Philadelphia, Pa., July 15, 2018 — MANNA (the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance) has become a participating member of HealthShare Exchange (HSX), and is now receiving important medical updates from HSX on its clients. This new partnership will permit MANNA to stay more up to date on the health status and food-as-medicine needs of its clients.
MANNA is the well-established and widely respected Philadelphia nonprofit focusing on delivering nourishment to persons of modest means who are battling life-threatening illnesses. HSX is the regional nonprofit health information exchange serving Greater Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, including southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Collaboration between these two organizations will help to guide modifications in the nutritional support services provided to ill low-income patients. With the daily updates from HSX, MANNA will now know when its clients have had a healthcare event involving an encounter with a medical center, and will be able to adjust services to these individuals accordingly.
“Taking advantage of HealthShare Exchange’s data feed will allow us to be an even more-active ongoing partner in our clients’ medical status. We look forward to using these real-time updates coming from HSX to ensure that our clients’ needs are met quickly and efficiently,” says Nicole Laverty, RD, LDN, Director, Nutrition & Client Services at MANNA.
The food alliance now subscribes to HSX’s Encounter Notification service, which provides electronic alerts to MANNA when one of its clients has a healthcare encounter at one of the region’s medical facilities. With knowledge of these healthcare encounters and the reasons for them, the community organization can reach out to patients in a more timely fashion and tailor nutrition services for individuals accordingly.
“One of our challenges has been to stay informed on the condition of each of our clients, so that we can better help them,” says Ann Hoskins, MANNA’s Director of Policy & Institutional Affairs. “We’ve had a significant need, for example, for more timely data on patient visits to the hospital, especially their interface with emergency departments.”
Now, MANNA will not only know about these events but will be able to query additional detail on the health status of their clients by accessing HSX’s Clinical Data Repository. This service offers a portal to a database of more detailed reports on recent patient medical care, in a standardized format called Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs). These documents carry vital information, including type and location of hospital admission, diagnosis, discharge status, allergies, and medication list. With this insight, the dieticians and other staff members at MANNA can update a client’s indicated diet and required food restrictions, as well as their delivery schedule, in prompt coordination with the person’s medical care. Furthermore, MANNA will provide data back to HSX, including nutritional updates that can become part of the patient’s medical record in the regional data repository.
“We’re thrilled that, in this way, we can help MANNA’s staff to become an even better-informed and more crucial part of the care team of these chronically or severely sick patients in Philadelphia,” says Daniel Wilt, HSX’s Senior Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Security Officer. “We’ve come together with MANNA because we support their mission and because our two organizations believe, as we’ve said, that ‘data plus food equal better outcomes.’”
MANNA, with its food-as-medicine mantra, has received special media attention recently for its collaboration with another HSX member — Health Partners Plans (HPP), a regional Medicaid/Medicare insurance-benefit manager. Since 2015, MANNA has delivered more than 560,000 meals to more than 2,100 HPP members suffering from illnesses that include diabetes, heart disease, malnutrition, and kidney failure. Results from this first-of-its-kind partnership in Pennsylvania show lower HbA1c scores for 26 percent of diabetic members and decreased utilization and costs for inpatient admissions and emergency room visits. Findings reveal an overall medical cost reduction of 19 percent on a per-member-per-month basis for those patients receiving nutritional support. HSX member Aetna and other insurers have also added the food benefit for their Medicaid enrollees in the Philadelphia area.
MANNA hopes to accelerate such gains for all of its clients through timely health information exchange with HSX. The organization looks to track data showing that even more-timely intervention and up-to-date customization of its services at the individual level will expand these healthcare efficiencies and health gains.
“We’re so excited to join HealthShare Exchange, and our team is looking forward to the benefits it will bring our clients. Accessing this information will allow our Client Services team to better address the complexities of each client’s health — from the ways we tailor their meals to fit their needs, to what our dietitians address in their nutrition counseling sessions,” says Tonya Cooper, RD LDN, Manager, Nutrition & Client Services.
About HealthShare Exchange
HealthShare Exchange (HSX) is a non-profit health information exchange organization serving the greater Delaware Valley region, including the southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Founded in 2009 and incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2012, HSX was formed as a collaboration among major healthcare stakeholders, including health plans and acute-care hospitals to enable the electronic exchange of patient information to improve patient outcomes and to manage and lower healthcare costs. For more information, please visit https://www.healthshareexchange.org/.
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MANNA prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life. A small professional staff and over 6,000 dedicated volunteers bring more than 95,000 nutritious, home‐ delivered meals each month to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life‐ threatening illnesses. MANNA dietitians promote wellness through nutrition education and counseling. Through these services, MANNA provides opportunities for caring people to extend loving support to families, friends, and neighbors. For more information, please visit http://www.mannapa.org.
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