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Interoperability 2020—Post-Acute and Behavioral Health Interoperability 2020—Post-Acute and Behavioral Health
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Interoperability 2020—Post-Acute and Behavioral Health
A First Look at Carequality and CommonWell Early Adopters

author - Coray Tate
Coray Tate
author - Natalie Jamison
Natalie Jamison
author - Jonathan Christensen
Jonathan Christensen
November 12, 2020 | Read Time: 5  minutes

Since it was established in November 2018, the CommonWell-Carequality connection has been utilized mostly by acute and ambulatory care organizations. More recently, post–acute care (home health, hospice, long-term care) and behavioral health organizations have started to connect to the national networks; the large majority of these early adopters find the connection valuable. This report—KLAS’ first on interoperability in the post–acute care and behavioral health markets—examines which vendors are connected today and the level of usability achieved by their most advanced customers.

exclamation markNote: This report focuses on the usability of shared patient data brought in via connections with Carequality and CommonWell. Data on other means of interoperability, such as custom interfaces and HIEs, is excluded.

Netsmart and MatrixCare (Brightree) Leading Out in Adoption; Much Progress Still Needed

vendor abilities to make shared data usable

Note: For more information on adoption and usability in the acute/ambulatory market—including information on the Cerner, Epic, and MEDITECH EMRs (which are often used in post–acute care and behavioral health settings)—please see “Interoperability 2020 (Acute/Ambulatory): Adoption and Usability Differ Significantly between EMR Vendors."

Netsmart, who is the largest vendor in behavioral health and has a widespread post–acute care presence, provides Carequality connections for their myUnity home health/long-term care platform and their myAvatar behavioral health platform; approximately 25%–35% of these customer bases have connected. In post–acute care, MatrixCare Home Health and Hospice (Brightree) was one of the first solutions connected; approximately 100 customers have adopted the no-cost CommonWell connection, which requires little effort to establish. More recently, MatrixCare has connected their long-term care solution to Carequality; about 30 customers are live. Homecare Homebase, the most prevalent vendor among large home health agencies, announced their connection to Carequality through Surescripts in June 2019; KLAS estimates that about 10% of customers are currently live. PointClickCare recently enabled a Carequality connection, and a small portion of customers have implemented. WellSky, one of the largest post–acute care vendors, plans to generally release their connection to CommonWell across various platforms starting in Q1 2021. For most of these vendors, connections are early, and even the adoption leaders lag in comparison to the acute and ambulatory care leaders (e.g., athenahealth, Epic, and Cerner).

Netsmart Customers Report Strongest Usability of Outside Data; More Automation Needed from Homecare Homebase and MatrixCare (Long-Term Care)

vendor abilities to make shared data usable

Netsmart customers report the most advanced capabilities when it comes to accessing and ingesting outside patient data. Customers can automatically pull outside information (such as medications) into the EHR for reconciliation and use filtering tools to search ingested CCDs for relevant lab data and progress notes. PointClickCare and MatrixCare Home Health and Hospice (Brightree) offer some basic automation for things like patient matching and auto querying. Additionally, PointClickCare customers can import problems and medications into the record for reconciliation. MatrixCare’s home health customers say that lab data and progress notes are organized by facility, making it easier to search for relevant data. Customers of Homecare Homebase and MatrixCare (Long-Term Care) like having an electronic version of outside patient records. The records are view only, and customers say the process of searching for and copying outside data into their EHR is manual.

Early Adopters See Value in Their Connections

Though post–acute care and behavioral health organizations are still early in their use of the national networks, 88% of respondents say they are getting value from their connection. These organizations greatly appreciate the ability to access patients’ encounter data and results with a few clicks of the mouse instead having to wait for faxes or chase people down over the phone. For vendors that have enabled a connection, the next step is to provide a more seamless process and improve the usability of the outside data by automating things like queries, patient matching, and the ingestion of relevant data into the patient record for easy reference or reconciliation. Additionally, the more patient records are available for access, the more value organizations will find in the connections. To get full value from the connections, post–acute care and behavioral health organizations must encourage their vendors (if not yet connected) and their referral partners in the acute and ambulatory care space to connect to the national networks.

vendor abilities to make shared data usable

Little Effort Required to Connect; Adoption Slow as Other Barriers Still Exist

Nearly all early adopters interviewed by KLAS report that establishing their connection to Carequality or CommonWell required little technical effort on their part thanks to the efforts of their vendor. However, there are other, nontechnical issues that still present barriers to adoption. For instance, Homecare Homebase and Netsmart charge customers a separate fee to set up the connection. MatrixCare (Long-Term Care) requires the purchase of the CareCommunity license; Home Health and Hospice customers can connect at no cost. PointClickCare has built the cost into their ongoing maintenance fees. Additionally, no post–acute care or behavioral health vendors have built the connection into their update and implementation processes or made the connection opt out (as opposed to opt in). Several vendors in the acute and ambulatory care market did not see significant uptake in adoption until they removed these barriers.

vendor abilities to make shared data usable

Vendor Bottom Lines

Homecare Homebase

Approximately 10% of customers have connected to Carequality. Customers must request access and pay additional cost to establish connection. Because the connection is through Surescripts, nearly all aspects of data access/ingestion are manual, requiring multiple steps. Early adopters value the connection and their access to data (read only).

MatrixCare Home Health and Hospice (Brightree)

A leader in adoption among post–acute care solutions with about 25% of customers connected to CommonWell. Connection can be enabled with the flip of a switch. Customers value the data available; little automation exists to ingest data into the EHR.

MatrixCare (Long-Term Care)

Customers must request connection; approximately 1% have done so and are connected today. Connection is done through CareCommunity rather than directly in the EHR, so nearly all aspects of data access/ingestion into the EHR are manual. Early adopters surveyed are among the few organizations KLAS has interviewed who question the value of their connection.

Netsmart myUnity (HealthMEDX) (Home Health/Long-Term Care)

Netsmart reports 25% of myUnity customers connected today. Participation is easy, comes with up-front and ongoing subscription fees. Strong automation for medication reconciliation. Needs stronger automation for ingesting labs and progress notes. Connections not available for Netsmart’s other home health solutions (Allscripts, Change Healthcare, DeVero).

Netsmart myAvatar (Behavioral Health)

Only BH vendor connected; 35% of customers connected. Participation is easy, comes with up-front and ongoing subscription fees. Strong automation for medication reconciliation; lab data and progress notes can be filtered and searched. Reconciling duplicate medications is cumbersome; needs stronger automation for ingesting labs and progress notes. Connections not available for myAM, myEvolv, or TIER.

PointClickCare (Long-Term Care)

Small portion of customers (<1%) connected as part of initial pilot program. Connection became generally available October 2020. Easy to establish connection. Automation starts with querying and patient matching and extends to ingestion of problems and medications. Allergies, immunizations, labs, and progress notes must be ingested manually.

author - Elizabeth Pew
Elizabeth Pew
author - Natalie Jamison
Natalie Jamison
author - Natalie Jamison
Project Manager
Natalie Jamison
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.