Individuals served by LTPAC providers often have chronic illnesses and disabilities resulting in physical and cognitive functional limitations. They interact routinely with multiple providers. The ability to communicate functional status between providers and caregivers is crucial to ongoing care planning and treatment. This study calls out an important gap that could be addressed by the industry.
Currently there is not a uniform definition, assessment method or scale for functional status to be communicated consistently across care settings. This creates challenges for representing functional status in a standardized vocabulary to support continuity of care, information exchange and re-use. Functional status information is important to assessing an individual's level of functioning and providing appropriate and needed health and supportive services. Functional status impacts the individual's quality of life, wellness, and ability to care for self, and is often a factor in public and private payment methodologies as well as in quality management and clinical outcome measurement.
Work is needed to enable the inclusion of functional status content to support the meaningful use of EHRs across the health care continuum. Specification of the HIT content and messaging standards related to functional status will enable the exchange of critical information to support quality and continuity of care.
Appendix I: Recommendations for Functional Status provides more specific suggestions for addressing the standards related to functional status.
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