Why Home Health Must Focus on Quality

Federal ratings of home health agencies posted last week revealed a significant discrepancy between patient experience ratings and quality measures. This means that while agencies might be performing well on domains related to patient satisfaction, such as the professionalism of their staff, they might not be actually improving patient outcomes or reducing hospital readmissions. These results reflect key challenges not just among home health agencies, but of all post-acute care (PAC) services.

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How CMS is Addressing the Issue:

While patients’ perspectives are certainly an important aspect of care, agencies must ensure that actual health outcomes and quality measures do not take a back seat to satisfaction. To encourage agencies to deliver high levels of both quality and satisfaction, CMS’ upcoming Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act will require home health agencies to standardize and report both patient assessment scores and quality and outcomes data. Those who fail to report by a set date will face reductions in reimbursement rates.

What is the IMPACT Act?

The IMPACT Act will address fundamental challenges associated with post-acute care. With standardized and interoperable assessment data, clinically relevant information will be more easily shared not only across PAC, but also between hospitals and PAC. This will enable the transfer of health information across the care continuum as well as more comprehensive discharge planning. Encouraging providers to work together is of growing importance as value-based payments replace fee-for-service.

In addition to the benefits of standardized data, public reporting will empower consumers to take greater control over their care. Patients and their caregivers will be able to evaluate and differentiate care settings based on satisfaction and quality, and choose the most appropriate setting of care.

How to Achieve Compliance:

With increased transparency of quality and patient assessment data, there is a greater need than ever for PAC providers to invest in patient engagement and care coordination solutions. The challenge will be to streamline and increase efficiency of organizational processes but still prioritize the needs and preferences of each patient. By implementing strategic solutions, however, home health agencies can successfully deliver on both fronts.

CipherHealth’s suite of patient engagement and care coordination solutions helps home health agencies meet the standards of the upcoming CMS legislation. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and personal touchpoints, our solutions effectively improve outcomes and increase patient satisfaction for organizations across the care continuum.

To see how CipherHealth can help your organization achieve higher levels of patient satisfaction and enhance the quality of care, contact us and download our IMPACT Act overview.

Download the Overview

CipherHealth empowers providers across the care continuum to deliver enhanced patient experiences and communications through a modular, comprehensive patient engagement technology platform.