Dori A. Cross PhD, Jeffrey S. McCullough Ph.D., Jane Banaszak‐Holl, Julia Adler‐Milstein Ph.D.
To assess whether an electronic health record (EHR) portal to enable health information exchange (HIE) between a hospital and three skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) reduced likelihood of patient readmission.
Secondary data; all discharges from a large academic medical center to SNFs between July 2013 and March 2017, combined with portal usage records from SNFs with HIE access.
We use difference‐in‐differences to determine whether portal implementation reduced likelihood of readmission over time for patients discharged to HIE‐enabled SNFs, relative to those discharged to nonenabled facilities. Additional descriptive analyses of audit log data characterize portal use within enabled facilities.
Encounter‐level clinical EHR data were merged with EHR audit log data that captured portal usage in the timeframe associated with a patient transition from hospital to SNF.
Declines in likelihood of 30‐day readmission were not significantly different for patients in HIE‐enabled vs control SNFs (diff‐in‐diff = 0.022; = .431). We observe similar null effects with shorter readmission windows. The portal was used for 46 percent of discharges, with significant usage pattern variation within/across facilities.
Implementation of a hospital‐SNF EHR portal did not reduce readmissions from enabled SNFs. Emergent HIE use cases need to be better defined and leveraged for design and implementation that generates value in the context of postacute transitions.