Health IT

Automated discharge system hopes to improve care transitions to cut hospital re-admissions

Two healthcare IT companies have collaborated on a system to ensure vital information for patients being discharged is presented in realtime for healthcare professionals. The goal is to improve patient transitions from hospitals to their homes or care facilities.

Medecision and Availity collaborated on a system that makes use of both companies’ software. The Availity system collects the data from various hospital systems it works with into one database. Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Medecision’s Aerial program grabs the information and makes it available in real time.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how it works according to Nancy Bucceri, director of product marketing with Medecision:

  1. Availity accesses admission and discharge HL7 transactions generated from a hospital’s admission and discharge processes.
  2. It sends the relevant data from the patient management system in real time to Medecision’s Aerial platform.
  3. Aerial attributes the patient record to the appropriate person.
  4. It generates a request from the data and approves the requests.
  5. It routes tasks to a department queue based on the auto-approval engine and auto work flow rules.

It can also identify the member’s primary care physician from data stored in the member’s file or attribute a physician based on analysis of the claims data. That’s particularly important. If the patient’s primary physician is informed in real time that a patient is being discharged, the care manager can initiate a transition of care plan with the member’s physician.


Bucceri said one of the problems with the way things work is primary care physicians frequently don’t even know their patients are in the hospital. This system ensures they are made aware of when they are being discharged so they can sort out follow-up care.

The program is currently in the proof-of-concept phase. The companies are debuting the initiative at the Blue National Summit in Orlando, Florida, a conference for BlueCross Blue Shield executives. There are also possible applications of the system for electronic medical record vendors.

With provisions of the Affordable Care Act penalizing providers for readmission rates that are higher than the national average for certain illnesses, companies have been working to address the issue of reducing hospital re-admissions. Among companies working to improve the post hospitalization transition are AidIn, a graduate of healthcare start-up accelerator Blueprint Health’s inaugural class, and RightCare Solutions, which won Janssen’s Connected Care Challenge earlier this year. RightCare’s program identifies vulnerable patients before they are discharged to ascertain who should be referred for post-acute services.


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