Incorporating home healthcare nurses' admission information needs to inform data standards

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020 Aug 1;27(8):1278-1286. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocaa087.


Objective: Patient transitions into home health care (HHC) often occur without the transfer of information needed for critical clinical decisions and the plan of care. Owing to a lack of universally implemented standards, there is wide variation in information transfer. We sought to characterize missing information at HHC admission.

Materials and methods: We conducted a mixed methods study with 3 diverse HHC agencies. Focus groups with nurses at each agency identified what information supports patient care decisions at admission. Thirty-six in-home admissions with associated documentation review determined the available information. To inform information standards development for the HHC admission process, we compared the types of information desired and available to an international standard for transitions in care information, the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) enhanced with Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology summary terms (CCD/S).

Results: Three-quarters of the items from the focus groups mapped to the CCD/S. Regarding available information at admission, no observation included all CCD/S data items. While medication information was needed and often available for 4 important decisions, concepts related to patient medication self-management appeared in neither the CCD/S nor the admission documentation.

Discussion: The CCD/S mostly met HHC nurses' information needs and is recommended to begin to fill the current information gap. Electronic health record recommendations include use of a data standard: the CCD or the proposed, more parsimonious U.S. Core Data for Interoperability.

Conclusions: Referral source and HHC agency adoption of data standards is recommended to support structured, consistent data and information sharing.

Keywords: communication; continuity of patient care/standards; decision-making; documentation; home health care nursing; home health nursing; nursing informatics.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards
  • Data Accuracy*
  • Electronic Health Records / standards*
  • Focus Groups
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Home Health Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Informatics / standards*
  • Patient Admission*
  • Reference Standards