January 30, 2024 | Cathy Thomas Hess, BSN, RN, CWCN

6 min read

The Future of Wound Care Starts with Clinical ROI

How an advanced wound care process can improve clinical, operational, regulatory and economic outcomes

So much has changed in wound care over the past 30 years. Technology has advanced wound care far beyond manual measurements, and yet there’s more we can and should do! From pressure injuries to non-healing wounds, hospitals today continue to struggle to improve the performance of their wound care programs to improve quality ratings and outcomes while decreasing penalties and increasing revenue.

What’s the good news? The future of wound care includes innovative and proven wound care technology called “Clinical ROI.”

Clinical ROI utilizes advanced wound care technology and advanced analytics to help wound care providers align their workflow with industry best practices, resulting in improved quality measures and enhanced operational and financial performance.

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • What Clinical ROI is and the value it can bring to your wound care program
  • Ways to use digital imaging to simplify complex, multi-step processes in your workflow
  • How applying Clinical ROI will help improve your workflow efficiency and give you more time for patients
  • Why this approach will improve your accuracy, outcomes and quality

Why does your wound care program need clinical ROI?

Here’s a hypothetical: Betty, a wound care nurse for a large regional hospital system with multiple locations, often has a case load with as many as 25 patients she’s managing at one time due to staffing shortages. Additionally, she can barely keep up with cumbersome workflows that include multiple, redundant steps and tasks.

For instance, she continually gets bogged down uploading wound images to the EHR or performing multiple tedious tasks like measuring wounds with rulers, printing labels for the rulers or having to locate a printer to print the image from the digital camera, then delete the picture from the digital camera.

As a result, she doesn’t always catch the new patients with existing wounds and pressure injuries that would be considered “present on admission” when admitted to the hospital. And when she does identify wounds that need to be managed, she doesn’t have time to run to the patients’ room to check on them consistently to make sure their wounds aren’t worsening.

In some cases, wounds deteriorate into serious problems before she has time to intervene. Does this sound familiar?

Lack of oversight leads to a domino effect

Oversights like these can lead to big problems. A missed wound might lead to a Stage III or Stage IV hospital-acquired pressure injury (HAPI) — one of the CMS “never events.” And those lead to lower reimbursement and fines that can cost hospitals thousands of dollars a year. Unfortunately, today’s hospital staffing challenges make it difficult to address everything from documentation to coding to sharing critical data.

How many hospital wound programs — perhaps your own — have been penalized for neglecting to document a wound present upon admission, delays in updating charts, or improperly coding a wound? The future of wound care includes solutions to help solve this — and it starts with advanced wound care technology.

Defining clinical ROI: An innovative approach to the future of wound care

What exactly is Clinical ROI? It’s a methodology for identifying gaps in practice and simplifying your workflow down to a few steps so that you can spend more time caring for patients and preventing HAPIs. It gives you the ability to improve and address the CORE areas in wound care that lead to lost opportunities for better outcomes, improved quality ratings, and greater financial benefits.

Net Health’s Clinical ROI approach covers the CORE areas of wound care – the ones that matter most for your organization.

CORE is a proprietary process for wound care management that I developed over several years of working in the industry and seeing firsthand what works and what doesn’t. It includes:

  • Clinical outcomes: Understanding your desired clinical outcome and what you do to achieve them.
  • Operational tasks: Incorporating best practice steps in your daily workflow, including documentation and coding, which must be completed to provide optimal care to patients while ensuring compliance and proper billing.
  • Regulatory requirements: Ensuring you meet regulatory obligations to document wounds in a timely manner, input correct information in the patient medical record, report key data, etc..
  • Economic considerations: Taking steps to avoid penalties, maximize efficiencies and ensure optimal staffing.

What makes Clinical ROI truly innovative is the use of Net Health Tissue Analytics (TA) — an AI-powered mobile wound imaging and analytics solution that improves clinical outcomes and reduces costs by improving the efficiency and accuracy of wound assessment and tracking.

Start with setting up a better workflow… get even better ROI

Wound care experts will tell you one of the first places to start when looking to improve wound care outcomes and efficiencies is workflow. What are your processes? Where are your problem areas? What steps are often missed?

Those are important questions to ask because each one can positively or negatively impact your Clinical ROI.

Examine where workflows usually break down, including:

  • Delays in notification and/or treatment: Were the patients’ wounds photographed and documented in a timely manner upon admission to the facility?
  • Missed documentation of a wound: Did a busy admission process lead to the inability to properly photograph and document a wound found present on admission?
  • Untimely medical record management (e.g., missing recording wound data): Was there a time lapse in coding the wound present on admission due to the prolonged method of manually capturing and documenting the wound?
  • Inefficient workflows impacting compliance guidelines and best practices: Were there late consults as well as inefficient documentation preventing the coder from reviewing the wound information appropriately and timely.

Stop the madness: Advanced wound care technology improves your efficiencies

What else happens when the wound care process is inefficient? Some of the most critical areas are missing measurements and incomplete documentation within the patient record as staff are busy and may simply overlook these critical steps. And it all adds up. Inefficient workflow also leads to:

  • Missed or late consults
  • Inefficient coding when the coder doesn’t have time to review wound documentation in a timely manner
  • Untimely medical record management
  • Overlooked opportunities to apply additional codes based on the severity of the wound

Here’s the good news: The right technology and processes can help minimize inefficient workflow challenges, eliminate gaps in care, provide timely documentation, improve staff efficiencies, and much more.

Clinical ROI changes a process that often takes 15 to 20 steps and 35 to 40 minutes and reduces it to 5 or 6 steps and 5 minutes. Think of the time you and your staff will gain – allowing more time for your patients and other responsibilities.

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