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Post-acute care is becoming a hot topic as the healthcare industry struggles to adapt to the challenges posed by aging populations and spiraling costs.
When a patient is discharged from a hospital after surgery, they often require a period of rehabilitation. In some cases, they can recover at home. In other instances, they may need specialist treatment at a post-acute care facility for several days, weeks or even months.
Finding the right facility for each patient is a time-consuming process for healthcare providers. And, if a suitable facility can’t be found quickly, it can delay the discharge process. Moreover, if the selected facility or treatment plan turns out to be a bad fit for a particular patient, it may take them longer to recover.
A longer stay doesn’t just mean increased costs for payers and providers. It also keeps patients away from their family and out of their home environment for longer, which can have a significant physical, mental and emotional cost.
Finding a better way
At Profility, we’ve found a better way to help healthcare organizations manage post-acute care. Instead of relying on care plans designed for the “average patient,” we use sophisticated algorithms to profile each individual patient and match them against a vast data set of post-acute care information.
Our solution identifies the treatment pathways that have been most successful for similar patients in the past and recommends facilities that can offer the most appropriate care for each person while keeping them as close to their home and family as possible.
As we were building the solution, we realized that a cloud-based architecture would be the most cost-effective and low-maintenance option. However, since we need to store highly sensitive patient information, we needed a cloud platform that was built from the ground up for security and compliance.
We took our ideas to the IBM Alpha Zone, and worked with senior IBM architects to design a solution using IBM Cloud technologies. The result was a solution that has helped us achieve full compliance with HIPAA and other relevant data privacy and security regulations.
To store the medical records of the patients we need to match, we use IBM Cloudant. As a NoSQL document store, it’s an ideal platform for the semi-structured, variable format of these records, and it scales seamlessly across multiple nodes to provide all the performance, scalability and resilience we need.
Meanwhile, to run our core back-end applications, we use IBM WebSphere Application Server, a slim Java runtime that is perfect for cloud deployments.
Personalizing post-acute care
With support from IBM, we were able to make the leap from an initial prototype to a full production system in the IBM Cloud within just a few weeks, enabling us to start building relationships with clients and delivering value almost immediately.
Our first clients have been using the Profility platform for six or seven months, and they are already seeing very promising results. We’re confident that the solution will empower healthcare professionals to accelerate the post-acute care planning process, helping hospitals avoid delays in the discharge process.
Moreover, by recommending the most appropriate care pathways, our solution helps patients rehabilitate in facilities that offer the best care for their individual needs. As a result, payers and providers are starting to see a reduction in the average length of stay in post-acute care facilities, and a lower rate of readmission, which should ultimately result in significant cost savings.
Above all, our solution helps patients get the support they need to regain their health faster and get home to their families sooner.
Read the case study for more details.