Six signs you need a software upgrade at your home care or hospice agency
If you’re in the home care business, you’re witnessing growth and change at breathtaking rates. From growth in the industry to the expansion of service lines to new regulatory requirements, it’s no doubt your agency needs to quickly move and adapt to the ongoing changes.
There are plenty of obstacles to growing and adapting – referral source dynamics, staffing challenges, competition, and a squeeze in reimbursement rates. Unfortunately, we’re seeing more agencies held back by their software, creating problems that aren’t always recognizable. How can you tell if your software is a culprit in impeding your growth?
1. You aren’t paperless. Software is meant to decrease paper, and you should evaluate and scrutinize how this is going for your agency. Are you still creating paper charts? Are there still major elements of your charts on paper? The most common feedback is consent forms, or even state or payer-specific forms that are being collected on paper. The answer is a solution that can mirror those exact forms in your software, and scan other additional and supporting documents centered around the patient and care delivery.
2. Your agency is experiencing significant “downtime” with your current software vendor. As more agencies choose the benefits of a web-based solution, the more downtime becomes a critical metric in your operations. When your agency software is “down,” you’re forced to do your work and clinical documentation on paper and then enter it later. This cripples an agency’s ability to work efficiently at a time when it is critical. Some downtime is inevitable. However, it should be rare. When your software vendor regularly has problems with accessibility, it might be time to move on. Regular downtime is usually due to either a poor software hosting, or inherent problems with the software itself. Older solutions that were designed for a client-server environment have often been “forklifted” to the cloud and sold as a “cloud-based solution” with mixed results, creating stability issues when use rates are high or after “version upgrades.” The answer is a true cloud-native solution that was designed and built for the web, and is hosted on a stable and available platform such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
3. The entire care team can’t use the software to communicate. In today’s environment, the care team is expanding. Not only is the clinical care team at the agency key, but so are the physician and patient (and family, and caregiver). Does your software require manual work to communicate with the entire care team? The answer is secure messaging that’s integrated with your software solution, enabling direct messaging to other members of the care team in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Combined with a Physician Portal and even a Patient and Family Portal, you have a powerful solution that empowers the entire care team.
4. The software won’t support or accommodate your growth. As home care evolves, more opportunities will arise. Perhaps you want to serve your community more effectively by launching a hospice program to complement the home health services already in place. Some agencies have opted to grow through state Medicaid waiver programs, or pediatric home care. Other home care agencies are exploring community-based or local programs as a source of diversification. In any of these cases, if you must purchase new software, you may want to explore a solution that can accommodate your entire agency both now and in the immediate future.
5. The software company just isn’t ready to support your agency. If you’re with a vendor that is struggling with growth, it may be time to explore other options. When you see signs such as a shrinking support staff or failure to meet regulatory deadlines, this may put your agency at risk.
6. Your clinicians aren’t documenting at the point of care. Most solutions have a point of care option. However, if it’s in place, do you know if it’s being used properly? Are your nurses and therapists documenting in the home, or are they documenting later based on memory or notes? If your solution is hindering clinical charting at the point of care, this will impact employee satisfaction and create inefficiencies in your agency that will impact your costs dramatically.
As smart business acumen dictates, you’re evaluating staff, processes, costs, and just about every aspect of your agency. If you’re experiencing any of the issues above, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your software.
Consider looking at software that can address the problems listed above, such as DeVero. Supporting hundreds of providers across the country at thousands of locations, DeVero is the cloud-based software choice of regional home health agencies as well as the largest home health and hospice provider in the country. Home care moves fast. So does DeVero.