Opportunities for Engaging Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Providers in Health Information Exchange Activities: Exchanging Interoperable Patient Assessment Information. Overview Of Project: Engaging Post-acute And Long-term Care Providers In Health Information Exchange Activities

12/01/2011

National policy promotes the use of health information technology (HIT) to advance health care delivery, payment and outcomes. Long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers are a vital part of the health care system, but have not been included to date in federal incentives to promote adoption of HIT and electronic exchange of health information.

Nationally, there are approximately:

  • 16,000 nursing homes providing services to over 2 million individuals on an annual basis; and
  • 9,000 home health agencies providing services to over 3 million individuals on an annual basis.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires Medicare and/or Medicaid participating providers to complete and electronically submit on a routine schedule:

  • The Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 assessment instrument for each resident of a nursing home participating in Medicare and/or Medicaid; and
  • The Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) for each Medicare or Medicaid client of a home health agency over the age of 18 receiving skilled services.

The MDS and OASIS offer feasible entrance points for nursing home and home health agency providers to participate in health information exchange activities and develop awareness of the need for full interoperability. Two benefits of this approach are that it uses existing capabilities and would engage the majority of LTPAC providers. Once engaged, LTPAC stakeholders can then focus on building and using the technical infrastructure to support more sophisticated types of information exchange and sharing.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has contracted with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation seeking to advance the interoperable use of HIT and electronic health records by LTPAC providers by leveraging federal requirements for the electronic submission of patient assessment instruments. The project required the identification and application of HIT standards to the MDS and OASIS instruments and identifying issues to consider to supportthe wide spread use of interoperable patient assessment instruments and supported the re-use and exchange of standardized assessment content in patient assessment summary documents. This study has developed several tools, to facilitate the application, widespread, and dissemination of content standards related to the MDS or OASIS assessment instrument.

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