Now more than ever, providers are eager to know when and where their patients get care from someone else.
Providers that are part of accountable care organizations and other emerging payment structures, for example, have a financial incentive to manage the care of a specific population of patients. Under most of those arrangements, however, the patients are free to seek care wherever they choose. And Medicare now penalizes hospitals when too many patients are hospitalized again within weeks of discharge.
But how can a provider even know a patient gets care from an outside system or clinician, let alone manage that patient's care without complete information? It's a problem that has dogged Medicare's efforts to retool the fee-for-service payment system widely blamed for high costs and poor health outcomes.
Boston-based PatientPing has found a unique way to connect providers across the country instantly. Co-founded in 2013 by former CMS Innovation Center strategist Jay Desai, PatientPing informs providers when their patient is admitted to an unaffiliated facility with real-time notifications, or pings.
The notifications are a simplified, web-based version of an electronic health record that identifies the facility and the physician treating the patient. With that information, providers can connect with each other to discuss appropriate treatment options for the patient and coordinate continuum-of-care strategies. Providers connect via phone, email or fax.
For now, providers get the pings when they log on to the company's web application. Push notifications for smartphones and tablets are in the works.
The technology relies on feeds of admission, discharge and transfer data commonly exchanged among healthcare IT systems. PatientPing's partners provide the company with a list of their patients and the networks they use. PatientPing takes that information and connects it to those facilities' feeds. PatientPing then filters through both the list of patients and the registration system looking for matches. When a match is identified, the providers are notified.