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6 core measures mark success for autism outpatient clinic

Hospital for Special Care (New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.A.) is addressing the healthcare needs of a growing segment of its community, people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In Connecticut, ASD affect more than 5,000 children under the age of 21, and current research suggests that number will continue to rise.

The Hospital for Special Care observed that though there are many agencies and groups providing specific services, there was little coordination between health care and other components, such as education, vocation and family support. It created The Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care, an outpatient clinic that provides a variety of diagnostic, assessment and consulting services for children and adolescents with ASD.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently recognized The Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care as the first outpatient clinic of its kind to earn Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) designation. The hospital used Allscripts Sunrise™ to meet the six core measures of specialty practice standards, each with multiple weighted elements and factors:

  1. Track and coordinate referrals

Hospital for Special Care clearly delineated the role of specialty practitioners and primary care providers and set clear expectations for roles and communications. As part of this process, the organization improved processes so it could accommodate urgent visits within 48 hours.

  1. Provide access and communication

For patients with ASD, communication can be a struggle. It’s important to remove as many barriers as possible. For example, The Hospital for Special Care arranged to have an on-demand video interpreter service available to both parents and caregivers in their language of choice.

  1. Identify and coordinate patient populations

As part of meeting this measure, Hospital for Special Care worked closely with area labs to better coordinate care. Parents of children with ASD are often reluctant to take them to labs because of their anxiety of unfamiliar surroundings and behavioral challenges. Now, there is a registered nurse who serves as care coordinator for these families to improve the experience and coordinate care.

  1. Plan and manage care

Hospital for Special Care wanted to improve collaborations with other specialists to assess barriers and reduce redundancy in provision of care. This includes medication reconciliation, which is an important step. Engaging physicians and evaluating medications help caregivers design better care plans.

  1. Track and coordinate care

For this measure, Hospital for Special Care used Sunrise to track follow-up appointments, tests, referrals, care transitions and hospitalizations. When the risk factor for patients becomes a concern, a psychiatrist can intervene, helping patients avoid unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions.

  1. Measure and improve performance

Collecting data through Sunrise helped Hospital for Special Care improve a number of clinical processes and patient experiences. For example, it set a goal that patients would wait no longer than 10 business days between the referral and first appointment. At first, only 18% of appointments met that measure. With information from Sunrise, the organization targeted specific actions to improve that number to 45% in a short period of time.

Congratulations to Hospital for Special Care on its achievement as the first autism center in the United States to achieve the PCSP certification. To learn more about Sunrise, visit our website.

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