Under a theme of “Healthcare Champions,” HIMSS 2019 called for a renewed focus on what matters most in healthcare: the patient. Prepared Health’s CEO Ashish Shah and COO Tim Coulter attended HIMSS and shared their take on the importance of family caregivers and how to stay connected with patients as care moves outside of the hospital and into the home and community.

Tim: I was interested to hear from John Moore at Chilmark Research, who talked about future trends in healthcare including the importance of connecting hospital systems with their post-acute network of providers. Overall, there was more focus on connecting the care continuum and communicating with patients and care teams more effectively. He also identified the need for a new role–a director of post-acute care–who would be responsible for identifying and partnering with post-acute care providers, family caregivers, and companies who are addressing the social determinants of health.

Ashish: We know that care is moving outside of the hospital and into the home and community. Everyone we met at HIMSS wanted to understand how to organize care this way because, when you do, it’s more affordable, more convenient and it’s a better experience for the patient. We’ve seen the resources needed to move care to the home start to shift. We’re starting to see innovative organizations think about how to organize caregivers, both personal and professional, and coach them with tools, technology, and access to education, so they’re better equipped to deliver care.

Tim: We also heard a lot about unlocking interoperability. Just prior to HIMSS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new regulations surrounding interoperability, which aim to improve electronic access to health information. The proposal would require many providers and insurers to adopt a secure, standard format for accessing electronic patient data by 2020. This would get us closer to where we need to be, which is to connect more sources of data than simply what’s in the EHR. Ultimately, this would include all that happens outside of the hospital or doctor’s office, like home health visits, physical therapy or how a patient is responding to medication, because the social determinants of health data emerging from the home has a bigger chance of impacting outcomes and preventing readmissions than traditional clinical data.

Ashish: Communication is key when patients transition to home and you want to be able to unlock and respond to those social determinants. What we’re doing with our Prepared Health network is to create a virtual experience for the entire healthcare team so they can communicate with each other–and help patients and families stay connected–even though they may not physically be under the same roof. We had the chance to meet with investors and many leaders at health plans and health systems, and the recurring theme we heard is the need to connect healthcare in the home. This is what everyone is looking for and we are uniquely positioned to deliver the connection with patients and family caregivers and the entire care team.

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