Ready to Meet the New CMS Final Ruling Deadline? An Overview of ADT Notifications

In An Already Challenging Healthcare Environment, Electronic ADT (Admission, Discharge, and Transfer) Notifications Are More Critical Than Ever

Brenda Hopkins, J2 Chief Health Information Officer, recently authored a number of blogs where she outlined how the current pandemic and new compliance requirements bring communication and interoperability challenges to the forefront of healthcare. These blogs reinforced how timely and effective information sharing is critical for care teams to deliver proper care to all patients, improving care coordination, eliminating extra steps, and saving time and money.

The stats back up this argument. According to HIMSS Analytics, 51% of clinicians and clinical informaticists said improving patient safety was their top driver, 46% wanted faster response times between care team members, and 42% wanted faster response times to patients, all leading to better follow-up care.

This may sound like preaching to the choir, but at the end of the day, care teams want to treat patients more efficiently, get access to data easier, and make engaging their patients simple – leading to better provider satisfaction and healthier patients!

Current Trends

Care coordination and delivery has always been challenging — from the battlefields of 18th century Europe to 21st century urban emergency rooms, getting the right treatment to the patient, at the right time, by the right medical team, is a complex dance of information transfer and data coordination.

One misstep in this dance can lead to life-altering consequences. A study by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations indicates that communication errors were the root cause of almost 70% of all sentinel events1. Even with effective and reliable communication channels, the systemic lack of usable health data and information sharing standards, methods, and strategies between health organizations plays a crucial role in limiting effectiveness of care providers.

Additional recent studies saw a ten-fold increased risk of hospital readmission for patients who fail to see a physician within 30 days of discharge2  — a tough problem to overcome when up to one third of primary care physicians are not notified their patients were ever hospitalized3.

These pressing communication problems directly impact the financial bottom line in the healthcare industry. The financial burden placed on the healthcare system from preventable readmissions is an estimated $17 billion annually on Medicare alone.

To add to these challenges, a new CMS Conditions of Participation (CoP) rule, requiring electronic alert notifications for patient admissions, discharges, and transfers (ADT) is on the horizon, with a pending compliance date of May 1, 2021. Though this is a comparatively short time window, this mandate will certainly close the communication gaps that currently exists between providers, patients, and insurers. Once in force, electronic ADT should result in:

  1. Up to an 18% reduction in preventable hospital readmissions
  2. A concerted effort to prevent relapses after discharge
  3. Quicker and more effective care coordination between medical teams and healthcare providers

Emphasis on open communication is the key. By sharing ongoing ADT events with all stakeholders during the regular course of hospitalizations and related encounters, care teams can work in partnership to segment (positive/negative) lab results, manage information across patient populations, and monitor patient activity to facilitate long-term follow-up care. When applied to the current pandemic, these practices become a key weapon in controlling and eventually eliminating the virus.

This level of detail goes beyond the regular cycle of admissions, discharges, and transfers. For example, near real-time notifications on urgent lab results, changes in well-patient status, and referrals to long-term care placement contribute to better management across the care continuum. 

Addressing These Issues With Consensus

Despite these positive trends and the changes they are bringing to the healthcare industry, there remains some confusion over what discreet steps companies should take to meet these requirements and reap the benefits of better communication, interoperability, and real-time notifications. It would be great if there were a tool you could use to set up the necessary communication lines with minimal disruption to your current operating procedures. Fortunately, there is such a tool — enter Consensus Signal.

A part of the Consensus healthcare solution suite, Consensus Signal is the leading health event alert platform that enables precise collaboration among care teams to deliver the best possible outcome for patient treatment. With Consensus Signal, providers and healthcare systems benefit from a notification and communication solution that is easily integrated and requires minimal or no change to existing workflows to meet the demands of patient care. Consensus Signal brings near real-time event notification on ADT and other key events through the care continuum.

Consensus Unite, also a part of the Consensus healthcare suite, is an integrated solution that enables interoperability and connectivity, with such tools as Direct Messaging, patient data query through easy indexing with CommonWell and Carequality, and connection to local exchanges with APIs and HL7.

To learn more about Consensus, and Consensus Signal, download our latest white paper detailing the state of the healthcare environment, challenges, and key solutions at the bleeding edge of technology.

1 Joint Commission, April 19, 2015.

2 CMS Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.3 William P. Moran, MD, MS; Kimberly S. Davis, MD; Thomas J. Moran, MSW; Roger Newman, MD; Patrick D.Mauldin, Ph.D., “Where Are My Patients? It is Time to Automate Notification of Hospital Use to Primary Care Practices.” Southern Medical Journal 105(1):18-23, January 2012.

Jeff Solis