Last October, WellSky acquired CarePort Health from Allscripts (NASDAQ: MDRX). Finalized on December 31, the acquisition brings CarePort's patient care transitions technology under the umbrella that includes the former Kinnser, ClearCare, Fazzi, and several HME and infusion software products.
According to a company statement at the time, the addition of CarePort "makes WellSky positioned to manage the acute care discharge process, track patients across post-acute care settings, apply patient and population level analytics, and support EMR-based care protocols."
They also stated that CarePort's EHR-agnostic suite of solutions "connects the discharge process with post-discharge care coordination — allowing providers and payers to track and manage patients throughout their care journey...improving outcomes, lowering costs, and increasing patient satisfaction."
"While I was still in medical school, I founded CarePort to address a need I saw that was not being met," she began. "Often, patients do not know at hospital discharge what other services are available to them, nor which ones they need. It might be hospice, or infusion therapy services, home health, or a temporary stay in a residential facility. That information might be in the discharge planner's mind, or rolodex, but it is rarely transmitted in detail to the patient.
"With some technical help, I put together a platform that is something like Hotels.com or TripAdvisor. It integrates with hospital systems like Cerner and Epic and it brings together over 100 thousand providers of all types, payers, post-acute providers, skilled nursing facilities, rehab hospitals, and presents them to over 1,000 hospital discharge planners, from small ones to the likes of the Cleveland Clinic."
We asked Dr. Hu for specific examples and she described the way the CarePort platform finds a patient's complete record within the hospital's EMR, determines what post-discharge services the patient needs – a bariatric bed, a home IV nurse, hospice services, etc. – searches in the local community for those services, and sends them to a family member, perhaps an adult son or daughter. The family makes choices and CarePort sends electronic referrals to the appropriate local providers of those services.
Dr. Hu continued:
"CarePort does not end its relationship with a patient at this point. It follows the most at risk patients through subsequent care transitions. Care coordinators get reports on where a patient has been and is going to go next. We work with care coordinators inside home health agencies and at-risk entities such as ACOs."
We had to ask, of course, whether CarePort is still able to work with all home health EMR vendors, now that it is part of WellSky. "Yes, we work with all of them," she replied. "We are able to do that because the hospital is the driver of our business. When a discharge planner or adult family member tells CarePort its choice of post-acute care provider, we send the referral to that provider, without regard to which EMR it uses. We do have a paid version that post-acute providers can use, but we do not force them to use it. We send referral requests to entities using our free version. That kind of open platform is best for patient choice."
She mentioned some of the benefits of using a care coordination platform like CarePort as well. Even during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, they saw that referral volume grew as increasing numbers of patients chose to go home for care. Even so, they continue to see a 10 percent drop in hospital readmission rate when patients are tracked from move to move. More importantly, readmission rate improves as CarePort "learns" from its data about the variations in quality among different post-acute care providers. "We see reduced lengths of stay in residential facilities as well," she added, "because we can match patient to facility, knowing which ones are better at wound care or on-site dialysis or other specialties."
Dr. Lissy Hu founded CarePort in 2012, while in medical school. It was acquired by Allscripts in 2016 before being acquired by WellSky in December 2020 for a reported $1.35 billion. She retains the title CEO of CarePort and will report to WellSky CEO Bill Miller. For those interested in how she did this, her entire story was told in the March/April 2021 edition of Inc. Magazine.
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