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Choosing home health and hospice software: part 2

Shopping for home health or hospice software can be a big undertaking, particularly if your home health team is on paper and have never used software before.

As with most business decisions, there is no “one size fits all” solution and you know your organization’s needs best. This blog series will help you make sense of the options on the market so you can select a solution that will meet your goals, be they to serve more patients in your community, become more efficient, or prepare for the new world of ACOs.

In this part 2 of a series, we look at a few other important questions to ask as you make the choice of automating your organization with home health software.

Catching up? See part 1 of this series here.

1. Will the new system improve the efficiency of your organization, both in the office and in the field?

It’s important to choose home health or hospice software with user-friendly tools that streamline your business functions. A cloud-based platform allows you to process referrals, care plans, interventions, special instructions and changes quickly, even when your clinicians are in the field. As we like to say, “it’s not what you can do with the software, but it’s what the software can do for you.” Does the system fundamentally help your team manage their daily tasks?

Leading edge systems provide:

  • Proactive alerts
  • Workflow tools

These features help keep your team focused on their core tasks so nothing is missed. Workflow tools should also be personalized by role. For example, billing team members see claims alerts and field clinicians receive alerts when a re-cert is due. The best home health software solutions have HIPAA communication features built in to help resolve these tasks quickly, so your team can stay in touch, both in the field and in the office.

Read more: 3 Signs Your Organization is Ready for the Cloud

2. What impact will the new system have on the quality of your clinical documentation?

As you well know, the completeness of your clinical documentation forms the foundation of a strong home health or hospice organization. The home health software or hospice software you choose canand should contribute to improving the quality of documentation your team manages. Does the software actively promote customized care documentation at each visit based on the patient’s unique medical condition and progress towards goals? Look for systems that promote full documentation and be wary of “cookie cutter” charting or “electronic paper”. Home health software systems like these may look easy to use (and simple to train) but could open your organization up to unwanted scrutiny should an auditor come knocking.

3. Ask about the training, implementation and support process.

Review how thorough the implementation and training plans are. Will the vendor wave a user manual at you and disappear, or will they spend quality time on-site, ensuring that your team is prepared to succeed? Ask, too, about customer support. Is software user support available during your working hours and via the method you prefer such as phone, email, or chat? Is the support team based in the United States?

4. Think about ROI.

A deal is not a deal if you aren’t seeing a return on your investment. A few questions to consider when calculating potential savings include:

  • Will the software allow us to be more efficient and see more patients?
  • Will I save money on travel costs and mileage?
  • Will the IDT prep process be streamlined?
  • Am I prepared in the case of an audit? Am I at risk of avoidable takebacks?
  • Will I be able to save money on server upgrades and maintenance?

We hope this series has helped you understand what to consider when speaking with software organizations. Taking detailed notes during a demo is important, as well as speaking with current users. Be sure to speak or even visit with reference sites during the evaluation process, and do ask current users to share their candid comments

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