As the COVID-19 virus and its rapidly evolving variants continue to disrupt the home health care industry, the need for home health care providers continues to grow as patients, payers and care providers all see the benefits of moving home care. With this shift, the need for better collaboration in care increases.
“When I was the CIO of a hospital years ago, we wanted our beds to be full,” said Linda Fischer, senior vice president of Care Collaboration at health technology company DrFirst. “Now, thanks to the value-based remuneration systems, the hospitals are better off when their beds are empty.”
Because of these systems, home nursing is a rapidly growing segment of health care, among other factors.
“The communication and the exchange of real-time information have to be distributed among several nurses and clinicians, who are all in different locations,” says Fischer. “You have to be able to communicate with and around the patient at all times.”
The difference in the backline: Summary of hundreds of document pages
At DrFirst, this communication challenge resulted in Backline, an all-in-one, HIPAA-compliant clinical collaboration and communication platform with telemedicine capabilities, including secure text messaging, patient alerts, electronic document sharing, and other care coordination capabilities. DrFirst introduced backline more than eight years ago, but its use expanded significantly as the pandemic made telemedicine and virtual care more important than ever.
The backline platform offers agencies a number of benefits, including:
- Virtual visits to the patient
- Patient-centered collaboration with extended care teams via text or video
- Connections with family members and loved ones
- Ability to fill out electronic documents, such as B. medical consents and power of attorney forms
- Ability to share educational materials with patients
- Coordination of resources and scheduling
- Ticketing functionality
- Optimized recommendations
All of these capabilities support better care transitions, which Fischer calls “one of the biggest gaps in healthcare”.
“In the past, not only did a family doctor not know their patient was discharged from the hospital, but they might not even know that the patient was admitted because the patient was treated by hospital doctors during their stay,” she says. “When a patient is discharged, they receive printed instructions that they often just throw away. I can’t tell you how many times I picked up discharge papers from a parking lot on the floor. “
Instead, care collaboration technology improves efficiency, workflow, care and results. In particular, Backline reduces the Continuity Document (CCD) from hundreds of pages to the most essential information, all of which are delivered in a series of automatic notifications to doctors upon admission and discharge of a patient.
“When a patient is discharged, his GP receives a CCD that can contain 300 to 500 pages of details that nobody is interested in,” says Fischer. “We summarize this CCD, analyze the relevant information and automatically send it to the doctor’s office so that a follow-up examination can take place. Most communication errors occur during this supply transition. “
The 4 most important advantages of collaboration with care providers
Maximize reimbursement and revenue
Fischer identifies four main advantages of care collaboration technology. The first two are added value for a home health authority: maximizing reimbursements and revenues, mainly driven by optimized documentation. For example, if a patient needs a walking aid, a nurse must order the walking aid and then ask a doctor to sign the order. Without this signature, the health department will not receive any reimbursement.
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“One of the biggest challenges for home nursing is the transition of care and document sharing between a sending facility and the home nursing or receiving facility,” says Fischer. “It works automatically via the backline. The home nursing office can receive documents in advance, carry out a medication comparison immediately and provide the first doses of medication. ”
Automating this process will help reduce delays in patient care. This is critical to maximizing sales because if an agency delays treatment for a day or two, they won’t get paid for those days.
Minimizing readmission and spending
Streamlining documentation and nursing collaboration improves patient care, leading to one of the most important goals in value-based models: reducing hospital readmissions. Nursing collaboration also helps authorities manage chronic illnesses, keeping patients out of the hospital, lowering readmission rates and lowering treatment costs due to hiring care.
“Backline enables simple communication that has a major impact on the results,” explains Fischer. “When I’m a case manager and I’m monitoring a patient with congestive heart failure, I can send an automated message to my patient saying, ‘Remember to weigh yourself and if you gain more than two pounds of weight for a period of time 24 hours, contact me immediately. ‘ Case managers can be proactive and begin interventions immediately, which prevents re-admission and supports a positive patient outcome. “
Backline provides physicians with secure, real-time information at any point in time when they encounter a particular patient. And with the rise in behavioral health needs as well as the health needs of underinsured people, care collaboration technology is opening the door to a new level of meaning for the home health industry.
“Home nursing for post-acute care has always focused on the best insured,” says Fischer. “But we have a large population that is social deterrent and underserved. Home nursing promotes care for this population. Even many homeless patients have smartphones that make it possible to conduct a telemedical visit if the patient does not have a permanent address or transportation. “
As care models change, it is critical to improve collaboration with each transition in care so that patients, payers, and care providers can reap the benefits of greater efficiency, workflows, care, and outcomes.
This article is sponsored by DrFirst. To learn more about what Backline can offer your agency and your patients, visit DrFirst.com.