New WellSky® Analytics Tools Aid Hospitals, Payers, and Post-Acute Providers in Identifying Patients' Hospice Suitability
WellSky, a leading health and community care technology company, today announced it has introduced new predictive analytics capabilities within WellSky's CarePort Connect solution that will help hospitals, payers, and post-acute care providers better identify patients suited for hospice care and get them referred to hospice in a more timely manner. With a referral network that includes 2,000 hospitals across the U.S., WellSky powers more than 13 million hospital discharges per year and now will provide a first-of-its-kind national hospice suitability identification network.
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) 1.72 million eligible Medicare beneficiaries chose to enroll in hospice care in 2020. However, the majority of patients (50%) received 18 or fewer days of care. Under Medicare, patients are eligible for hospice care if they have a prognosis of six months or less to live, which means many patients are missing out on months' worth of critical supports that could improve quality of life, like pain management and respite care for family members.
The 360° Risk Summary now embedded in WellSky's CarePort Connect uses demographic and diagnosis data, care utilization history, and PAC provider characteristics to help care navigators determine which patients are likely eligible and could benefit from hospice care. By bringing hospice suitability into discharge planning, providers can quickly direct patients to the appropriate level of care for their needs and experience cost savings at the same time.
"Hospice care provides patients, their families, and caregivers the comprehensive support needed as they navigate the challenges and emotions of chronic illness," said Sheri Strobel, chief information officr at Chapters Health System, a not-for-profit chronic illness management organization headquartered in Temple Terrace, Florida. "Smart technology along with informative data make clinical decision-making more efficient, and with the correct information we can help ensure all parties are aware of the options available and when non-curative care might be the right choice."
Earlier referral to hospice care has a wide variety of benefits. A report from the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that families of patients who received early admission to hospice reported a higher satisfaction level with the care received. Medicare spending for patients who spent the last six months of their lives in hospice was on average 11% lower than it was for patients who did not receive hospice care. Greater use of hospice care during the last six months of life also results in reductions in hospital days, ICU admissions, and hospital mortality.
"There is still a widespread myth that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life, but the facts are that the hospice benefit is available to any Medicare beneficiary with a prognosis of six months or less to live and that the earlier an eligible patient enrolls in hospice the more beneficial it can be," said Carrie Hoover, NHPCO vice president of education and events. "That's why it's so important that we continue to educate the public and healthcare professionals about the benefits of earlier admission to hospice care."
WellSky has invested significantly in technology purpose-built to address the unique needs of end-of-life and palliative care providers, including a predictive analytics solution that provides visibility into a patient's health status with mortality risk identification and other information necessary to plan for their care.
"The majority of hospice care takes place in the home, which is where patients want to be when they are facing a terminal illness and have limited time left with their loved ones," said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky. "At WellSky, we're developing technology that empowers caregivers with the right information to make hospice determinations quickly and more efficiently, which means patients and families can get the physical and emotional support they need sooner rather than later."
To learn more about how WellSky is transforming health and community care, visit WellSky.com.
WellSky is one of America's largest and most innovative healthcare technology companies leading the movement for intelligent, coordinated care. Our proven software, analytics, and services power better outcomes and lower costs for stakeholders across the health and community care continuum. In today's value-based care environment, WellSky helps providers, payers, health systems, and community organizations scale processes, improve collaboration for growth, harness the power of data analytics, and achieve better outcomes by further connecting clinical and social care. WellSky serves more than 20,000 client sites - including the largest hospital systems, blood banks, cell therapy labs, home health and hospice franchises, post-acute providers, government agencies, and human services organizations. Informed by more than 40 years of providing software and expertise, WellSky anticipates clients' needs and innovates relentlessly to build healthy, thriving communities. For more information, visit wellsky.com.
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