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Impact of event notification services on timely follow-up and rehospitalization among primary care patients at two Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Dixon BE, Judon KM, Schwartzkopf AL, Guerrero VM, Koufacos NS, May J, Schubert CC, Boockvar KS. Impact of event notification services on timely follow-up and rehospitalization among primary care patients at two Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA. 2021 Nov 25; 28(12):2593-2600.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of event notification service (ENS) alerts on health care delivery processes and outcomes for older adults. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We deployed ENS alerts in 2 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers using regional health information exchange (HIE) networks from March 2016 to December 2019. Alerts targeted VA-based primary care teams when older patients (aged 65+ years) were hospitalized or attended emergency departments (ED) outside the VA system. We employed a concurrent cohort study to compare postdischarge outcomes between patients whose providers received ENS alerts and those that did not (usual care). Outcome measures included: timely follow-up postdischarge (actual phone call within 7 days or an in-person primary care visit within 30 days) and all-cause inpatient or ED readmission within 30 days. Generalized linear mixed models, accounting for clustering by primary care team, were used to compare outcomes between groups. RESULTS: Compared to usual care, veterans whose primary care team received notification of non-VA acute care encounters were 4 times more likely to have phone contact within 7 days (AOR? = 4.10, P? < .001) and 2 times more likely to have an in-person visit within 30 days (AOR? = 1.98, P? = .007). There were no significant differences between groups in hospital or ED utilization within 30 days of index discharge (P? = .057). DISCUSSION: ENS was associated with increased timely follow-up following non-VA acute care events, but there was no associated change in 30-day readmission rates. Optimization of ENS processes may be required to scale use and impact across health systems. CONCLUSION: Given the importance of ENS to the VA and other health systems, this study provides guidance for future research on ENS for improving care coordination and population outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02689076. "Regional Data Exchange to Improve Care for Veterans After Non-VA Hospitalization." Registered February 23, 2016.

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