As consumer demands continue to fuel innovation, the healthcare industry must evolve to meet individuals on their terms, says John Derr, one of the founders of the LTPAC Health IT Collaborative. That includes keeping track, electronically, of all patient information, not just data gathered during episodic visits.
Derr, a consultant and former senior vice president and CIO/CTO for Golden Living Centers, spoke Monday at the Long Term & Post Acute Care Health IT Summit in Washington, D.C. In some ways, he said, long-term and post-acute care providers are in a better position than other organizations to meet the criteria for developing such person-centric, e-longitudinal care plans.
“Where does this start? Maybe one day in 50 years, it will start at birth, but right now, there are only a few places where it can be started and really generated so the person can take control,” Derr said. “It’s really the nursing homes and the home care agencies and long-term acute care centers, because they see somebody long enough to get the complete profile on a person, what’s ailing them, not just coming out of the hospital, but the total person.”
Person-Centric Care Blurs the Lines Between Providers and Payers
Still, Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, an advocacy group focused on education, advocacy and applied research in the field of aging, said that the LTPAC industry can no longer live just in its own lane, as value-based care requires cooperation by all stakeholders to ensure the health of seniors. Providers, payers, vendors and government entities must work together and be “laser-focused” on keeping people well and functionally able for longer, she said.
“The lines are blurring,” Sloan said. “Perhaps the most essential factor in this shifting landscape is the role of the consumer — the resident, patient, client or caregiver. Their needs, their expectations, experiences and preferences must be top of mind as we consider solutions that will drive us closer to an integrated service delivery system. At the end of the day, no matter what hat you are wearing, we should all put the needs and interests of older adults first.”
Sloan called technology such as interoperable electronic health records and wearables the connective tissue that will hold everything together on the journey toward more person-centric care.
“It’s absolutely essential,” she said. “As we advocate for a more sensible system of paying for long-term services and supports in this country, relieving family pocketbooks and stemming the strain on Medicaid, technology has a critical role to play.”
CIOs Need to Look Beyond IT to the Big Picture
The space occupied by aging services technologies has evolved significantly over the past 14 years, Sloan said. Likewise, Derr said, the role of CIOs has also shifted to a professional focused not just on IT, but on overall strategy; clinical professionals and CIOs must work in harmony together.
The CIO “cannot be somebody who just stands back and says, ‘I’m going to do bits and bytes,’” Derr said.
He added that chronic care is the sweet spot for shifting out of an episodic frame of mind and into more holistic and strategic care.
“We’ve got to get these people down from … up to 22 meds … to a level that treats what their problems are and not the side effects of those problems,” he said.