Lifespan demonstrates the power of community data through Rochester RHIO

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“For us to be able to use real data about hospitalization and ED (emergency department) use could completely transform the work Lifespan does,” said Ann Marie Cook, President and CEO, Lifespan.

Lifespan is in the midst of a big data project that is breaking down the barriers between traditional medical care and community-based aging services. In partnership with Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) and The New York Academy of Medicine, Lifespan is using an integrated approach to demonstrate how it improves the overall health of the people it serves (ages 60 and over).

“After people have been with us at least 90 days, they are staying out of the hospital and they are staying out of the emergency room; at a much better rate than before they were enrolled with us,” said Annie Wells, Director of Care Transitions, Lifespan.

The project is called Community Care Connections (CCC). Supported by a $2.5 million grant from the New York State Department of Health, Lifespan launched the Community Care Connections project in January 2016.

“The goal is to prove, quite frankly…whether social services and health care coordination have an impact on reducing ED visits and hospitalizations,” said Cook.

Founded in 1971, Lifespan’s sole mission is to help older adults take on both the challenges and opportunities of a longer life. The Community Care Connections project takes a look at how a person’s access to essentials like transportation, food, and shelter can positively impact a person’s health outlook.

What is the role of the Rochester RHIO? The RHIO securely receives the list of CCC project participants from Lifespan, matches the CCC participants with their number of hospitalizations and ED visits over a period of time, de-identifies the data, and sends it directly to The New York Academy of Medicine for further analysis and research. To date, there are over 700 participants in the program.

“This special data matching project that [Rochester] RHIO is assisting us with has been critical to demonstrating the effectiveness of our interventions,” said Wells. “Preliminary results are already showing a significant decrease in ED visits and hospitalizations.”

According to Lifespan, after one hospitalization, stats showed a 77% reduction in additional hospitalizations for program participants who are enrolled for at least 90 days.* In addition, after one emergency room visit, stats showed a 51% reduction in additional ED visits.* So far, the program is demonstrating a significant costs savings.

“For every dollar we spend, it generates savings of nearly $3.95 to the healthcare system, which really translates to [a savings of] $3.2 million,” said Cook.

Using data that is available through the community HIE instead of self-reported data has powerfully demonstrated the strength of the CCC program, which is available through Lifespan. It is one of 30 programs that Lifespan offers. For more information about Lifespan and the work that they do in their local community, go to

*Notes: (i) Estimates are based on The New York Academy of Medicine’s analysis of data provided from the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) and Lifespan. (ii) Data for 272 clients enrolled in CCC program between January and August 2016.

Disclosure: Ann Marie Cook is also a Rochester RHIO board member.



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