Web-Based Application Overcomes Communication Barriers for Home Care Providers

October 25, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Despite the push for healthcare organizations to adopt electronic health records (EHRs), home care providers have limited ability to promote electronic communication among the various providers treating homebound patients, says Nicole Ruggiano, Ph.D., M.S.W., assistant professor, School of Social Work, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University (FIU). EHRs are not linked across different healthcare organizations, which limits the ability of home care providers to use EHRs to share information about patients they are treating in the home, said Ruggiano, speaking at the October 17 to 18, 2013, National Aging Services Risk Management conference in Chicago. Limited communication among providers can lead to disruptions in services provided to homebound patients and to compromised care, she said. For example, while a home care nurse may be aware of a patient’s recent fall or of changes in the patient’s adherence to a medication regimen, patients may not tell their physicians about these concerns. “Not talking to physicians about these behaviors can interfere with clinical decision making,” Ruggiano said.

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