Recently, the Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority has announced $540,000 in grant funding to Home Health Agencies in Pennsylvania to increase the efficiency and improve the workflow of home health nurses.
An organization may submit only one application, in which the funding amount requested cannot exceed $180,000. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for acceptable applications that meet the provisions of the grant.
As a part of the grant, the home health agency is required to utilize one of the two forms of health information exchange. The first would be to utilize DIRECT which is secure email exchange between two providers. The second is the query model via one the Health Information Exchanges in the state.
One example of how the funding can be used is the home health agencies could purchase iPads and DIRECT accounts. DIRECT will then be integrated in the software that the nurses are using so they can enter the information for the patient in real time. If the patient's provider has DIRECT, the nurse will be able to communicate with the provider office. The efficiency that would be gained in this scenario would be:
- In cases where the nurses are filling out paperwork at the patient's home, they can use an iPad rather than keying it into a computer when they get to the office.
- In cases where the nurses are faxing paperwork and waiting for responses, they can instead exchange information with a provider who has DIRECT.
- In cases where the patient information is in an HIE, the nurses can electronically review the patient chart to ensure patient compliance.