Nursing Homes Disclose Underreporting COVID-19 Cases for Lack of Data-Sharing Technology, Black Book Provider Survey

Every post-acute executive surveyed insisted that interoperability tools and database access among government agencies and providers would radically improve their ability to contain COVID-19 in nursing homes

Black Book™ surveyed 880 providers from 41 states of long-term care (nursing homes, hospitals, short-term rehabilitation facilities, home health services, durable medical equipment/DME distributors, skilled nursing and sub-acute facilities, and hospices) to help stakeholders make strategic decisions in addressing the demand for post-acute services in the current environment of the highly contagious disease.

Ninety-six percent of nursing and clinical staff surveyed stated they believe their facility may no longer be the best place to house susceptible elderly patients.  

With 1.5 million residents in the nation’s long-term care facilities, there are no massive housing alternatives but to step up surveillance and regularly test employees and prohibit the facilities’ entry from all others. Nursing home visitors are now forbidden and staff is screened routinely, according to 92% of the respondent administrators.

Even with current visitor restrictions, employees and supplemental staff regularly move in and out of the facilities, significantly increasing the contacts to the COVID-19 virus.

A big concern of 90% of administrators surveyed is, because of scarce nursing personnel, nursing homes are forced to employ agency and per-diem clinical staff, of which they have no validation system to check their exposure status.

“Agency nurses and aides often merely attest to where they’ve worked previously that week but there is no employer database to verify the contagious locations these nurses and aides have been,” noted Doug Brown, President of the healthcare industry polling organization Black Book.   

Citing another lack of post-acute technology, 100% of administrators confirmed there is not a database that can be accessed by long-term care providers to self-report or investigate what facilities have cared for COVID patients and residents. “There is no private or public system in place for post-acute providers to help share this information,” said Brown.

Ninety-eight percent of admissions directors in post-acute care facilities also stated that hospitals are discharging recovered COVID patients into long-term rehab and subacute care without current testing results that the patient is negative at the time of admission to rehabilitation.

In October 2019, Black Book reported that 86% of post-acute care providers were not exchanging health information electronically with referring hospitals, physicians or home health providers (indicating there were no improvements in data sharing with other providers as compared to the Q3 2017 survey).

“The enormous disconnect between the post-acute world and the rest of the continuum is not correcting as the industry had hoped,” said Brown. “Finding ways to improve communications between disparate acute care EHRs and post-acute technology is a pressing problem for overlooked and detached providers, evidenced greatly in this crisis.”

Six percent of skilled nursing facilities and residential long-term care centers report daily use of an electronic health record in March 2020, which has fallen from 14% in October 2019.

Eleven percent of post-acute organizations planned to acquire some form of workflow, connectivity and/or data analysis tools in 2020, but nearly all said they will table those projects for the coming 12 months due to either lack of funds or staff resources.

About Black Book

Black Book™, its founders, management and staff do not own or hold any financial interest in any of the vendors covered and encompassed in the surveys it conducts. Black Book reports the results of the collected satisfaction and client experience rankings in publication and to media prior to vendor notification of rating results and does not solicit vendor participation fees, review fees, inclusion or briefing charges, and/or vendor collaboration as Black Book polls vendors’ clients.

Since 2004, Black Book™ has polled vendor satisfaction across more than 30 industries in the software and services sectors around the globe. Black Book’s mission is to improve healthcare delivery by expanding the stakeholder’s voice from the frontline employee, IT and financial managers, clinical and nursing staff through the C-Suite and Board, as well as healthcare consumers.

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Source: Black Book Research