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Blog: Five Big Takeaways from the “Getting the Most out of the AM-PAC” Workshop

Written by: Mediware on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Posted in:

How the experts advise rehab providers get started collecting outcomes

On April 5, almost 90 people gathered on the campus of Boston University for the “Getting the Most Out of the AM-PAC:  Workshop for Clinical Users” event. The focus of the day was how rehab providers could use the AM-PAC to develop an outcomes program. Speakers ranged from academic researchers to clinical leaders. Throughout the day, best practice sharing was clearly on center stage.

Much of the day heavily focused on the question: “How can a rehab organization start and pursue a meaningful outcomes program?”

As an attendee, I made the following observations:

Implementing outcomes is all about change management

Every organization is perfectly structured to get the results it is currently getting. Introducing an outcomes program necessarily means new results, and that implies change. A significant portion of the discussion centered around how outcomes can provide new insights and, therefore, require changes in behavior and focus. This is a significant challenge to any program, but it’s one that leaders must take seriously to achieve success.

An outcomes program requires building alliances across many disciplines

Rehab leaders alone can’t force it to happen. Outcomes touch many disciplines, from therapies to case management to nursing and even physicians. Each of these disciplines will ultimately need its own voice in the design and implementation of the program. Further, data collection will be dependent upon IT and informatics, so the prudent strategy will be to engage a broad array of stakeholders to participate and contribute to the effort.

Start by asking questions

These questions will identify the necessary data to start collecting in pursuit of the program. The questions will engage stakeholders to support the process and become vested in the results. Don’t be surprised if the first set of answers only leads to more questions. This is the process of critical inquiry.

Don’t try to map out the entire process

Ask the first question and see what the data says. As it leads to more questions, the process may take surprising turns that open value points that were previously hidden from sight. Whether it is waste in the system that suddenly becomes obvious or an opportunity for workflow streamlining, it’s not possible to know from the outset what opportunities may present to improve your current process.

Once you build an expectation for data, others will tend to look to you

You don’t need to convince the entire organization to follow your lead. As you start to collect data and present the findings you are making, others will notice that you’re leading the pack. Naturally, others will want to leverage the data you have been collecting and an organizational standard may emerge because it’s easier to build onto it rather than start over every time a new question comes up.

The AM-PAC, as an activity measure, is uniquely positioned to anchor a post-acute care outcomes strategy. Because it is not linked specifically to a diagnosis or body part, it can be used in a broad range of applications, especially in post-acute care. This supports the strategic points above and makes the AM-PAC  functional in a wide range of applications.

A primary focus of discussion during the conference was on the AM-PAC in acute care rehab. But it was also shown as viable in home health and skilled nursing examples presented by panelists.

A significant number of conference attendees seemed interested in how to jump start the AM-PAC in their own organization. Many of the questions posed to the experts were oriented in understanding how to start up meaningful outcomes programs in participating organizations. This seems to be a point of interest across the industry and one that bears investigation and inquiry.

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