Rising to the challenge of COVID-19: efficient PAC transfers are more important than ever

Rising to the challenge of COVID-19: efficient PAC transfers are more important than ever

Client

Edward-Elmhurst Health, a 721-bed, 3-hospital system, provides comprehensive healthcare through an extensive ambulatory care network in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL.

Situation

EEH wanted to improve patient transfers to post-acute care (PAC) facilities. They had a PAC provider network but their ability to offer patients the best provider options were limited, and they weren’t satisfied that their existing referral system, All scripts (ECIN), could help improve provider choice without straining staff resources. In December 2019, they turned to Aidin. Their goal was to adopt a more coordinated, efficient patient transfer process and with Aidin they could embrace an open-market approach that would widen their selection of providers while simultaneously utilizing performance metrics and quality measures to identify and track the best care for their patients.

EEH was midway in their transition to the Aidin referral system when the COVID-19pandemic struck. The initial blow was overwhelming. Increasing COVID-19 cases stretched hospital staff and pandemic responses strained resources even further. At the end of March, EEH paused the onboarding activities for Aidin, with an intent  to complete the transition when the COVID-19 crisis was more in control.

Just two weeks later, it became apparent to EEH that COVID-19 had exacerbated the issues they’d had with placing patients to PAC before the pandemic hit. Because their providers were managing overwhelming patient volumes as well, PAC placements were getting even more difficult-and COVID-19 cases were continuing to rise. It became clear to EEH that to weather this pandemic, it was more critical than ever to have access to more provider options for their patients.

Action

On April 15th, EEH decided to move forward with the transition to Aidin. All onboarding tasks were shifted to remote activities through a coordinated effort between hospital staff, IT, and Aidin. Aidin was able to quickly transition to virtual training and provider engagement, with remote support that enabled implementation of the new system and onboarding to complete with no significant delays. Aidin went live on May 20, 2020. EEH’s COVID-19 cases had grown from 802,317 in April to over 2M by the end of May.

Pandemic Response: Going Live With Aidin During COVJD-19

Results

Key Hospital Metrics After the Implementation of Aidin

Hospital performance metrics

EEH saw improvements in its PAC transitions within one month of going live with Aidin: They saw referral volumes rise 6-fold (from 243 to 1,463) and the average LOS for post-acute patients drop from 7.14 days to 6.6 days. Notably, the LOS continued to fall, with the average LOS for PAC patients reduced by 20.6%, or 1.47 days, by December 2020.

  • Kerrie Samuelian

    System Manager, Post-Acute Transitions

    "When you look at the number of providers offering care in Aidin, that has been really helpful to us, because instead of a patient having 1-2 choices, they’re getting 4 or 5 quality options of where they can go. The patients have really enjoyed it."

Impact of Aidin on management of discharge workflows

A primary benefit of Aidin cited by EEH staff was the improvement in provider choice – Aidin gave them the capability of mass referrals but because of the tool s filters, managers were able to create provider lists that were not only clinically appropriate for each patient, but also had the capability to admit them. Additionally, EEH staff were now able to provide patients with 3-5 provider options, whereas previously they would typically only be able to produce 1-2 provider options for their post-acute care patients.

EEH staff also cited key features of Aidin that allowed them to work more efficiently and effectively, such as the ease of using the platform to track patients and referrals, and the  ability to easily share documents and keep track communications.

  • "It is very helpful to be able to send a lot of referrals at once to places that actually offer the services my patient needs. There is less back and forth with the family because they are choosing from providers that we already know are available to the patient." - EEH Staff
  • "It is easier to find facilities further away; all you need to know is the zip code. And even if those providers may not be on Aidin, you at least have a way to send a referral through fax and phone numbers to follow up." - EEH Staff
  • "We are in the process of adding our behavioral health hospital to the tool, and we have had interest from our cancer center in being added to Aidin." - EEH Staff

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