Because acute providers are held responsible for patient outcomes post-discharge, it is critical to not only gain visibility into that end of the continuum but to also get in the habit of continually assessing the quality of care delivered to patients in post-acute care settings. Below are five foundational steps to successfully define and track quality with your SNF collaborative in order to achieve optimal results.
- Realistic measures
Define a finite number of measures on which your SNF collaborative should focus. Other measures may remain in your dashboards but the collaborative cannot improve upon every measure at once. If you ask your post-acute partners to focus on a large set of measures, you are setting unrealistic expectations.
- Real-time measures
SNFs experience, on average, a six percent positive or negative change in readmission measures over the course of a year. This illustrates how quickly, and how drastically, quality can change for some providers. While it may be tempting to use claims data for these analyses, doing so will always put you behind the curve due to the lag time in receiving data. To understand current patterns, you should invest in tools – such as those offered in CarePort’s suite of solutions – that are powered by real-time data and are specifically designed to track post-acute utilization and outcomes.
- Measures already important to SNF partners
CMS is already focused on several areas of quality improvement for SNFs through Value-Based Purchasing, the Quality Reporting Program and the Five-Star Quality Rating System. All three programs incorporate a version of 30-day readmission tracking. Tracking measures like readmission rates should align with quality improvement efforts, and it should not be difficult for SNFs to prioritize this measure because it is already a critical measure that they monitor. Though there are numerous hospitalization measures to choose from, it is in the best interest of your collaborative to focus on mutually beneficial measures.
- Fair measures
It is critical that the measures selected to track your SNF collaborative are truly measuring quality and that there is buy-in on these measures from SNF partners. It is important to select the correct risk-adjusted measurements, otherwise you will ultimately just track the post-acute facility that has more acute patients.
- Shareable measures
Once measures are finalized, you may want to develop a scorecard for these measures and establish a regular cadence for deploying and reviewing it with your post-acute partners. Using shared systems that measure in the same way, and examine the same measures, helps this process. Measures should be easily communicable and frequently shared within the network to ensure everyone is focused on the same objectives. Transparency and aligned priorities between collaborative members ultimately help guarantee a more optimal and safe experience for patients.