ABOUT Healthcare Recognized for Frost & Sullivan 2021 Customer Value Leadership Award
United States Hospital Patient Access and Transfer Orchestration Industry Excellence in Best Practices
Best Practices Criteria for World‐Class Performance
Frost & Sullivan applies a rigorous analytical process to evaluate multiple nominees for each award category before determining the final award recipient. The process involves a detailed evaluation of best practices criteria across two dimensions for each nominated company. ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. excels in many of the criteria in the hospital patient access and transfer orchestration space.
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Transforming Patient Intake
Large hospitals and health systems typically receive referrals from primary care physicians and surrounding healthcare institutions that lack specific care services or capabilities required to care for some patients. Such health systems have transfer and access centers – some automated and some manual ‐‐ managing patient transfers into their system. These centers identify an accepting physician of the right specialty, expertise, and availability and coordinate all steps of the workflow required to bring the patient in for the appropriate level of care. As simple as this may sound, it is actually a complex process that needs significant coordination, especially as some large health systems deal with tens of thousands of patient referrals and transfers a year across multiple facilities. The cost of having an inefficient transfer system can mean a delay in patient care, an increase in the average length of stay, an increase in readmissions, and suboptimal patient outcomes. It can also mean denying incoming patients, leading clinicians to seek other hospitals (patient leakage) ‐‐ resulting in revenue loss for the health system. Some US hospitals’ transfer centers still operate with paper and excel charts, which is not a scalable approach, and prevents revenue growth for these hospitals. Those using digital means still face challenges in terms of the average amount of time taken to complete the transfer process due to a lack of integrated systems and friction in the process, which can run from hours to even a day.
ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. (formerly Central Logic) was founded in 2005 and that same year launched the world’s first purpose‐built software for managing complex patient transfers; and they have been successful ever since. Based in Minnesota, the company counts the likes of Banner Health, Emory Healthcare, and Mount Sinai as its customers. ABOUT helps all health system customers operate as a single entity regardless of size, geographic spread, or number of hospitals. This is exemplified in the case of Banner Health, one of the largest non‐profit health systems in the United States operating 28 hospitals, several physician groups, long‐term care centers, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care centers, family clinics, home care and hospice services, and pharmacies across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. Its dedicated Transfer Services manages upwards of 70,000 referrals a year, which includes 34,000 transfers from community hospitals and competing hospitals. Transfer volumes for the system were at 13.7% in 2016, but declined to an abysmal 2.4% in just two years. Banner Health was losing up to 600 patients monthly due to slow transfer approvals and admissions, resulting in a loss of up to $40 million annually. Within six months of implementing the ABOUT suite of solutions, Banner Health estimated adding 3,308 patients annually. With an estimated margin of $8,000 per patient, this added $26.4 million in revenue for the system. In other words, Banner Health’s redesigned access center paid for itself in just 152 days.
ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. offers not only a purpose‐built, interoperable, and dedicated software solution for patient access management, but healthcare access and orchestration solutions that place emphasis on driving cultural change and operational efficiencies. Additionally, what sets ABOUT Healthcare apart from others is their expertise in change management. Technology in and of itself will not correct problems associated with efficient patient access and orchestration. The ABOUT Clinical Operational Consulting team uses benchmarking & best practice methodologies, along with real‐time data and analytics, to establish standardized workflows ensuring continuous quality and process improvement. Their goal is to ensure every transfer — whether it’s to or from an acute or post‐acute care setting — should occur without delay, without compromise, and without exceptions.
ABOUT also positions itself as more than a solution supplier by being a partner to providers. Dr. Ramin Yazdanfar, Transfer Center Medical Director at UPMC Pinnacle, identifies ABOUT as a partner and not just another software company. ABOUT has helped him and UPMC Pinnacle along every step of their journey to establishing a streamlined patient transfer solution. In his experience, the experts from ABOUT, unlike other major vendors, were just a phone call away and dedicated to addressing every query they had.
Unlike electronic health record (EHR) and/or bed management vendors, the core strengths of the ABOUT suite of solutions focuses on optimizing transfer centers, patient outcomes, and revenue. For competitors, this is often a secondary service and not their core expertise – which is one of the reasons UPMC Pinnacle selected ABOUT. Specifically, the ABOUT solutions’ advantages for the health system include a user‐friendly interface, smooth integration with the EHR, , ability to generate reports without information technology assistance, included clinical and operational consulting services, and customization options for workflows, scripts, and reports to address unique needs.
One of the most important features of the offering from ABOUT is how it is backed by a risk‐sharing agreement, which reflects the confidence ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. has in its solution.
Frost & Sullivan applauds ABOUT Healthcare, Inc.’s dedicated focus in solving a major, but often unrecognized issue of patient transfer and access with an approach that builds its brand as a trusted partner in delivering quantifiable results and driving revenue growth and improved patient outcomes for health systems.
Expanded Solution Horizons
Not one to rest on its laurels, ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. is keen to solve broader health system issues in patient flow in and out of the system. While competitors offer command center solutions that help manage patient flow issues within the walls of a hospital or health system, ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. provides a patient access solution with the ability to orchestrate the flow into and out of the hospital–bookending a command center’s role and filling an industry gap.
After an acute‐care episode at the health system, patients usually leave for their own homes or are transferred to a skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or long‐term care facility. Similar to patient access, deciding which facility a patient can move to upon discharge is a lengthy and inefficient process that involves helping patients choose the right kind of facility and specific center and ensuring the chosen location can accept patients. Much of the process is done through phone calls, which further lengthens the process. These can often result in hours of delay, minimizing the availability of beds the hospital has for other patients. To address this specific challenge, ABOUT acquired Ensocare at the end of 2020. The Ensocare solution was integrated into the ABOUT orchestration engine in 2021 and automates inpatient referrals to post‐acute care facilities and is connected to more than 50,000 facilities across the country, helping it secure placement confirmations within 30 minutes on average. Ensocare also provides administrative support to health systems to hasten the discharge process to such facilities and helps improve patient experience by allowing patients and their families to choose from a list of curated facilities based on geographic proximity, star ratings, and virtual assessments of the facilities online. This accelerates post‐acute care processing, translating to enhanced bed capacity for hospitals and higher revenue generation. ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. prioritizes top‐line revenue growth, which is a key differentiator from existing command centers that focus more on bottom‐line optimization.
Another challenge that health systems face is the transportation of patients in and out of the health system, which requires manual coordination to schedule the appropriate mode of transport for patients. To address this area of inefficiency, ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. acquired Acuity Link, a transportation communications and logistics management software vendor, in January 2021 and integrated it into the ABOUT orchestration engine. Acuity Link’s Intelligent Transport capability can help the ABOUT suite of solutions automatically book ground ambulance, air medical helicopter, or ground transport through ride‐sharing companies for emergency care or patient transfer to post‐acute care facilities or even their own homes. The software solution also enables automatic requests to be sent to durable medical equipment suppliers for them to send requisite equipment directly to patients’ homes. This automatic transport scheduling capability overcomes another area of concern in the broader patient access and transfer orchestration segment.
With the Ensocare and Acuity Link acquisitions integrated into the ABOUT orchestration engine, ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. can now offer an end‐to‐end patient flow and capacity management solution to health systems, providing patient transfer services, real‐time visibility into bed capacity, patient discharge coordination, and transportation automation support for patient inflow and outflow. This systemic approach helps hospital systems expand their draw and extend their reach by improving referral acceptance times, removing process friction, and speeding each patient to the next and best care setting – without delay. Improved patient outcomes and patient and clinician satisfaction are also indirect benefits. Most importantly, this comprehensive solution positions ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. as a leading solution vendor over its EHR and bed management competitors.
Frost & Sullivan commends the ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. vision and execution in truly solving health system administrative and care transition challenges associated with patient flow management that is often unacknowledged.
ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. started from offering a leading, dedicated patient access and transfer solution. Today, ABOUT offers a flexible, purpose‐built solution that empowers hospitals and health systems to operate as one connected network of care. They enable easy access for clinicians to move patients into and out of the acute care setting ‐ getting them to the next, best care setting faster and easier. Complemented by their clinical experts and best practices, they provide health systems the necessary controls and insights to grow with resilience, drive clinician effectiveness, and improve patient outcomes.
With its strong overall performance, ABOUT Healthcare, Inc. earns Frost & Sullivan’s 2021 United States Customer Value Leadership Award in the hospital patient access and transfer orchestration industry.