Kindred Hospital Melbourne is one of 97 transitional care hospitals — certified as long-term acute care hospitals and licensed as acute care hospitals — operated by Kindred Healthcare nationwide. As such, it benefits from access to the resources and leading-edge technological innovations that only a national organization can offer. Kindred Healthcare recognizes that the evolution of technology in the United States, in conjunction with healthcare reform initiatives that place value on efficient, effective care transitions from one level of care to another, for example, necessitate a forward-thinking approach to the use of technology in the care setting.

According to Kindred’s Chief Information Officer Scott Blanchette, technology has gone through an evolution that began with mainframe computing in the 1960s, and has taken us through mini computing in the 1970s, personal computing in the 1980s, desktop Internet computing in the 1990s and mobile Internet computing in the 2000s, to the wearable/ everywhere computing that characterizes the year 2015 and the near future. Cognizance of this is critical to the development of any technology strategy in the era of healthcare reform. 

Scott also notes that tablet growth has outpaced anything previously seen in the tech world, even smartphones. 

KindredTechnological innovation and healthcare reform begin to converge when we examine the movement from today’s healthcare environment of often redundant delivery at different levels of care based on a system of volume instead of value-based care, to the coordinated care, data integrity, efficient care delivery and information portability of tomorrow. 

Kindred’s health information exchange strategy takes the overall U.S. technology and healthcare reform environment into account.

According to Scott, digitization lays the foundation. New technology builds bridges between clinical applications. It is critical that on discharge, patient care summaries follow the patient. On admission, caregivers view patient care summary information. The completeness of the patient summary will depend upon the care setting and use of electronic documentation. Short-term acute care hospitals are incentivized to exchange patient care summaries electronically to comply with government Meaningful Use incentives.

Kindred has begun to roll out its enterprise-wide Health Information Exchange (HIE), which will facilitate the sharing of electronic patient data between Kindred sites of care and with external healthcare partners. The interoperable IT framework will rely on a single patient identifier to help manage care across settings and coordinate care transitions. Hospitals, like Kindred Hospital Melbourne, utilize ProTouch, Kindred Healthcare’s proprietary touchscreen medical record system. ProTouch is used by more than 40,000 users in more than 30 clinical roles in 97 Kindred hospitals.

With over 20 years of development, ProTouch is the most robust transitional care hospital system available. System features such as real-time ventilator data, transparent interfaces to relevant applications and medication reconciliation allow Kindred clinicians to better serve patients.

Kindred’s HIE will provide clinicians easier access to current and historical patient information, simplifying the coordination of care and delivering increased value to its patients and partners. 

Making healthcare decisions can be complicated. For patients or their caregivers needing help navigating care options, the Kindred Contact Center, at  1.866.KINDRED, offers registered nurse advocates who can answer questions.

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living HEALTH.
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