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Tracing Referral Patterns with DHC Visuals

October 30, 2019 BY Rachel Grande

Tracing Referral Patterns with DHC Visuals

Welcome, visual learners. Last year, we added a new feature to our product suite called DHC Visuals—a graphically-engaging toolkit to help our customers better understand and interpret the information we have available in the Definitive Healthcare database. This new addition integrates a variety of intelligence from throughout our product into customizable dashboards, including technology vendor market share, financial comparisons, quality performance tracker, therapy area analytics, procedure area analytics, and referral area analytics.  

The referral area analytics dashboard uses interactive maps, charts, and tables to visually display referral patterns between hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities. This tool highlights relationships between hospitals and other long-term care providers—like skilled nursing facilities, hospices, and home health agencies—allowing users to segment the data by market, patient volumes, admission rates, and even DRG code. In addition, users can target specific facilities to learn about how they refer their patients and, in certain cases, where they may be receiving other patient referrals from.

Hospital referral patterns by region

2019-Infographic-Hospital-Referral-Patterns-by-Region

Fig 1 Infographic from Definitive Healthcare’s Expert Premium content platform. Data is sourced from the Medicare Standard Analytics File (SAF) for the 2017 claim year, the most recent available.

The DHC Visuals dashboards show a breakdown of referral patterns both by region and by state—providing users with a visual representation of referral volumes across the U.S. While both the Midwest and Southeast regions showed the greatest number of hospitals referring to long-term care facilities, the Southeast reported the highest referral volume overall. Of the nearly 5 million claims tracked in DHC Visuals, 1.47 million referrals were concentrated in the Southeast part of the country.

The Northeast and West regions showed similar numbers of hospitals referring to LTC facilities, but Western hospitals reported just over half the total number of claims—with only 661,000 total referrals made in 2017.

Number of hospital to LTC referrals by state

2019-Map-Number-of-Hospital-Referrals-to-LTCs-by-State

Fig 2 Map based on data from the DHC Visuals platform. Using 2017 Medicare claims data, the most recent available.

The above map shows total number of hospital referrals, with the greatest numbers predictably concentrated in the most populous states—including California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Interestingly, a more granular review of the individual hospitals making those referrals shows that half of the top ten facilities are in the Northeastern United States, and not primarily based in the southeast—as expected.

Not surprisingly, the table below also shows a correlation between referral volume and population density. All of the top 10 hospitals are situated in or near a large metropolitan area with high patient concentrations, leading to greater referral volumes at select facilities. 

Hospital Name Definitive ID City  State Total Referrals

AdventHealth Orlando

873

Orlando

FL

15,747

NY Presbyterian Weill Cornell Med Center

541974

New York

NY

12,166

Yale New Haven Hospital

731

New Haven

CT

11,905

Christiana Hospital

744

Newark

DE

11,248

Evanston Hospital

1154

Evanston

IL

10,292

Massachusetts General Hospital

1973

Boston

MA

10,239

Beaumont Hospital – Royal Oak

2066

Royal Oak

MI

9,814

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

430

Los Angeles

CA

9,267

Norton Hospital

1678

Louisville

KY

9,179

NYU Langone Tisch Hospital

2843

New York

NY

8,953

Those facilities referring the greatest numbers of patients to long-term care centers include hospitals in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts.  

Referral patterns by LTC facility type

On the DHC Visuals dashboard, users can trace inpatient hospital referrals to different long-term care facility types—highlighting referral patterns that are distinct from region to region.

In 2017, for instance, Midwestern hospitals referred their patients to more skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies than any other region. Definitive Healthcare tracks claims information for over 22,000 skilled nursing facilities and 15,200 home health agencies. Of these, hospitals in the Midwest referred patients to over 7,200 skilled nursing facilities, and nearly 4,200 home health agencies—almost 2,500 more referrals to these organization types than Southeastern hospitals.

LTCs with the most referrals from hospitals

The DHC Visuals dashboard also allows users to drill into specific hospitals or long-term care facilities for a more complete understanding of their referral patterns. The chart below shows the top ten long-term care centers by total number of hospital referrals:

LTC Definitive ID City  State Referrals

Visiting Nurse Service of NY Home Care

789940

New York

NY

19,366

Partners Healthcare at Home – Waltham

787273

Waltham

MA

10,830

Catholic Health Home Care

790984

Buffalo

NY

10,564

Northwell Health at Home

790985

Westbury

NY

8,519

VNA of Central Jersey Home Care

794361

Toms River

NJ

8,329

VITAS Hospice Office – Brevard

800223

Melbourne

FL

7,649

Advocate Home Health Care Services

790124

Lombard

IL

7,488

Beaumont Home Health Services

782218

Madison Heights

MI

6,572

Atlantic Home Care

794313

Morristown

NJ

6,495

Metropolitan Jewish Health System Home Care – NY

790349

Brooklyn

NY

5,918

Note: Compiled from Definitive Healthcare’s comprehensive platform—including referral analytics for long-term care centers. Based on 2017 Medicare claims data.

Other features within the referral area analytics dashboard offer an additional lens through which to target these specific facilities. On the Hospital and LTC Single Facility tabs, users can evaluate bidirectional referral patterns at the market and individual provider levels. This dashboard also distinguishes between referrals made to both in-network and out-of-network providers, and allows users to sort by facility type within each provider category.

Top 10 DRGs referred to long-term care centers

Sorting referral pattern data by DRG code is among one of the many search functions available on the DHC Visuals dashboard. The box chart below recreates a similar view from the referral analytics tool—tracking the most-used DRG codes in hospital referrals to long-term care centers.

2019-Box-Chart-Top-10-DRGs-Referred-to-LTCs

Fig 3 Box chart from the DHC Visuals dashboard. Data based on 2018 Medicare claims, the most recent available.

The size of the boxes displayed above are relative to the total number of patient referrals tracked. According to this chart, Major Joint Replacement or Reattachment of Lower Extremity made up the greatest number of patient referrals in 2018—with nearly one-quarter of a million hospital referrals to long-term care centers.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about how DHC Visuals and referral area analytics can help you understand referral patterns by patient volumes, admission rates, and DRG codes? Sign up for a free trial today to see how you can:

  • Utilize DHC Visuals customization and filtering tools
  • Analyze referral patterns at specific facilities
  • Access downloadable graphics to understand your target market

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