The Acute Care Continuum is the integration of urgent, emergent, inpatient and post-discharge care of patients with acute medical conditions.
By Christina Ballejos-Campos, PhD, RN; Andres Smith, MD; Pablo Velez, PhD, RN; Christine Basiliere, MSN, RN; and Sherri Navedo, MSN, RN
Sharp HealthCare of San Diego has been working toward an important goal: to provide all emergency department (ED) patients presenting with long bone fractures appropriate pain medication within 30 minutes. When they surveyed EDs across the system, they found one that was already taking an innovative approach to the problem.
In 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out its first emergency department (ED) core measure set. This was the start of a new era in which EDs played a key role in helping their organizations meet national quality goals. A high-performing ED was suddenly necessary in order to maintain accreditation, compete for patients and receive full annual update payments under CMS' Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (HIQR) program. New ED measures have been added to the program each year.
On my first day of medical school, during introductory lectures, the dean said something that seemed a little radical:
"At least 50 percent of everything we teach you in the next four years is going to be proven wrong at some point in the future. The only problem is, we don't know which 50 percent that is."
Those words are particularly salient today as our system begins its shaky transition away from fee-for-service toward population health management. Today's physicians must adapt and evolve not only clinically, but in the realm of care delivery as well.
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