The Future for Mobile Integrated Healthcare
February 9, 2017Mobile Integrated Healthcare is rapidly becoming the known solution for many of the medical ills of our society – overburdened emergency rooms, abused 911 systems, and poor population health management – among other challenges. Over the past few years, we have increasingly looked to the advanced Emergency Responder agencies across the nation and their vendor partners to bring new ideas and technology to address these ills. Perhaps the most discussed topic in recent years has been Mobile Integrated Health (MIH). So, where are we today?
Matt Zavadsky, Chief Strategic Integration Officer at MedStar Mobile Health, Fort Worth, identifies three primary concerns that he calls the “Achilles Heel” of MIH:
- Billing that does not match the needs of managed care and associations with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO);
- The ability to positively identify a patient at the scene of care (PPI), and;
- Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) tools that do not have the capability of capturing the complete list of medical information fields needed for a smooth transition from ambulance to ER.
This “Achilles Heel” is not just the issue of MIH organizations. Many of these MIH organizations are also associated with Emergency Medical Services agencies who respond to 911 calls, as well as managed transportation of patients. Billing, PPI and the need for expanded medical information are also issues facing these EMS agencies.
Understanding these complex issues requires understanding the history of events that have led us to where we find ourselves today. Accountable care organizations are looking to better manage their patients’ health. In order to do this, many are contracting with MIH organizations to assist with in-home health monitoring and maintenance. These contracts are requiring MIH organizations to take on the responsibility for care of specific segments of the population and to manage their costs through capitation arrangements with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). The challenge here is that billing within these organizations is not done on a per incident basis, as with EMS, and pre-arranged transport of patients managed by ACOs is billed differently than an emergency response, creating other billing issues.
- Positive Patient Identification (PPI) is also needed with any healthcare-related incident, be it an emergency, or in the simple healthcare discussion with a patient. In the event of an emergency, better care may be given when a patient’s medical history in known, which may only be available if the patient is positively identified. In addition, when a clinician is meeting with a patient in a home, it is necessary to have the correct patient files and history to provide the necessary care.
- Medical data and the need to better manage patient data should be nothing short of that information included with the Electronic Medical Record products in the hospitals. ePCR vendors have created many new products that include much of the necessary data, but more is needed based on those standards of hospitals and healthcare in general to complete the record of the continuum of care of a patient.
Often, we need to step back and look at the larger picture through the eyes of another. Each element of the “Achilles Heel” is managed well in other industries. The needs of MIH, in conjunction with that of the associated agencies, do not create a new paradigm, but more simply a new combination of skills and products. Better management of healthcare is within reach.
Jerry Malone, Senior Consultant for Cloverleaf Integration, Infor Public Sector
Learn More: MedStar Mobile Healthcare looks to assess and treat patients faster; Empowering EMS through robust health information sharing; NextGate Registries for Healthcare
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