UMass Memorial Health partners with PatientPing to coordinate care across system

By Heather Mack
01:43 pm
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The UMass Memorial Health Care system will work with PatientPing, a health technology company, to enhance care coordination across the system via notifications that keep all healthcare team members in the loop.

PatientPing alerts healthcare providers whenever a patient receives care elsewhere. The goal is to improve information transparency between healthcare providers. Upon joining PatientPing, providers receive “pings,” or real-time notifications, whenever their patients receive care at a wide range of facilities in Massachusetts and beyond. When patients are getting care at a certain facility, providers receive care instructions that include patient visit history and contact information for other healthcare team members.

“We’ve been using the technology for a while and I think one of the biggest challenges in healthcare is to keep track of patients across the care continuum,” Christine Cernak, senior director of population and healthcare innovation for UMass told MobiHealthNews. “As we’re looking to add more accountable care to our portfolio of risk-based payer arrangements, PatientPing provided that opportunity to know where patients were being seen and what external operations patients were moving to from setting to setting.”

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Cernak said the core of the UMass business is the primary care provider community, where it can be challenging to remain informed about what’s happening to a patient. For example, how long a patient is in skilled nursing facility, in-patient rehabilitation centers, or long term care, and when and where they transition.

With PatientPing, Cernak said there is the benefit of “knowing when those changes are happening and making sure those transitions happen successfully.”

Early data show that a large number of patients who receive care at UMass Memorial member hospitals – which comprise the largest not-for-profit system in central Massachusetts –­ also receive care from providers scattered throughout New England. Since the partnership began, over 200 New England provider organizations across the region have cared for over 3,000 patients who have also visited UMass. PatientPing aims to bridge the silos between the unaffiliated providers.

“This represents a key turning point in health data-sharing conversation,” PatientPing CEO Jay Desai told MobiHealthNews. “We’ve been entrenched in the Massachusetts health care system for a while and have built a rich, robust community of providers who are sharing data. The piece of the community that was missing was hospitals.”

Now, Desai said, the hopsitals and providers are sharing information with another, knocking down barriers to care coordination.

“We got them to the point where they could say, ‘Yes, we compete, but we still need to share.’ We’ve been picking away at that for awhile, and now it can be a system where people who live in one state but for whatever reason need to go to a hospital in another, say, snowbirds who live in New England but spend time in Florida, we can make sure they get their primary care coordinated.”

The long-term mission of PatientPing is to build a national community of engaged providers, aiming to allay the frustration associated with information blocks between healthcare providers and patients. 

“The thing about a platform like PatientPing is where it gains power is when you have a whole community that’s pinging,” said Cernak. “As long as you have people who are not connected, it creates additional silos. When you have something like PatientPing, you can prioritize care in different places. It makes a big difference in how we resource.”

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