While the quality of a hospice organization’s care relies on listening, critical thinking, and compassion, its profitability depends on efficient systems and high level insights. In order to remain competitive, hospices are turning to technology to assist with referrals, care monitoring and management, scheduling, staffing, communications, patient education, and cost control.
With the right technology, hospices can position themselves to operate more efficiently. In this article, we review 5 important ways that your hospice can better manage care for your sickest patients and improve the experience for patients, family, and staff.
1. Predictive Analytics Helps Ensure Proper Level Of Care
One of your primary goals as a hospice is to ensure the level of hospice care continuously matches the changing physical and emotional needs of your patients and their families. This can be difficult when you rely solely on feedback from these individuals.
Predictive analytics is an important development in advanced care management, working to solve the knowledge gap. Specialized tooling that combines claims and real-time patient data, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning can help you determine the current care needs of seriously ill patients and predict how much time they have left, with 95% accuracy.
There are multiple benefits to a technology platform that includes predictive analytics. Most importantly, it can be used to identify patients in your community who will most likely benefit from palliative or hospice care sooner. Having this visibility better prepares you for their transition to hospice. Your hospice can anticipate staffing and equipment requirements and be ready to do intakes on new referrals within hours instead of days.
Once patients are under your care, predictive analytics can help you schedule staff and other resources in a more consistent way that reduces staff burnout and improves quality scores for value-based care contracts. It can help increase revenue through improved quality scores and Medicare Service Intensity Add-Ons (SIAs). Since Medicare initiated the SIA initiative in 2016, hospice organizations can bill Medicare at an hourly rate in addition to the routine home care (RHC) rate when they provide a patient with direct care by a registered nurse or social worker during the last seven days of life.
2. Real-Time Remote Monitoring Creates More Connected Healthcare Ecosystem
Technology can be used to assess a patient’s condition remotely and alert you when indicators predict a patient needs additional care. A real-time monitoring system should enable the patient, their proxies, and/or your staff to complete data entry at the point of care. It may include the ability to track symptoms and vital statistics so you can assess a patient’s current condition and pinpoint whether they are nearing the end of life. When your data lives on a shared platform that everyone can access, you empower the entire care team to work together to improve care coordination and communication.
Real-time remote patient monitoring not only keeps clinicians connected with patients and their families between visits, it can also be used to assess for signs of caregiver breakdown so you can intervene and avoid unnecessary live discharges or hospital utilization caused by insufficient care.
3. Event Notification Helps Contain Costs
Once patients are in hospice, you want to ensure you’re able to continuously manage their care. In order to prevent live discharges or unnecessary hospital utilization, you want to be the first call a patient makes when they require acute care for an emergency unrelated to their hospice diagnosis.
However, there are times when patients panic and don’t call you first. With an electronic alert system in place, you can get notified in real-time when a patient of yours enters or is discharged from an Emergency Department or hospital or transitions between levels of care so you can ensure you remain their primary care provider.
4. Telemedicine Keeps Patients Connected With Clinicians
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telemedicine across the care continuum. During the pandemic it has allowed hospice staff to stay in frequent contact with patients and families securely and safely. As the pandemic wanes, telemedicine will likely remain an effective way for clinicians and seriously ill patients to interact. While renumeration for telemedicine visits post-COVID is still uncertain, CMS has acknowledged it will most likely continue to be supported.
Telemedicine can be provided on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, tablets, smart phones, or biometric devices such as scales and blood pressure cuffs that collect vital statistics. Offering telemedicine options may require additional education for both staff and patients who are not familiar with the technology. However, you can minimize the amount of training required by investing in programs that are intuitive and offer step-by-step guidance.
5. Family And Caregiver Education
The success of hospice depends on how well patients and their families accept their prognosis and understand the way hospice care works. Technology can play a part in educating patients, family members and caregivers about the program and the responsibilities of each member of the care team. Video and audio programs as well as interactive education modules can help guide them through the process associated with the end of life journey — from diagnosis to defining goals of care to options for end-of-life care. Remote learning can also help caregivers learn the triggers and indicators to report so your staff gets a more accurate view of the patient’s condition.
Acclivity Health has made it our mission to develop technology specifically for advanced illness management to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time in the right setting. If you would like to know more about how technology can help your hospice or want to discuss specific solutions, we are here to help. Acclivity’s guide to its platform features for hospices also provides insight on how technology can work for you.
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