Joann Sciandra Outlines Technologies Having the Biggest Impact on ACOs

Joann Sciandra, RN, BSN, CCM, associate vice president of healthcare management, Geisinger Health System, discusses which technologies are having the biggest impact for accountable care organizations (ACOs) in better managing the needs of their patients.

What technologies are having the biggest impacts for ACOs in better managing the needs of their patients?

There’s several technologies that we at our KACO [Keystone ACO] are using right now, and it varies patient to patient. One of the big things with technology is it has to be the right fit for the patient. Something we’re using right now is called IVR, which is called interactive voice response. Our patients, when they go to the hospital, on discharge, we let them know that we really care about them and they’re going to receive a phone call within 24 to 48 hours with a series of questions. This has been very helpful for us because there’s groups of patients—we stratify our patients—and some of our patients really need high-touch, frequent contact, home visits. But then you have the stratification of patients that are still at risk for readmission but the risk isn’t at great. But how we wrap our arms around them? So, interactive voice response has been very helpful for us. The patients get a series of questions. If they get in trouble, they can answer the question, or at the end, it will say, “Do you want to speak with a case manager?” So, we’re able to really connect them with a case manager.

The other technology that we’ve been using are Bluetooth scales. Our patients with heart failure everyday jump on a scale, and that goes out to a care counsel. So our case managers are able to monitor their weights day by day. They work very closely with a primary care physician, with a cardiologist. What’s nice about this Bluetooth technology is we have the ability to see the weights day by day, and we can trend it. The other thing we can do is we can set limits. We know every patient’s different, and we don’t want to have a cook book recipe for all of our patients. So we work with our providers are we set trigger points for patients and then based on those trigger points is when we contact those patients.