To give other organizations a glimpse into just how beneficial CommonWell can be, we sat down with Brightree customer Mosaic Life Care. Their VP of Integrated Services, Denise Schrader, and Solutions Administrator, Sarah Filbert, gave us a first-hand account of their experiences with this health data exchange platform, what it means for post-acute care, and the future of interoperability.
What is CommonWell and why do Brightree customers have access to it?
CommonWell is a tool that allows Brightree customers to connect with any and all providers connected to the CommonWell Health Alliance network. Brightree implemented CommonWell services for free to its customers, and there is little to no technical support overhead required to be up and live with Brightree, sending and receiving documents from dozens to hundreds of providers.
It’s extremely efficient, error free, and it’s in real time. The network is also rapidly growing, this time last year there were 50,000 connected providers and health systems through the CommonWell network and its connection to the Carequality Framework. Today, that number is closer to 60,000.
At this point, the main limitation for connected providers is that not all EHRs have embraced CommonWell. We are able to send and receive the face sheet, and all the clinical continuity of care documentation, but some other local providers are only sharing their discharge summaries. Keeping up your relationships with your partner providers remains important, and encouraging them to connect will help provide the population health management patients require.
In a nutshell, what are the benefits of CommonWell?
From a technical perspective, one of the huge benefits of CommonWell is that it’s not a database or HIE; it’s more like a train station. We turn it on to pull the data from every other “train” (provider) using the service and we can drop it straight into our EMR. Similarly, our partnered providers love that they can easily see our charting in their EMR.
CommonWell is so comprehensive and easy to use, that even though we could give our clinicians access to the hospital EMR, we chose to use CommonWell instead. Brightree’s implementation of CommonWell services is especially user friendly, and almost everything we would want to pull is available from our main referral source today.
Enrolling and connecting patients to CommonWell is so easy that before I had a chance to train our intake staff, they were already doing it. It’s very seamless on Brightree’s end for that connectivity.
Almost 100% of our patients are enrolled in CommonWell. And we are getting anywhere from one to 15 or more documents per patient that we can choose to go over.
What does CommonWell mean for the current state of post-acute care?
We immediately saw the value of CommonWell in the looming Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) market. Accurate diagnoses and comorbidity coding will be critical, and having access to the acute provider’s discharge summaries is already leading to better, more accurate diagnoses in home health. We foresee this tool as one of our primary weapons to decrease those dreaded questionable encounter episodes in PDGM. In addition, as we all know, a patient discharged for a hospital stay related to a fall may actually have a history of stroke, wounds, or other high-intensity care that home health will manage. With CommonWell, we can see the historical encounters of all participating acute and post-acute providers, not just the most recent discharge summary.
The efficiencies of CommonWell can’t be overstated. Before we were live with CommonWell services, a typical complex admission would look like: receiving the faxed referral with the most recent discharge summary (if we were lucky). Then our office nursing staff would log in directly to that provider EMR and hunt for relevant encounters to build out our initial evaluation. While we are lucky to be hospital-owned and have this access, it still was time intensive, and we did not have this access for other hospital referrals. After the initial evaluation, we would query the primary and hospital physicians who provided care to find any related comorbidities. Sometimes we were successful, but most of the time responses were limited.
Now, on intake, those same office nurses can pull in any related encounters shared by not only our hospital, but also all the clinics and hospitals participating in CommonWell with a few clicks – while never logging out of the Brightree system. This is a huge time saver! We expect CommonWell will be a contributing factor to succeeding under PDGM and shortening our revenue cycle.
CommonWell is a referral source satisfier. Not only does it eliminate some faxing and phone calls for pre-intake information gathering, but it’s also shining a light on the “post-acute black hole.” Best of all, providers don’t have to track another login – they can see the charting in their own EMR.
Where do you see CommonWell in the future of interoperability?
As CommonWell adoption and utilization increases, it’s well situated to take over several facets of provider communication, thanks to its ease of use. Traditional interfaces are clunky, and require massive investments of technical support to put the structures in place as well as maintain the connections. Nationwide networks will supersede traditional HL7 interfaces once adoption and utilization hurdles are cleared.
If adoption becomes more widespread, CommonWell would be our tool of choice for exchanging information with other providers in the care continuum.
About Mosaic Life Care
Mosaic Life Care is a health care system in northwest Missouri that is part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. With four hospitals, numerous clinics, an ambulatory surgery center, a nurse call center, and home health, hospice and palliative care services – Mosaic is a model health care system when it comes to moving toward interoperability. Mosaic is part of an accountable care organization, making care coordination essential for both patient health and the system’s overall success.