Leveraging Technology for Better Patient Care

Greg Teamann, Celtic Healthcare

Greg Teamann

By Kathleen Ganster

In 2010, at almost $2.6 trillion, national health expenditures were 17.9% of gross domestic product.

By 2021, according to a recent article in HealthAffairs:  “National Healthcare Expenditure Projections,” that number is projected to be about $4.8 trillion and 19.6% of GDP.

With discussions of bundled payments for episodes of care being considered, penalties for rehospitalizations now being enforced, and incentives for quality through accountable care organizations, tools to collaborate towards accountable care, medical home and patient-centered models of care, along with care transition and care coordination, have become a key focus and driver at Celtic Healthcare.

“Healthcare is evolving into a value-based care environment,” said Greg Teamann, Vice President of Information Technology at Celtic Healthcare, “and we are positioning Celtic to be an important partner in this new care model.”

In an effort to integrate acute and post-acute care, as well as chronic disease management and end-of-life care with hospitals, physician groups and insurance companies –  who are all under increased economic and quality pressure to increase their level of integration – Celtic Healthcare is strategically positioning themselves as a leader in developing technology and innovative care delivery models as a solution to this crisis.

Some of Celtic’s recently developed strategies include utilizing EMR integrations, virtual care technology, and smart phone apps to improve communication and collaboration with all providers serving a patient to optimize utilization in an effort to provide better outcomes at reduced costs and ultimately, resulting in higher patient satisfaction.

“We hear from our customers that transitioning from an acute care setting to the home often poses a number of risks for rehospitalization,” said Teamann.

“Discharge instructions can be overwhelming for patients leaving the hospital setting and often are not fully understood,” Teamann continued.  “What is going on in the home may present its own unique set of risks that may require different types of interventions or education than what was given in the hospital to best manage.  At Celtic Healthcare, we see this as a huge opportunity to leverage technology in developing programs and models of care delivery.”

Celtic can collaborate with physician practices through direct EMR integration and communication in ways that best meet the physician’s needs.  They have found this method of technology and RN Care Coach and Coordination integration through their Virtual Care Model to be highly successful.  A brief one-minute entitled, “What is Virtual Care” on Celtic’s website, www.celtichealthcare.com/ succinctly explains the “traffic control model” of information exchange and delivery.

Algorithms have also been established which evaluate information collected upon patient admission.  These algorithms help identify patients who are at high risk for rehospitalization and enroll that population of patients onto a virtual care program or even transition them into a more appropriate level of care ranging from homecare and rehabilitation to chronic disease management to comfort care measures through palliative and hospice care.

“Placing patients on our virtual care program allows us to proactively monitor key indicators of patient condition using IVR and telehealth technologies,” he said.

Teamann continued, “Significant changes in these indicators can indicate a risk for rehospitalization allowing our care teams the opportunity to intervene.  We feel that prompt response to changes in condition can often be the difference between a patient being able to remain at home and being admitted to the hospital.”

Now that CMS must revise policies to ensure Medicare coverage for skilled maintenance services in home health are covered after the landmark Jimmo vs. Sebelius settlement was officially approved late January, 2012, homecare is even more of a critical team player in the full patient-centered accountable care model.

In addition to all of these innovative care delivery models being developed at Celtic Healthcare, they are also continuously looking at ways to make working with Celtic easier for their customers.  Celtic recently developed “an app for that” where physicians can quickly and easily contact Celtic Healthcare through a brief text or voice-enabled message with their patient referral smart phone app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/celtic-healthcare-patient/id564305883?mt=8 ).

“Our goal is to strategically deploy technology where it can help improve collaboration with our partners who are caring for the same patients.” said Teamann, “As the healthcare provider in the home, we feel innovating in this setting will play an important role in successful value-based care models.”

For information, visit www.celtichealthcare.com.

About The Western PA Healthcare News Team

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.