Four expert tips for navigating the home health and hospice industry
After 2020’s massive regulation changes and a global pandemic, the home health and hospice industry has found itself in rapid acceleration. From the emergence of preferred providers to increased margin pressures, a lot has happened in a compressed amount of time, and there’s only one solution that can offer continuous relief: technology.
We talked with four of the most prominent thought leaders and thinkers in our industry to help break down the biggest challenges from the past year and how technology addresses them. Here are four tips from these experts to help you navigate our rapidly changing industry.
1. Get creative with communication.
Distanced communication has been the new norm for most of humanity over the past year—especially for those in healthcare. But Denise Schrader, MSN RN, NEA-BC, vice president of Integrated Services at Mosaic Life Care, found a silver lining despite having to interact with staff and patients who are socially distant.
“We started doing townhalls with Zoom,” said McInnes. “Normally, trying to get remote workers into the office for meetings is impossible, but these were great because we got a lot of participants who felt appreciated and informed.”
While virtual meetings may appear to be difficult to organize, they ended up having a positive outcome on Mosaic Life Care staff by generating more attendance and engagement.
2. Embrace remote patient monitoring.
While remote patient monitoring has not been fully embraced by CMS and payors, it’s been a key strategy in navigating pandemic challenges. Telehealth has not only solved the need for distancing; it has also created more thorough care.
“We noticed our medication reconciliation was improving, so we’ve continued to do post-admission reviews of medications through virtual visits,” said Renee McInnes, RN, BS, CEO of NVNA and Hospice. “Patients and families often don’t retain everything from admission visits, so following up is important.”
3. Have a data strategy.
Simply put, data can maximize clinical outcomes and create better referral partnerships. And the result is removing patients from silos, allowing care to happen collaboratively across the continuum.
“We’re moving in a direction where we have to be able to take a referral without needing them to identify which service line that patient needs,” said Ken Albert, RN, Esq., president and CEO of Androscoggin Home Health and Hospice. “We need to be able to look at data from multiple points—as real-time as possible—to identify an overall risk score that gives us a level of acuity.”
By having a better understanding of the predictive prognosis or the length of life, data can provide the resource intensity necessary to care for particular patient populations.
4. Find a technology partner that treats you like a business partner.
Your technology partner is not just a clinical partner, but also a business partner. They should always be willing to listen to you and your team, to work toward designing a product that meets your innovative strategy, or to allow you to invest in the engineering component.
“When something doesn’t go right, that’s when you see how your partners are,” said Tarrah Lowry, CEO of Sangre de Cristo Community Care. “If they’re working hard to get you through a problem, that’s what partners do for each other.”
From onboarding the technology to educating staff, your partner in the home health and hospice industry should provide a complete understanding of how the product can be maximized to your benefit. Technology will undoubtedly continue to have a positive impact on home health and hospice agencies as they evolve with changing regulations. And finding the right partner is vital to becoming more competitive in the marketplace.