved data interoperability can help your agency emerge stronger from this time of immense change. 

More Documentation Must Be Processed More Quickly Than Before

PDGM requires more documentation at the point of intake because patients and their cases must be categorized on a much more granular level. You need immediate access to the patient’s medical history in order to properly categorize care and protect your staff if there’s a potential for COVID-19 transmission.

During intake, you must collect diagnosis information at the time of referral. However, you also have to factor in patient history and previous treatments as well. The first 24 – 48 hours from the start of care (SOC) are crucial because the patient must be assessed and a plan of care (POC) documented as soon as possible. In addition, the change to 30-day payment periods effectively doubles some paperwork requirements.

Data Interoperability Streamlines the Referral Process

Referrers are not going to waste time with agencies that are a hassle to work with. They simply don’t have the time to send faxes, email, or spend precious time on the phone with you. Health care workers were already busy, but the COVID-19 emergency has increased workloads even more and made interoperability a priority for referrals. Scott Pattillo, Chief Strategy Officer at Homecare Homebase touched on the importance of interoperability in a recent Home Health Care News article:

When it comes to receiving referrals, in particular, many home health providers still rely on outdated processes such as fax machines and phone calls.

[…]

For home health providers that already face challenges when it comes to interoperability, the COVID-19 emergency is only exacerbating the issue. More than ever, patients are flowing in and out of hospitals, with hospitals looking to quickly discharge individuals back home whenever possible to alleviate capacity.

COVID-19 is only going to pour gasoline on the fire, as far as the distraction of the hospital IT groups

[…]

When you are talking about integration with those groups, they are extremely busy at the moment. I know a number of the CIOs from the hospital systems are on multiple calls every day just dealing with COVID-19-specific challenges.”

If your software doesn’t help you streamline operations and communicate with your health care partners, you need a new system — one that emphasizes interoperability. Imagine spending thousands (or more) on a new software system, only to discover that it can’t talk” to the local hospitals or physicians’ offices!

Homecare Homebase Software Works Well with Others

We offer an enterprise solution that seamlessly connects to the largest healthcare information systems through a variety of technologies. Communicate with your referral partners with direct secure messaging, XML and other technologies that ensure HIPPA-compliant data transfers. Our system eliminates redundancies and increases your agency’s speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Because we can share CCDs and patient data from one facility to another, we can help position your agency as the easy, logical choice for follow-up care. Data interoperability affects how your agency does business — and even whether your agency stays in business.