Alaska moves to new network to aid care coordination

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The State of Alaska has become the 13th state to go live on a network platform from Collective Medical Technologies to improve care coordination and patient outcomes.

With implementation of the network, the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association also is on board, as well as the Alaska Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“Having a system allowing us to communicate in real-time on emergency department visits and care plans for complex patients has been a dream in Alaska for years,” says Anne Zink, MD, medical director at Mat-Su Emergency Physicians in Palmer, Alaska. The practice is affiliated with 39-bed Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, which went live this month.

The platform, integrated with existing provider workflows that include the emergency department track board, pushes actionable information to providers when high-risk patients come in for care, giving an immediate perspective of the patient without the need to search through clinical records. Patients and physicians are the biggest benefactors of the platform, Zink asserts.

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A wide range of stakeholders will have access to the platform—they include care coordinators, primary care physicians, specialists, pediatricians, rare disease specialists and even state troopers.

The impetus for the platform started when Alaska’s Medicaid program started looking to decrease its spending, which compelled providers to improve patient outcomes in anticipation of lower Medicaid reimbursements.

Over time, the platform will support Mat-Su Emergency Physicians’ migration to becoming an accountable care organization. Alaska adopted the platform after seeing impressive patient care results in Washington, where care teams achieved a 9.9 percent reduction in overall emergency department Medicaid visits, a 10.7 percent cut in ED use among frequently returning patients, a 14.2 percent reduction in low-acuity emergency visits and a 24 percent cut in narcotic prescriptions from emergency departments.

Oregon, which adopted the Collective Medical Technologies platform in 2014, also experienced reduced utilization of emergency department visits as well as a 49 percent reduction in inpatient admissions.

Alaska hospitals are absorbing the cost of the platform, although efforts are being made to offer funds to the smallest hospitals in the state either by larger facilities or via a federal grant, Zink says.

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