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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Hospital to Home Focus Reduces Readmissions

Posted by Will Hicklen on Oct 15, 2013 2:56:00 PM

NBC News Health Readmissions

Ankota develops technology that is used to coordinate care that is delivered outside of hospital settings, often in follow up to a hospitalization. The hospitals, ACOs, and home health agencies we talk to ask us to point them to evidence that these Care Transitions efforts really work. They don't doubt that it works - they simply need as much evidence as possible to help garner support in their own organizations. "Fuel to the fire," if you will

Manage Population Health Models with software from Ankota

In fact, the people we engage with are usually the champions for such causes in their organizations. They simply have to find as many examples as possible that illustrate that care following discharge lowers readmissions and improves patients' lives...measurably. Examples abound as these models are gaining more traction for a number of reasons. So, it is in this spirit of sharing, that I re-run this post from NBC News Health that discusses a model in North Carolina that reduced avoidable readmissions by 20%.

Managing Care Transitions from Hospital to home reduces readmissions, study finds

In the study, researchers found that implementing a statewide transitional care program for Medicaid patients in North Carolina netted a 20 percent reduction in rehospitalization during the following year.

"That finding is fairly consistent with what had been shown in other studies… We were hoping to achieve that big of a difference. The novelty was being able to achieve it on this scale," Dr. Annette DuBard, the study's lead author from Community Care of North Carolina in Raleigh, told Reuters Health. 

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Professoinals have long known intuitively that the most critical time for a patient is the first hours or days immediately following discharge. Their ability--or inability--to get prescriptions filled or access transportation to and from follow up visits makes them especially vulnerable. Sometimes the state of the home or lack of support from immediate family members also plays a role. More studies are addressing these issues to make sure that patients receive adequate and timely follow up care, and measuring results. Some use home care providers to assist with adapting to life back in the home. It's even been found that a home inspection can mitigate potentially dangerous situations such an area rug that might increase the patient's risk of falling.

Programs such as this one in North Carolina and many others are demonstrating that with focus on some of these issues, the rate at which patients are readmitted to the hospital can be measurably reduced. This study in North Carolina is especially interesting because it reflects a larger scale. Many have wondered whether some care transitions programs can scale across larger populations while maintaining the impressive reductions in readmissions that we've seen. Admittedly, most programs have been administered manually and have only begun to examine what is actually possible. Through better use of technologies like Ankota's, providers can manage much larger populations more cost effectively and measure success along the way.  

Contact us to learn more about how Ankota technology is used to organize and manage population health projects like this, and how post acute partners are being leveraged to deliver better care, more efficiently.


Manage Population Health Models with software from Ankota

Topics: Readmissions, Care Coordination, transitional care, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, Avoidable Readmissions

CMS Moves to Protect Oxygen Delivery When Businesses Fail

Posted by Will Hicklen on Oct 2, 2013 8:30:00 AM

CMS Moves to Protect Oxygen Patients When Their Oxygen Provider Goes Out of Business.

CMS announced on August 22nd that a new provider can replace oxygen equipment and restart a 36-month rental period when another provider exits the business. When this happens, the agency will consider the original equipment lost. The rule went into effect immediately on August 22, 2013 and provides new opportunities for successful providers that remain in business, while simultaneously protecting patients.

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What should providers do when a local provider goes out of business? Understandably, CMS distinguishes this from those situations when a provider is sold or merged with another provider. HME News reports that CMS has not yet released information on how to prove abandonment but oxygen providers should expect that will follow soon. Providers exiting the business are obligated to facilitate the transfer of their patients or they are in violation of statutory and regulatory requirements. In short, the ideal way to handle it is to work with the provider that is exiting the business to facilitate a smooth transition for your business and for the patients. There are no instructions on what to do if patients have simply been abandoned, but one would expect that to be the exception and not the rule. 

HME Newswire logo

According to Wintergreen Research, the market for portable oxygen concentrators alone will reach $1.9 billion by 2019, even though reimbursements are down 30% because of competitive bidding. That is an incredible growth rate for an industry that generated just $249 million in revenue in 2012 and just experienced 30% cuts in reimbursement rates.

“CMS is hearing that oxygen patients are being abandoned,” said Kim Brummett in HME News, senior director of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare. “You’ve just got people closing their doors.”

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Oxygen therapy is an integral component of the healthcare industry. The rapid adoption of oxygen therapy devices is attributed to the rise in incidences of respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and increased awareness and diagnoses of respiratory ailments. The number of people suffering from respiratory diseases is on the rise all over the world, primarily because of the increasing health hazards of chemical pesticides and cigarette smoking. As oxygen equipement continues to get cheaper because of innovation and lower prices, demand for oxygen therapy equipment and Resipratory Therapy services will only grow.

Dr. Hunter Young, a physician at Johns Hopkins focused on population health and Chief Medical Officer of Ankota, explains, "There is an increased awareness in the medical community and respiratory diseases are getting much more attention, and are being diagnosed at much higher rates. The demand for oxygen and respiratory care services will certainly grow for the forseeable future."

"We're seeing a real disruption in the business of respiratory care,' says Ankota CEO Will Hicklen. Competitive bidding is bludgeoning prices and only the most efficient providers will survive. "The economics of respiratory therapy has changed dramatically," adds Hicklen. Respiratory care companies make up one of Ankota's fastest growing segments simply because competitive bidding is forcing them to reduce operating expenses immediately in order to remain profitable. Fortunately, there is a lot of room for improvement. 

The best way to do this is through automation that eliminates paper, eliminates redundant data entry by integrating with existing order entry and inventory systems, supports mobile delivery confirmation and point of care documentation, plans routes efficiently, and synchronizes data seamlessly with billing systems.  Most providers stand to cut operating expenses dramatically by following this proven path. 

HMEs Find Ways to Do More with Less - Click Here!

Topics: Oxygen, Respiratory Therapy, RT, Care Coordination, Will Hicklen, Dr. J. Hunter Young

Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

Posted by Will Hicklen on Oct 1, 2013 8:30:00 AM

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Ankota would like to invite all of our readers and customers to join us in wishing therapists everywhere a very Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

Take a look at this short video on the APTA web site, which explains National Physical Therapy Month and provides links and suggestions of things you can do to show your support. Not just for therapists, National Physical Therapy Month recognizes the contribution that therapists play for patients in traditional and newer models of care. Therapy is playing an ever increasing role in Avoidable Readmissions programs, Community Based Care, Accountable Care models, Care Transitions initiatives, and more.

Congratulations and thank you to all therapists! 


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Topics: APTA, Physical Therapy, Care Coordination, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO

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About Ankota

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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