Electronic Medical Record Linkages
The sharing of patient information through electronic medical records (EMRs) means that a patient’s history can be more easily referenced and analyzed by providers. Coordination and information exchange helps to ensure quality, safety, and continuity of care, and can lead to better outcomes.
Per Health Affairs, less than 40% of providers share data—among those, just 14% share information with external organizations. Of those providers, 35 percent share information within their organization, but only 14 percent share information with providers outside their organization.
Hospitals don’t just make sick people better; they play an increasingly vital role in the overall health of their communities. Hospitals that forge partnerships with local organizations are better positioned to reach vulnerable and at-risk populations and improve the health of their communities.
In Approaches to Population Health in 2015: A National Survey of Hospitals, the Health Research & Educational Trust, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, found that about a third of U.S. hospitals report at least one collaboration or alliance with an outside organization, with 26.2% of hospitals collaborating with 10 or more organizations. Activities have included:
- Hospitals hosting farmers markets on their campuses to provide fresh produce
- Education about healthy eating
- Free on-site health screenings
Practice Laws for Nurse Practitioners
Nurses have the potential to play a vital role in improving the quality, accessibility, and value of health care, and ultimately health in the community. Laws that allow nurse practitioners to provide a broader, more complete set of primary care services can not only bring down the cost of care, but increase efficiency in routine cases, especially at times when there are fewer doctors to treat the growing number of people with health insurance coverage.
As of March 2015, only 21 states, including Washington D.C., have full practice laws for nurses. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners provides data and resources that can be used to advocate for more expansive laws that can lead to more efficient, effective care.
Social Spending Relative to Health Expenditure
Currently, health care spending in the U.S. exceeds our social spending, yet our population is no healthier as a result. When the U.S. better balances and integrates social and health care services, we should see more people living healthier lives.
Social spending, which supports vulnerable and low-resource populations, is important to monitor. According to the Social Expenditure Database, the ratio of social spending to health expenditure in the U.S. is around 1:1, compared to 2:1 in industrialized countries with better health outcomes.
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Social Expenditure Database, 2012; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group, 2015