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In long term care, securely transferring sensitive data can be a challenge, primarily because of the vast amount of data that is passed between healthcare providers and caregivers. Recent advancements in technology, such as ADT message systems (Admission Discharge Transfer), have improved data exchange, as data is now stored and transferred electronically rather than in paper form

For years, healthcare providers experienced information transfer delays and inaccurate data entries, leading to a poor continuum of care, disorganized data records, inefficient data collection processes, and poor patient care. 

Then, in 1987, the Health Level Seven International (HL7) — a not-for-profit organization — developed a comprehensive framework to guide healthcare providers with an international set of standards so electronic health information can better support clinical processes. 

HL7’s primary concern is for caregivers to securely access and use resident health data whenever and wherever needed, ultimately setting standards that provide healthcare providers with data interoperability. 

The standards determined by HL7 are much easier observed when facilities implement long term care software systems with built-in ADT message systems. Such organizations have seen significant improvement in the efficiency of data exchange, integration, sharing, and information retrieval. This is because an efficient ADT nursing system gives a snapshot of a resident’s ADT records and sorts resident data into five easy-to-view categories:

A physician is checking the facility's ADT message systems to make sure resident data is accurate.
ADT message systems (Admission Discharge Transfer) improve data exchange in healthcare.
  • Census Information such as location, dates, level of care, bed type, and bed hold
  • Reimbursement Information detailing each resident’s insurance payors
  • Clinical Information including residents’ diagnoses, physician orders, and allergies 
  • Personal Contacts Information such as next of kin, guarantor, and power of attorney
  • Additional Information that allows caregivers to write specific comments and user-defined fields, such as referral source, veteran status, and hobbies. This enables caregivers to provide more personalized care and arrange for special projects or activities for the residents. 

Cloud-based ADT message systems can now be synched with handheld devices, giving caregivers access to a resident’s medical data on the go. There has also been considerable improvement in data entry accuracy as well as improved data organization. 

ADT message systems have been so effective that they have become the go-to data source for long term care facilities. With capabilities that allow for better care coordination, caregivers can access resident data at the point of care, positively impacting their treatment decisions. Healthcare providers use ADT messages regularly to deliver data for multiple uses, such as admissions, cancellation of admits, and the merging of resident data.

The Different ADT Message Types

ADT messages are usually triggered when a resident’s status changes. ADT message types cover a range of events and share critical clinical information like: 

  • A resident’s status and whether they are admitted, discharged, transferred, and any applicable status changes
  • A resident’s personal and demographic information such as their name, insurance coverage, next of kin, and attending doctor 
  • A resident’s clinical information including their medical history and medical record number

Some of the most common of the fifty-one different ADT message types are:

A nurse is reading through the different ADT message to check for critical information.
ADT message types cover a range of events and critical information.
  • ADT-A01 – patient admit
  • ADT-A02 – patient transfer
  • ADT-A03 – patient discharge
  • ADT-A04 – patient registration
  • ADT-A05 – patient pre-admission
  • ADT-A08 – patient information update
  • ADT-A11 – cancel patient admit
  • ADT-A12 – cancel patient transfer

It is worth noting that ADT messages can be extended if facilities collect additional data, thus, allowing them to streamline and manage their treatment processes better.

According to their state’s specifications, facilities may have variations in ADT message types. However, these specifications are primarily based on the HL7 standards. For example, healthcare providers in Missouri are encouraged to follow these recommended guidelines when sending ADT messages.

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How Admission Discharge Transfer Messages Are Used

Efficient long term care software systems have a built-in admission discharge transfer nursing module that gives facilities a comprehensive view of critical resident-specific demographics and related financial data stored in the cloud-based system. A state-of-the-art ADT message system guides staff members to relevant information by showing useful summaries with critical information. For example, clinical summaries will communicate a resident’s progress notes, user-defined assessments, care plans, and physician orders to clinical staff.

The financial team, meanwhile, will receive HL7 ADT message notifications that provide a helpful snapshot of each resident’s financial information, detailing any outstanding balances, the number of Medicare days remaining, and payor information. 

A physician looking at the admission discharge transfer messages to check resident-specific demographics.
Admission discharge transfer messages give facilities data on resident-specific demographics and financial data.

The ability to access, transfer, and share resident information electronically has been a game-changer for healthcare providers. ADT message types foster better communication and maximum security when resident information is shared between caregivers and providers while also improving the continuum of care. Well-designed ADT event types will include a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) shared electronically. It usually comes in a standardized format and can be converted to a PDF, making it easier to save and send to other providers.

Yet another advantage of an ADT Message is that healthcare providers can maintain a high level of care even during transfers by using the CCD, a standard document used as part of health record data during patient transfers.

Technological advancements like ADT messages dramatically improve clinical outcomes by transferring valuable information across healthcare providers, different departments, and between staff. Other advantages of ADT messages include:

  • Better Organization of Care: ADT messages provide detailed information about a resident’s health. This allows caregivers to better monitor residents’ health with better-organized data.
  • Real-time Notifications: The ability to leverage ADT messages during the point of care allows caregivers to stay updated with any changes in health conditions.
  • Higher Quality of Care: ADT messages can be extracted from the facility’s care plan software. Therefore, caregivers can analyze and generate more accurate reports for residents, thus improving the quality of care.

If facilities want to coordinate care better, having an efficient long term care software system with a built-in ADT message system will prove to be invaluable for providers and patients.

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