Missed Handoffs Are Expensive and Deadly

As patients progress along the continuum of care, a multitude of doctors, nurses, specialists, and others are charged with their care at various points. Far too often, however, the handoffs that take place as a patient moves from one healthcare provider to another fail to provide enough accurate and comprehensive patient information to ensure the highest possible quality of care. In fact, a recent study found that missed handoffs like this contribute to “medical errors” being the third leading cause of death among Americans.

For ACOs who are continuously evaluating their medical processes for ways to reduce unnecessary spending in the pursuit of achieving shared savings, these missed handoffs are a prime candidate for an early focus to reduce inefficiency. In a recent white paper discussing how to structure an ACO, we discuss the need to include all relevant disciplines in the organization. Population beneficiaries inevitably require care from more than just primary care physicians, and by excluding hospitals, specialists, and other natural care partners, ACOs only increase their risk for missing handoffs and incurring additional expenses.

Beyond bringing the right players to the ACO table, an article from Healthcare IT News encourages healthcare providers to investigate processes that result in missed handoffs. Whether these missed handoffs result in patient death or simply in less than ideal care, better understanding the reasons behind the missed handoff affords a provider the opportunity to take steps toward avoiding similar situations in the future.

But how do you know where things went wrong?

One solution to understanding where the breakdown in care may have taken place and how it can be avoided in the future is to look at the data. With a tool like Salient ACO that can deliver powerful insights from population health trends down to the most atomic level of seeing patient-specific care details, healthcare providers can learn important lessons from missed handoffs and apply that learning to the larger population to avoid similar issues in the future with similar patients.

Visit Salient ACO online to learn more about how this solution can help you achieve shared savings.

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