Home health care agencies are in a rare position to drive care innovation through emerging technologies that solve many longstanding process gaps in the industry. The days of needing to handle paper forms out in the field, get them back to the office, and manually distribute them out to stakeholders are disappearing as mobile EHR tools provide easy data access across operational boundaries. Using mobile EHR technologies to drive this sort of innovation is becoming increasingly vital as home health models showcase their value on a global scale and regulatory bodies emphasize the need for accurate, timely documentation and effective data management in home care settings.
A growing need for home health care
Based on data from a CDC study, approximately 9 million people in the U.S. received long-term care services in 2014. This care was provided, in part, by 12,400 home health agencies and 4,000 hospices. An aging population combines with the underlying benefits of home care to make innovation essential in the field.
For example, recent analysis of the National Health Service in the U.K. found that the agency could simultaneously improve patient care and reduce the burden on hospitals if it ramps up its home care efforts, the Telegraph reported. These types of findings may apply directly to the NHS, but they reflect larger, overarching trends taking place on a global scale. However, simply moving patients out of hospitals and into homes isn’t going to solve many problems. Instead, the study found that improvements in data management and care coordination are necessary to ensure that patients and treatment strategies do not fall to the wayside as individuals are moved between care models.
The need for major data management improvements are evident in recent regulatory changes from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as they recently announced guidelines for how home health agencies manage information, Health Data Management reported. These rules include provisions that agencies must:
- Provide patients and caregivers with details of care strategies prior to in-home visits.
- Establish integrated communications so all stakeholders – within the agency and separate – have visibility into care strategies.
- Perform formal quality assessment using data to identify methods to improve care.
Meeting these emerging demands for more informed, data-driven operations is increasingly possible as mobile technologies begin to penetrate the home health industry.
Leveraging mobile EHR technology to keep pace with innovation requirements
With so much pressure for positive change, agencies can leverage mobile EHRs to simplify data integration across care teams. Having a laptop, smartphone, or tablet won’t impact care if staff can’t get to the data they need, when they need it. Mobile EHR platforms are emerging that unify scheduling, admission, patient care, coding, billing, financial operations, and discharge functionalities into a single solution. With information coordinated in this way, caregivers can immediately and easily update systems as they interact with patients. That data is then used in the office for quality assurance and dispersed to stakeholders, such as referring physicians, to ensure care goals are aligned.
Bringing full, integrated EHR functionality to mobile devices provides the data management innovation needed to help caregivers spend less time on clerical work and more time focusing on patients.
firstHOMECARE with CAREpliance™ Technology gives clinicians access to information from anywhere at any time, enabling clinical documentation to be entered at the patient’s bedside so you have total confidence that it’s complete and accurate. To see how firstHOMECARE can help your home health agency keep up with innovation requirements, contact us today for a software demo.