According to survey data from Stanford Medicine, while 70 percent of healthcare professionals say electronic health records (EHRs) have improved significantly over the last five years to help streamline their practice, 49 percent point to challenges with documentation and data entry.1 This is especially relevant for hospice providers.
With many expanding their offerings during the pandemic to serve evolving patient needs, the result is both increased visit documentation volumes and velocity — in turn driving the demand for more efficient use of EHRs. Here are three best practices to help streamline hospice documentation with EHRs.
1. Reduce Data Entry Complexity
EHRs are designed to be interoperable and, as a result, they’re often used in large-scale clinical settings, such as hospitals, to facilitate the transfer of patient information between departments within the same physical building. However, hospice providers often face an opposite problem: documenting visits with multiple patients at different locations.
In addition, the rise of interdisciplinary teams (IDTs) in hospice organizations means that patients may receive care from different specialists at different times, leading to increased complexity of data capture and curation. As Healthcare IT News points out, healthcare is a “data additive” profession, but more data doesn’t naturally translate to improved efficiency.2
The solution? Cloud-based hospice software systems can streamline the process of data entry to ensure visitation data is captured from all professionals serving all patients — without increasing complexity.
2. Increase Patient/Provider Interactivity
As noted by a National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) research paper, one critical aspect of EHRs is their ability to impact patient-provider interaction.3 Used effectively, EHR tools can deliver patient-specific data and help inform treatment decisions but this doesn’t happen by default. Teams need the right solution to ensure they’re getting maximum values from EHRs.
To solve this challenge, hospice providers can benefit from the use of hospice EHR and EHR software tools that automatically populate key forms, ensure the capture of critical signatures and sign-offs and help streamline visitation scheduling to reduce the risk of conflicts and limit the potential for missed visits. Advanced tools can also help create orders for IDT meetings to streamline communications across interdisciplinary lines and give frontline staff more flexibility. The result of all this automatic operation? More time for hospice staff to spend delivering patient-focused care.
3. Ensure Payment and Patient Data Accuracy
Accurate data capture, entry, and submissions are essential parts of effective EHR use. If staff must continually fix errors or input missing data, they’re spending time away from patients and reducing their total productivity. And if hospice billing and patient data aren’t entered correctly, it could result in delayed or challenged claims that can negatively impact business profitability and operability.
The Medical Economics notes that accuracy depends on EHR technologies “that work in the background to verify billing, compliance, coding and quality measurement.”4 For front-line hospice staff, this means hospice software solutions that offer one-screen assessments and plans of care while additionally ensuring compliance through automatic prompts and alerts, along with the ability for administrators to easily compare clinical metrics and review data that flows from patient forms.
2 Healthcare IT News, “Implementation Best Practices: The Keys to Launching an EHR,” April 18. 2019.
3 National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Top 10 Tips for Effective Use of Electronic Health Records,” March 2014.
4 Medical Economics, “Improving EHR Usability Requires Focusing on Four Core Areas,” March 17, 2021.