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Mar 18, 2014

Strategies to Improve Medication Management Communications in SNFs

Published

Mar 18, 2014

In this week’s edition of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living, Avalere’s Anne Tumlinson wrote a guest post discussing ways to improve medication management communications at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

As SNFs continue to strive toward demonstrating their value to prescribing hospitals and physicians, relative to their competition, improving their efficiency is vital.  Refining medication management, and thus fixing one of the most common medical errors in the post-acute care space, is a sure way for SNFs to position themselves as high-value providers.

Noting the innovative SNFs who are already practicing the necessary steps toward better patient-transfer communications and improved medication management, Anne offers three keys to success for improving a SNF’s communication strategies:

Noting the innovative SNFs who are already practicing the necessary steps toward better patient-transfer communications and improved medication management, Anne offers three keys to success for improving a SNF’s communication strategies:

  1. Employ tools to coordinate admissions to SNFs with hospitals and other providers. Following these strategies is not always easy, but it is a sure-fire way to get the notice of prescribing physicians and hospitals.  Medication management is an inevitable challenge for patients who transfer from a hospital to a SNF, and these patients’ complex clinical needs (high number of medications and multiple transitions across differing sites of care) make matters more challenging.  Improving the communication between the care teams at different sites of care, and therefore improving care transitions, will also be key to a SNFs success.

  2. Engage pharmacists to dispense the most appropriate medications to patients.
  3. Implement comprehensive education processes for discharge and follow-up.

Emerging healthcare models will play a large role in these communication strategies and medication management breakdowns moving forward.  With the advent of more value-based partnerships, such as the Hospital Inpatient Value-Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmission Reduction Programs, Congress and CMS hope to implement penalties on poorly performing hospitals.  As these hospitals narrow their partnership networks to limit the number of accrued penalties, it opens the window for a successful SNF to shine.

View Anne’s full blog post here.

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