HL7 Basics – ADT Messages

In my last post, I covered some of the basics explaining what HL7 is, how it’s structured, and the benefits that come from the collaborative nature of the org. Now, let’s talk details.

ADT stands for Admission, Discharge, and Transfer. These messages are typically sent when a patient arrives for a visit, is admitted to the hospital, or is transferred.

From Corepoint Health
“ADT messages carry patient demographic information for HL7 communications but also provide important information about trigger events (such as patient admit, discharge, transfer, registration, etc.). Some of the most important segments in the ADT message are the PID (Patient Identification) segment, the PV1 (Patient Visit) segment, and occasionally the IN1 (Insurance) segment. ADT messages are extremely common in HL7 processing and are among the most widely used of all message types.”

What impact does HL7 have clinical staff and HIT professionals? Let’s look at some common problems that clinical staff run into, and see how a basic understanding of HL7 and ADT messages can help address the problem.

Problem : I can see that an account was created for a visit in our billing system, but I can’t find it in our dictation system.
Explanation : Even though the account has been created, it doesn’t show up in the other systems until an ADT message is sent, updating the account status to from pre-admit to active/arrived.

Problem : A resident dictates a discharge summary, but dictates the incorrect discharge date.
Explanation : Even though they dictated the incorrect discharge date, an MT can see the correct date in the ADT message sent in the HL7 feed, and correct the error.

Problem : A clinical staff member is attempting to encounter a new patient in their PM/Billing system, but they keep receiving a demographic error. They can’t resolve the error themselves and don’t know what to do.
Explanation : HL7 messages are usually coordinated through a central patient registry. They allow patient demographic updates to be sent to all other systems. If there is an error or incomplete data available, it can cause errors in all of the interconnected systems. The demographic error must be fixed at the source.

An understanding of ADT messages can help clinical staff, nurses, and IT support staff by giving them the tools to troubleshoot interoperability issues. This can save time, increase productivity, and create a more efficient workflow. This is essential to the healthcare industry. As more people become insured under the new healthcare reform, understanding these tools can help reduce redundancies and allow providers to see a larger volume of patients.

Do you have any other examples of how a working knowledge of ADT messages can help clinical staff understand and improve their workflow? Let me know!

About nateosit

I'm documenting my journey through the Health IT landscape, seeking to combine the disparate complexities of HIT to create Bio-Digital Jazz. My opinions are my own.
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