Screenshot

Kindred Healthcare will partner with a Kansas-based technology company to lower health care costs by improving the speed, accuracy and ease with which hospitals and other facilities share medical data.

When patients transfer from one health care facility to another, from a hospital to a rehab center, for example, even basic information, such as the patient’s medication regimen often cannot be shared easily, said Charlie Wardrip, Kindred’s chief information officer.

When health care providers lack basic information about incoming patients, they often have to manually inspect medical records and interview caregivers to make sure that the patients continue to receive the proper care and medications.

Charlie Wardrip

Better technology that enables providers to share data electronically would save labor costs and time and improve patient outcomes as providers can access critical information more quickly, Wardrip told Insider Thursday.

For health care providers such as Kindred, the importance of finding efficiencies is increasing as the health care industry, pushed by the federal government, switches to a value-based care model, where providers are paid for how well patients do, rather than how many procedures are thrust upon them by providers.

Wardrip said Kindred expects that with the help of Netsmart’s technology it can increase the efficiency and accuracy with which its hospitals and rehabilitation facilities can determine which treatment is the best option for which patient.

Kindred’s interest in working with Netsmart comes primarily because of the Kansas-based company’s technology platform. Wardrip said Kindred has an in-house developed electronic medical records system that is aging, and updating it to respond to quickly changing industry standards is becoming more difficult and outside of the company’s core competencies.

Wardrip said that access to Netsmart’s platform also will help Kindred overcome a primary hurdle that hinders effective information sharing: Many health care providers are using inefficient, aging and incompatible data systems.

He also said the partnership would allow Kindred to gain insights from Netsmart’s partners into the types of acute care that Kindred does not provide, including behavioral health and skilled nursing facilities.

The ability to gain and share information about patients also is getting more important because people receive a lot of their care outside of health care facilities, Wardrip said. And to be able to provide more effective care, providers generally also need to understand more about a patient’s life outside of hospital or rehabilitation center walls.

“You need to know a lot about that patient,” Wardrip said.

A 160-member team from both companies, including about 100 based in Louisville, will work together to develop the technology, based on Netsmart’s platform.

Wardrip said both companies are making a “significant investment” but he declined to provide details. In some cases, the products the partners will develop will remain proprietary, but others the partners will commercialize to offset some of their investments.

“We’re excited about this opportunity,” Wardrip said.

Kindred Healthcare LLC focuses on long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. It employs about 37,400 in 45 states and generates annual revenue of about $3.3 billion. It is owned by the private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

Kindred formerly was part of the publicly traded company Kindred Healthcare Inc., which was acquired this year by TPG, WCAS and Humana. The new owners split the company into two businesses, with Kindred at Home, of which Humana owns 40 percent, focusing on home health, hospice and community care.

[dc_ad size="9"] [dc_ad size="10"]
Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.