HIPAA compliant secure messaging solution, Practice Unite has helped LibertyHealth, Jersey City Medical Center saved nearly $2 million dollars after being deployed one year ago. The hospital has seen dramatic savings from the app with improved communications, workflows and physician adoption. The secure messaging solution was developed by a member of the Jersey City Medical Center medical staff, Dr. Stuart Hochron, a pulmonologist and 30-year practicing primary care physician.
CMS reimburses hospitals for observing patients using composite Ambulatory Payment classifications, a system that reimburses acute care facilities for outpatient services. Observation services are provided in conjunction with an ED visit, critical care, clinic visit, or a direct referral to observation. Observation status was created to control costs, increase efficiency, facilitate payment and address coinsurance issues. In order to qualify for payments, patients must be observed for at least 8 hours, no more than 48 hours, and stay only one midnight. Hospitals are financially incentivized to maximize the efficiency of observation stays. Hours matter. Hospitals are seeking
Like many hospitals, the 300-bed facility was seeking new ways to avoid standard delays in order to deliver results, patient data, and care team communications in real time. The Medical Center created a care unit specifically to manage their observation patients. The success or failure of this observation initiative depended on the ability of care teams to diagnose, treat, and either admit or discharge patients in less than 24 hours.
The Solution: Treat and Release Observation in Less Than 24 Hours
Using Practice Unite, observation physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses rapidly share key clinical information such as EKGs and troponin levels in the form of secure images, texts, and real-time laboratory feeds using their mobile devices. This approach quickly reduced communication delays caused by traditional forms of communication. Care teams were now able to coordinate rapid clinical responses that lead to efficient and effective hospital discharges.
After a year of using Practice Unite, LibertyHealth, Jersey City Medical Center believes that the app has saved the organization at least $2 million dollars. Specifics include:
- Impacting the Observation Unit: Physicians report that improved communications empowers them to discharge patients 20% faster. This translated into saving the hospital $720,000 a year.
- Reducing Communication Delays: Communications are responded to six time faster. Surgeons report that consult response times were reduced by from 2-4 hours to 15-30 minutes – just by implementing the mobile communication system that allows faster and immediate communication between physicians, nurses and staff.
- Emergency Department physicians report moving patients through the ED 30 minutes faster than without the system, reducing ED delays by 15%.
- Decreasing Referral Leakage: Savings of $120,000 per active physician user annually in referral leakage. This means that a patient who would otherwise be referred to a physician or service outside the area stays within the hospital network.
LibertyHealth, Jersey City Medical Center expects to achieve further gains in clinical productivity as Practice Unite is integrated with its electronic health record, scheduling and laboratory reporting systems.