East Tennessee Health Information Network

Preventing Unnecessary Hospital Readmissions through Provider Alerting

etHIN proposes to develop an automated, HIPAA-compliant email alerting service to inform providers in free and low-income medical clinics and rural health departments of their patients’ hospital visits. These alerts will allow providers to contact patients to schedule follow-up visits to ensure compliance with medications and treatment plans prescribed during the hospital visit. The project will benefit low-income and uninsured persons in Trinity Health Foundation’s nine-county service area. etHIN will use Phase I grant funding to perform a feasibility study to confirm interest in receiving alerts and determine the specific types of information that would be most beneficial to providers in helping improve their patients’ health.

The alerting and provider outreach should result in a reduction in 30-day preventable hospital readmissions due to proactive care coordination by the alerted providers. To measure improvements, etHIN will obtain a patient list from participating clinics and health departments and measure the volume of readmissions for those patients at the end of the project against the beginning readmission volume. In addition, etHIN plans to leverage existing partnerships with Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and University of Tennessee Medical Center to obtain the data needed for alerting and results measurement. Delivering alerts by HIPAA-compliant Direct secure messaging is an economical method of exchanging data.