PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE: IDENTIFYING ORGANIZATIONAL AND SPECIALTY STRATEGIES

April 8, 2020

PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY RESPONSE: IDENTIFYING ORGANIZATIONAL AND SPECIALTY STRATEGIES

With the growing number of COVID-19 cases arise across the nation, analytics can prove to be a vital element in helping to track the pandemic.

By leveraging data, we can monitor the COVID-19 virus using Early Detection and Rapid Response Outreach programs.  These programs operate to:

  1. Decrease costs while still generating revenue 
  2. Oversee and manage patient flow
  3. Track and manage hospital resources

Data analytics also allow us to identify potential at-risk patients and target demographics. According to the CDC, at-risk patients include:

  1. Older adults, particularly those over 65
  2. People with asthma or other chronic lung diseases
  3. Groups who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as people who are diabetic or immunocompromised
  4. People with HIV

Effective as March 1st, 2020, the CMS has created guidelines for health systems to use Telehealth solutions to assist, track and monitor these at-risk patients and receive reimbursement later. These services typically provided in-person are allowed to use Telehealth –many are still using codes that describe “face to face” services. This helps health systems in various ways. First, by using Telehealth solutions, providers are able to quickly and efficiently provide care. Second, it helps to expand care to new services which helps the population respond better to the virus. Lastly, it helps generate revenue.

An Emergency Response Plan starts by identifying the correct patient populations for specific services to be offered to. To meet the immediate needs, Data warehouses and marts can also be established rapidly. Utilizing an agile approach and integrations tools – such as FHIR – databases can be set up in days/weeks rather than months.

Call center staff can leverage patient data to identify patients who need medication refills but are in the at-risk populations, allowing for medication to be delivered to homes.

Different services lines or specialties can respond to the pandemic in different ways.   Mental and Behavioral Health can reach out to patients to schedule their (now) virtual Telehealth session, or the call center can identify patients that weren’t using the service before.

Diabetes is one of the underlining conditions that increase a patient’s risk for the virus. CMS 1744 allows the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) to extend allowing beneficiaries to obtain MDPP services more than once per lifetime. This provides patients with virtual educational sessions.  It’s also important for the call center to look for diabetes patients who aren’t performing well and see if they need medication, would like to schedule a virtual visit with their endocrinologists (or psychiatrist) and/or offer them additional virtual educational sessions.  

Every hospital needs to make changes rapidly across the organization, such as expanding beds, increase supplies, setup new triage workflows, etc.  However, each specialty should have a strategy to continue to provide patient care while maintaining revenue and decreasing the impact of COVID-19. 

Excite Health Partners can help. We can help health organizations identify proper COVID-19 pandemic preparation and address additional operational support needed to help patient populations during emergencies. For more information on implementing an Emergency Response Plan, check out our webinar on Emergency Response Management Planning.

 

 

Todd Klein, CIO, VP of EHR Services & Digital Solutions