September 7, 2017 | Lynnette Noyes

4 min read

How hospices can run an IDG meeting in minutes (yes, it can be done)

Bi-weekly interdisciplinary group or team (IDG/IDT) meetings are a necessary part of staying compliant and providing patient care – but they’re also a major investment of time and resources. For many, preparation takes hours…pages of patient notes need to be printed and distributed, patient orders gathered, calls made to the pharmacy, and sign-in sheets and other forms filled out by team members about their interactions with each patient and family.

And then there are the meetings. IDT meetings should be about bringing key players together (physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, etc.) for a quick touch-base – to discuss each patient, changes in their care and to make sure the patient’s family and needs are being met. But these meetings often turn into what seems like an all-day affair – with paper-shuffling, people coming and going, side conversations or clicking through endless screens to review patients and get orders signed by the physician. I’ve seen these meetings take as long as eight hours – and I know that everyone would much rather spend that time with patients.

Why does it happen? It can be hard to get everyone on the same page, especially if patient information isn’t easily presented. One major study* of four hospice IDT teams found that “on average, 5% of all utterances when discussing a patient case were focused on soliciting information from the member who had access to the patient chart. In 12.3% of all discussions, members referred to an absent member who could have provided additional information. In 8.6% of all discussions the same facts were repeated three times or more.”

If you’ve attended IDT meetings, it’s likely you’ve experienced some aspect of this in your career. What if you could eliminate all this wasted time and effort?

Technology plays an important role in streamlining IDG meetings. But many hospices still run on paper, and are worried about making the transition to software. Or perhaps they have an older EMR solution in place, but it’s difficult to use and staff end up having to re-enter patient data in multiple places. All that clicking is pointless if it takes you three times as long to do your job.

Hospice EMR software has come a long way, and it’s no longer okay to expect anything less than a solution that’s easy to use and tailored to your needs. At Optima, our hospice solution was designed from the ground up for hospices, which means we’ve thought long and hard about the challenges hospices face when it comes to every aspect of patient care, including IDT meetings. Here’s what we deliver in Optima:

  • No prep work – Other than calling the pharmacy to check on a patient’s medication, all required patient charts, notes, forms and other documentation are automatically pre-populated into an IDG meeting shortcut tab – so you can start a meeting at any moment. We make sure all documentation is complete and accurate, so there’s never a last-minute rush to fill out forms. All staff have to do is show up and log into their devices.
  • Minutes, not hours – Shuffling through paper or clicking through endless screens is no way to hold a meeting, and it’s frustrating for everyone involved. Our IDG shortcut tab conveniently groups all patients being reviewed on a single screen. Through a simple, clean interface, you can view each patient, sign for your discipline and make changes to the care plan. With a single click, physicians can electronically sign orders. Nothing ever needs to be printed – just click and sign. The result: your IDG meeting can take as little as 3-10 minutes per patient. Imagine being able to get back to work in 30 minutes, not three hours.

You should expect this functionality from any EMR provider that truly understands the hospice environment. Converting from paper-based systems to software is supposed to make your job easier – while giving you the tools you need to be efficient and stay compliant. IDG meetings should support your day-to-day work, not hinder it. Ultimately, it’s about getting your staff back into the field and at the patient’s bedside so they can provide high-quality patient care.

Check out Optima Hospice solution for more information and to request a demo. To learn more about our home care solutions, visit


Share this post

Subscribe and See More