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Post-acute orgs fear financial decline/buyouts due to technology gaps

February 17, 2014
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Information technology is the key to surviving shifting payer mixes and greater accountability for quality care, say the majority of long-term and post-acute (LT/PAC) providers in a recent survey. Without better technology capabilities, about half of providers surveyed predict they will be bought out by more capable companies by 2015.

The “2014 Long Term and Post-Acute Care Information Technology: Adoption, Utilization and Forecasts” survey, conducted by Black Book Market Research, asked executives at LT/PAC provider organizations to assess their information technology and patient data exchange capabilities and needs. The overwhelming majority of the 464 respondents (92%) agree that IT platforms for care coordination and data exchange would improve their organizations’ financial health and their ability to operate successfully under accountable care initiatives.

Yet, 63 percent say their current healthcare IT system capabilities are "extremely poor or non-existent." Among skilled nursing facility respondents, the statistic rose to 79 percent.

Also disturbing is the perceived lack of IT solutions to handle long-term care’s needs: 89 percent of those surveyed could think of two or fewer vendors or consultants that specialize in technology solutions for LT/PAC providers. More than three-quarters of respondents couldn’t name any.

Most respondents anticipate greater shifts in the payer mix during the next 12 months, as well as further blurring of the lines between payers and providers. Many view improved IT capabilities as the golden key to solving what providers identify as their most pressing issues for 2014: declining reimbursements and payment denials.

Although most large chains and small chains (<6 units) have plans to purchase healthcare IT technology in 2014, the reverse is true for the smallest LT/PAC companies: 89 percent of standalone say they have no funds allotted for health IT purchases in 2014.