Researchers at the University of Missouri are convinced that communications between hospitals and nursing homes could lead to better patient outcomes by using health information exchanges (HIEs), notes a study published in Applied Clinical Informatics.
After assessing the HIE readiness of 16 nursing homes and helping to coordinate the adoption of needed technologies, the team of researchers found that most of the technology was being used to communicate patient information within the nursing home. Little information was being communicated between the nursing homes and outside facilities such as hospitals or off-site pharmacies.
Researchers concluded that many nursing homes needed additional technological and human resources to successfully build out and implement an effective HIE which could improve communication and, therefore, patient outcomes.
“The exchange of accurate, complete and timely information between hospitals and nursing homes can be complicated when older adults transfer from one place to another,” said Greg Alexander, associate professor in the University of Missouri's Sinclair School of Nursing and lead researcher of this study in a press release. “Ultimately, we want to facilitate a way for staff members to communicate safely and securely about patients’ health. We want to prepare nursing homes to communicate externally as well as internally so that care transitions smoothly and patients have better health outcomes.”