Operational overhead is present in just about any business, but the health care industry is particularly prone to inefficiency as care providers must prioritize patient needs and regulatory compliance over getting the job done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Over time, however, the health care sector has developed a variety of inefficiencies that can stifle patient care and create excess costs. Sacrificing care and compliance isn’t an option here, but agencies can utilize home health EHRs to help eliminate areas where overhead is particularly problematic.

The overarching efficiency problems in the health care sector are particularly evident in home health, where care strategies are especially dependent on multiple stakeholders coordinating operations. Home health EHRs can go a long way in eliminating overhead.

How bad is the efficiency problem?
Overhead is a common conversation in health care, but is the problem as bad as some say? A Gallup study found that the health care sector is facing a unique challenge in that it is playing a larger role in the economy while becoming more expensive. Essentially, research indicates that the health care sector makes up 18 percent of the U.S. economy. However, the actual per unit cost of health care services has increased dramatically.

Typically, economic growth is fueled by increased efficiency in an industry leading to cost and quality improvements, Gallup explained. The health care sector is growing without seeing those gains, leading to a major efficiency problem in the sector.

Home health agencies have an opportunity to solve some of their efficiency problems with the right technology. Consider three ways home health EHRs can help:

  1. Simplify coding and billing
    The documentation work behind care plans represents a major area of inefficiency for many home health agencies. Skilled professionals end up doing duplicate data entry into multiple systems, spending time on administrative tasks rather than focusing on their core competencies. Home health EHRs connect the care happening in the field with the data used in the back office, eliminating the need for redundant data entry operations and freeing staff to focus on submitting accurate, clean, and compliant documentation for faster processing and submission.

Improving operations around coding and billing can be invaluable for a variety of reasons, but a few key benefits include:

  • Creating greater transparency into what Medicare and Medicaid services are paying for.
  • Ensuring reimbursement is maximized.
  • Simplifying reporting to internal and external stakeholders.

Eliminating data entry overhead through home health EHRs can prove invaluable in driving efficiency.

  1. Avoid repetitive administrative tasks
    Care stakeholders all require information and updates from the other care providers executing the care plan. When this data remains on paper charts, care providers are left asking patients the same questions over and over again, manually adding data to multiple systems, and otherwise focusing on clerical work instead of patients.

Coordinating care is easier when everybody has access to one system. In home health, that means having a robust EHR that lets care providers collaborate on the go.

  1. Take advantage of elements of population health
    Home health agencies may not have the full infrastructure for population health initiatives, but they can take many elements of those strategies and apply them to operations, Home Health Care News reported.

In particular, agencies with robust home health EHRs can more easily create reports on health patterns within their patient communities, allowing them to identify any trends in how their different care strategies impact the population. This can allow for much more efficient work moving forward as strategic changes are founded in valuable proprietary data.

Driving efficiency through EHR innovation
EHRs, as a concept, can be exciting, but the idea of digital data entry isn’t necessarily thrilling stuff. However, EHRs built for specific industry demands and use cases present an entirely different opportunity. They can allow for process and workflow improvements that go well beyond storing data electronically, driving innovation that eliminates overhead. Home health EHRs can prove invaluable as agencies look for ways to improve efficiency.

firstHOMECARE Home Health EHR System

firstHOMECARE, HEALTHCAREfirst‘s home health EHR system can help your agency simplify your coding and billing processes, avoid repetitive tasks, and enable you to identify trends that enable you to make strategic changes for maximim reimbursement and top quality care. Schedule a demo today to see why more than 4,000 home health and hospice providers choose us to help manage their businesses.