Taking care of hospice patients presents challenges that agencies must be prepared to overcome. The focus should be on providing care and being present for patients, but care teams often find it difficult to balance this with documenting the care that they provide at the point of care. Hospice EHRs that feature complex, demanding interfaces can be overly distracting in this situation. Working with simplified, streamlined hospice EHRs that are still powerful in the backend helps care teams meet the needs of hospice patients more effectively.
Change coming in hospice settings
When the Office of the Inspector General released its work plan for the fiscal year 2017, its strategies highlighted the important role hospice care plays in the health care industry. The OIG recognizes that hospices can provide unique care advantages for individuals and their families. However, the OIG also believes that Medicare services must be used efficiently in order to meet care demands. As a result, the agency spent the fiscal year 2017:
- Dealing with vulnerabilities within payment systems.
- Improving compliance and oversight in both payment and quality-of-care segments.
- Ramping up review processes surrounding billing documents and medical records in hospice care settings.
These strategies highlight the growing need for transparency in hospice settings, and they can’t afford to let the added scrutiny negatively impact patient care.
Considering unique hospice care requirements
A study from the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Department of Health Management and Informatics found that EHRs are used in approximately 74 percent of hospice care initiatives in the state. As technological innovation takes hold, the study pointed out that opportunities for improved care and cost reductions are available.
When it comes to hospice care, these strategies must incorporate the fact that a hospice prioritizes improving the quality of life of the patient. This can involve practical support for day-to-day activities or offering comfort and dignity to hospice patients and their families.
The need to focus on the more relational elements of care can be difficult to meet as hospices also need to ramp up documentation and data management processes. They need hospice EHRs that help them balance that need. A few key attributes to look for include:
- Easy collaboration between stakeholders so caregivers can pass along key notes pertaining to patient disposition instead of only sharing raw medical data.
- Quality assurance and control that operates in the background so caregivers have more streamlined interfaces to work with.
- Automated data sharing workflows between different user groups and disparate systems so caregivers do not need to enter data multiple times and can give more attention to patients.
Increased scrutiny around hospice care combined with unique care challenges can put stress on hospice agencies. Alleviating the clerical burden on caregivers through intuitive, user-friendly EHR systems positions hospice care providers to balance regulatory compliance and patient care goals.
The HEALTHCAREfirst Difference
HEALTHCAREfirst‘s hospice EHR, firstHOSPICE with CAREpliance™ technology gives hospices the freedom to focus more time on patients while providing the tools necessary to ensure complete, compliant clinical documentation. Built from the ground up by hospice professionals, firstHOSPICE places accurate, comprehensive patient data at your fingertips. With this information, every member of your IDT team is equipped to deliver excellent care at the point of care where they are needed most.