Common themes are emerging in discussions with hospital rehab directors about everyday operational challenges in acute and outpatient clinics. Net Health’s Karen Sartin, MS, CCC-SLP, Product Analyst, and Doug Cundiff, MPT, MPH, Vice President of 360 Professional Services, recently hosted a webinar to share insights on managing several areas of concern for hospital therapy departments, including how to:
- Meet rigorous productivity requirements through judicious staff utilization
- Create efficient and compliant documentation that clearly demonstrates the patient’s functional profile
- Move the patient through the continuum of care quickly and safely, and
- Accessing timely and actionable reporting
In the webinar, Karen and Doug share strategies and resources that can help ensure the delivery of high-quality, efficient, patient-centered care in acute and outpatient care settings. Here are four recommendations:
1. Track Patient Management and Scheduling
Patient assignment and location tracking are key administrative objectives in the acute care environment. Many clinicians rely on manual tracking systems to monitor the constant flow of patient traffic and ensure equitable work allocation. Using interfaces, data filters, and drag and drop tools, the digital Patient Management Board in Net Health Therapy for Acute Care helps automate these processes, freeing staff to concentrate on patient care. Once a patient moves to outpatient therapy, front desk and therapy staff can utilize a rehab-specific digital scheduling tool that includes an integrated appointment reminder system, provider scheduling templates, color coding, and customized calendar views.
2. Tell a Patient’s Story
“One of the most important responsibilities of a clinician in any environment is to tell the patient’s story in a compelling and descriptive way, so that the consumer of that document can easily visualize what that person can or cannot do,” explained Sartin. Without understanding the patient’s performance profile relative to their functional baseline, it’s difficult to set meaningful goals and develop an appropriate treatment plan to help them progress. As Cundiff noted, “Focusing on function is a good way to evaluate metrics and help therapists track progress and communicate goals and objectives.”
Using a documentation system that follows the “clinician’s natural thought process” with intuitive workflows and relevant clinical content gives the clinician the flexibility to tell this story regardless of the setting. Easy-to-locate information for physician and case manager review, processes to ensure alignment of discharge recommendations, and incorporation of precautions and strategies to ensure patient safety, facilitate engagement and carryover, as well as promote communication across team members are critical elements to a clinical report that is of value to a variety of consumers.
3. Maximize Workflow Efficiencies
In the current healthcare environment, meeting productivity targets while delivering individualized quality care is the therapist’s greatest challenge whether treating patients in acute care or outpatient. Net Health’s software solution is designed with both efficiency and customization in mind, featuring tools that promote in-app team communication, reduce billing errors, and easily return to recently accessed patient visits. At the same time, the solution enables creation of templates for quick entry of standardized test data, and protocols for exercises and goals by body part, surgical procedure, or skill area. Pre-loading of related clinical content which is editable at the patient level both promotes best clinical practices and discourages cloning of documentation.
4. Manage Key Metrics and Analytics
Business Intelligence tools are the key to improving compliance, enhancing productivity, and analyzing opportunities for maximizing revenue regardless of setting. What is unique to the therapy environment, however, are the individual metrics of greatest relevance. For example, while adherence to a compliance window for time from order to evaluation is of particular importance in acute care, outpatient clinics are more interested in complying with Medicare threshold amount policies. Net Health Therapy’s software solution includes more than 40 built-in reports that provide real time insights on operational performance that pertain to each treatment environment.
How Does This Work in My Hospital?
Adopting a single software solution across therapy environments that interfaces with your hospital EHR can offer a number of both administrative and clinical benefits. Consistent processes and platforms reduce training time and ease transitions when moving between settings. A unified data source facilitates both management and reporting. In the end, and most importantly, it’s the patient that wins with a seamless transfer of care between providers.