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5 key factors to consider when choosing your new EHR system

Once upon a time, having an EHR was considered a differentiator among home-based care providers. Thanks to advances in digital health technology—and government regulations that support using this technology—leveraging the capabilities of these software platforms is commonplace in home health and hospice care. And the urgency of having to operate during a global pandemic reinforced the need for these organizations to use health innovation to enhance care coordination. The question for these organizations is not whether they have an EHR system; it’s whether their current EHR system helps them deliver care efficiently to meet changing industry standards. What factors should home health and hospice providers consider when evaluating EHR platforms? Because the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, what determines EHR effectiveness will shift over time. To clarify the decision-making process, we’ve outlined five key factors home health and hospice organizations should consider when choosing your new EHR system.

1. The need for connected care has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 outbreak has shone a bright light on the need for interoperability in the home health and hospice space. In basic terms, interoperability uses technology to connect every stakeholder in real-time during the care of a patient. From post-acute care patient referrals to the secure exchange of discrete patient data, your EHR system should play a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless transition of a patient to a home health setting and the timely exchange of all relevant clinical documentation. Home health and hospice providers need an EHR system that supports interoperability. It must be able to integrate with other EHR systems and offer everything from direct secure messaging—which is a CMS requirement—to physician notes, diagnosis, reported allergies, prescribed medications, and more. This information allows home health and hospice clinicians to treat patients with a comprehensive view of their current health status.

2. Your EHR system must be able to accommodate alternative payment models.

Fee-for-service payment programs are being replaced by value-based payment models. This shift is expected to take off in the coming months following the recent announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services to expand home-based care, value-based payment programs.

3. Seamless clinical tools are essential to better care quality and outcomes.

An EHR should serve as a bridge between clinicians, staff, patients, and providers, not a barrier. Compared to other methods, communication through the EHR allows for direct access to vital patient data. Electronic communications help to deliver clinical updates promptly, increasing the potential for better care quality and outcomes.

In this pandemic era, integrating clinical and operational workflows with an EHR system can help reduce administrative burden and the likelihood of medical errors. Likewise, documentation tools are integral to support clinicians and their ability to effectively do their jobs. Innovations such as voice recognition, which allows clinicians to dictate clinical notes while wearing PPE, or telehealth/remote patient monitoring to manage patients remotely, help provide care at the right time and in the right place.

4. An EHR that lacks data and analytics is lacking.

When data and analytics are built into an EHR, organizations gain valuable insights and make actionable decisions that help them thrive and can support providers’ efforts to meet the rising need for healthcare in the home. Prebuilt dashboards within an EHR can display data that an organization can use to ensure effective business operations. Key metrics provide visibility into historical trends that can impact care delivery, patient outcomes, and the bottom line. And the customizable data can help answer specific questions about an organization’s clinical and operational processes.

5. Technology must be a driving force in your organizational strategy.

It behooves home health and hospice providers to adapt to ongoing regulatory and industry changes. For example, Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person program is enabling elderly residents to leave nursing homes and transition back to their homes—or the homes of loved ones—for continued care. There’s also a greater focus on treating higher-acuity patients at home. For some home health and hospice providers, these changes create significant challenges, especially in terms of gaps in care and the technology to facilitate in-home care of higher-acuity patients. For other providers, this shift to more comprehensive home health services creates an opportunity to expand and diversify their care delivery model. Shifting to a more holistic view of home health requires adopting a care delivery strategy that essentially underlines the importance of leveraging advanced EHR technology.

Choosing your new EHR system

COVID-19 has reinforced the need to treat sicker patients in the home, and federal regulations are driving the broader implementation of EHR systems. And progressive home health and hospice organizations are leading the movement to adopt more advanced EHR platforms for better collaboration among healthcare partners. Overall, providers who embrace the full functionality of an EHR can make more informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage by lowering costs while delivering safer, more effective healthcare.

The time to adopt an EHR platform that helps you meet industry challenges, enhance clinical care, and improve business efficiency is now. MatrixCare is the leading provider of home health and hospice EHR services. Our comprehensive EHR solution is scalable and can integrate into your infrastructure with minimal complexity. Our wealth of healthcare technology experience, combined with our full suite of products and services, has allowed us to earn the distinction of Best in KLAS in 2020 and 2021 for Home Health EHR. Find out more about our home health and hospice software and discover how implementing our EHR platform can help you take better care of your patients and your business.

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Bob Anderson
Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson is Vice President of Sales, Home and Hospice Division for MatrixCare. Anderson joined MatrixCare in 2019 as Senior Director, Business Development. He brings over 30 years of technology sales and business development experience, including 20 years in the out-of-hospital market, providing a comprehensive view and deep understanding of the post-acute care market. Prior to joining MatrixCare, Anderson held leadership and sales executive roles with NetHealth, Brightree, NetSmart, and American TeleCare.

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