Data: No doubt it’s the name of the game these days in home health and hospice. However, if your agency is keeping its patients’ records all to itself, you’re doing it wrong. Exchanging home health and hospice data with other care providers is the key that unlocks a treasure trove of insights that enable higher quality of care.
Don’t stockpile this valuable information – wield it. Here are five reasons for home health and hospice agencies to share data:
1. Reduces risk of error
It’s more common than you think: a patient is transferred from the hospital to home care, but their current medications list is not. If this and other vital information like allergies or medical history is not sent to the patient’s new care setting, the chance of making serious errors skyrockets.
When you decided to work in the home health or hospice industry, did you excitedly imagine sitting in front of a computer, entering complicated data as the hands on the clock spun? Probably not – you more likely had rewarding visions of helping people with a range of conditions recover or enjoy a better quality of life.
But while many home health and hospice clinicians and professionals are passionate about providing quality care to patients, many of them spend too much of their time plopped at a keyboard instead.
Time-consuming data entry may seem like an unavoidable sentence home health and hospice agencies face, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s look at the importance of a quick intake in these care settings – and what your agency can do to make inputting data a less painful process.
If you are selecting a new EMR system for your home health or hospice agency, you may think that you’ll be able to run a modern and digitally-optimized operation right away. This feeling is just human nature – that desire to skip all the preliminary work and get right to the good stuff, like wanting to have a shiny new addition on your house without picking up a hammer. But if you signed on the dotted line for a new EMR with visions of an immediately well-oiled agency running through your head, the harsh reality is that you won’t only be setting up a new EMR, but setting up your agency for failure.
In other words, successful implementation is one of the most important aspects of adopting a new EMR system. If this set-up phase is neglected or glossed over, your home health or hospice agency will suffer. After all, without knowing how to use the new software correctly, clinicians and administrative staff are likely to throw up their hands in frustration, and as a result, they inadvertently compromise patient care amid the stress and confusion.
That’s why getting off to a good start is vital to making a new EMR system worthwhile.
Risks: No home health agency likes to think about them, but every one faces them. From overlooked drug interactions to documentation errors, these liabilities threaten to undermine the hard work you put in to provide high-quality care to the people who need it most. But with a clear understanding of the risks your home health agency faces, you can develop strong prevention plans to keep your agency running smoothly.
Ready to tackle risk head-on? Start by seeing where you stand. Grade your agency with this home health risk assessment:
Risk #1: Drug safety
Kaiser Health News analyzed home health agencies across the country between January 2010 and July 2015 and found that around a quarter of them covered by Medicare “inadequately reviewed or tracked medications for new patients.”
The skies may be sunny at your home health or hospice agency … and then you’re hit with a RAC audit. Such a notice can cause you and your staff’s stress levels to spike as you scramble to figure out what went wrong and when. You may worry about financial penalties and that the hard-earned reputation of your agency might suffer.
The more you know about RAC audits – those administered by Recovery Audit Contractors – the better you can prevent them, and, in the worst-case scenario, deal with them. Learning about RAC audits is more urgent now than ever before, as home health and hospice agencies switch to a value-based payment model and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services increases its scrutiny of home health agencies. In 2014 alone, RAC audits corrected $34.9 million in home health payments.
You’ve made the decision: It’s time to implement a new EMR system at your home health or hospice agency. Whatever the reason for the switch, whether it was made to better accommodate your growth or more efficiently track compliance, a big undertaking is ahead of both you and your staff. But as intimidating as the implementation process may seem, it’s important to embrace this period of change as one of excitement and new beginnings, and the opportunity to make your agency’s goals of providing a higher level of patient care a reality.
Innovation is changing the world around us, offering solutions to long-held problems that are improving the way we communicate, conduct business, learn and grow. It’s also impacting healthcare, of course, and particularly home health and hospice.
As the healthcare landscape changes and Medicare and other regulations evolve, it’s essential that home health agencies invest in tomorrow. Implementing advanced, innovative technologies in a home health or hospice setting will help agencies continue to provide the highest level of care and patients see improved outcomes.
Ever had to walk around all day in a pair of pants that’s just a few sizes too small? Every aspect of your day becomes a struggle!
It really shows you that one size doesn’t fit all – and the same holds true in home health.
If your EMR isn’t tailor made for home care, then your agency isn’t unlocking its full potential.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Information and data is flying at you at a mile per minute, and sometimes it seems that you’ll never get the chance to take a breather.
Your software shouldn’t be out of control – it should help you provide the best quality care to patients. Worry less with NDoc, Thornberry’s industry-leading system that helps your home health or hospice agency breathe.