This article is sponsored by CitusHealth. In this Voices interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Brittany Isaacs, Manager, Customer Success at CitusHealth, to learn how providers are approaching technology to reduce burnout, improve operations and streamline the care process. She highlights the importance of staff feedback and input in key technology decisions, and explains how this balance can lead to better productivity and health outcomes across the organization.
Home Health Care News: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?
Brittany Isaacs: The career experiences I use most here at CitusHealth are the leadership and management experiences I’ve had in various roles, even while serving in the military. Each one has helped me with organizing and orchestrating projects to move our ideas forward while problem-solving along the way. I was able to bring those experiences into a leadership and management role at Infusion Pharmacies as the director of nursing, and eventually, my current role here at Citus.
I learned how to listen to what our customers are currently doing, their workflows and the struggles that they’re having, connecting with different team members to bring out the key elements and find a solution.
We talk a lot about burnout in home-based care and that burnout has several sources, one of which is technology. How can technology help with burnout?
In many cases, home care struggled with adopting technology. Many staff are not tech savvy due to years of paper charts and documentation, so encouraging them to transition creates some frustration and burnout.
Improving operational processes and workflows through technologies allows clinicians to optimize their time and touchpoints between visits to hopefully curtail any larger problems that could otherwise arise. Additionally, chasing down things like physician signatures or patient signatures can now be done electronically, which saves staff extra trips or time on the phone. I think a lot of those things can all equate to reduced burnout.
We have opportunities to pre-populate fields so that the nurse can avoid reentering the same key information about the patient, and they can also do a confirm-complete type of action so that the nurses reviewing the last entry confirms it and moves forward. It prevents redundancy, expedites their charting, then it’s then processed and returned to the office so providers can meet their reimbursement requirements with that expedited visit note. It also helps streamline supply and refill management with the ability to transfer real-time information from the caregiver to a home health company or pharmacy.
Additionally, you can simplify communication. With several software solutions, messages can be sent to a provider or care representative in real-time to address a situation, reducing the frustration of the nurses trying to make contact.
All of the digital charting is legible and prevents any question or error, and you don’t have to request the original poster to rewrite something because you can read it. There are many great ways tech is preventing that burnout. Additionally, the staff have a voice in the system. They can let their superiors and admin team know what features make life easier for consideration in the future.
What are some of the outcomes that you see as a result of removing or reducing that tech-induced burnout?
No technology is a silver bullet, but it’s important to make sure that for whatever technologies you have evaluated and purchased that you’re utilizing them, working with teams to optimize the utilization so that they are what becomes the silver bullet. That’s the piece that makes it beneficial to the clinicians and beneficial to the organization. It’s not just the purchase of the technology.
We look at customers’ utilization reports, and I can see how many forms or documents are sent, how many messages are sent, who’s sending those, and the return of them. Then we share that information with the customer, but I also use that to drive future conversations to enhance what they’re currently doing and how do we get them to the next level.
What are the top strategies that home-based care providers can take to improve their technology in a way that will reduce, or even eliminate burnout?
It is critical to have the best-fit technology solutions guided by feedback from staff. This creates an opportunity to collectively bridge gaps by having open conversations around what staff members need, and how the technology can deliver upon those needs. That I think, is very powerful when the end-user has input in what they’re doing on their day-to-day.
We all know that consumers are now accustomed to the time updates that come with service delivery, such as pizza tracker. What are we seeing in the transition of those live update technologies in health care?
It has a big presence in scheduling supplies and medication shipments. In addition, patients can get updates, delivery confirmations or even the opportunity to select their preferred delivery date. We also see that with scheduling patient visits. Patients can actually log in and see their confirmed next visit with their home health care provider, nurse or aid so they know when their appointments are going to be.Further, they can check the status of a completed form or document in real-time, look at their past results or look at education materials, all at their fingertips.
Also, within the messaging, they can submit a message to be routed to their nurse and their nurse could provide that real-time feedback. I think we’ve come a long way with respect to adopting consumer technology functions in the health care setting.
How is technology changing the financial side of home-based care?
Visit forms drive a lot from a reimbursement perspective. When the staff member completes their form prior to leaving a patient’s home, it then gets back to the office within minutes and the reimbursement team can review and submit for reimbursement simultaneously.
It used to take a week to get paper notes either faxed into the office or hand delivered, putting providers significantly behind in billing. Now that process can happen in hours. The reimbursement team gets a notification, sees that they have something to process and they can execute it in the same day. The same can be said for nursing time sheets and patient paperwork.
There is no more time wasted chasing down documentation, and it has expedited the process. When all of the documentation is captured in real-time, the QA team in the back office does not have to chase down clinicians for missing information. These secure channels make it ideal as well so that you’re not having to go in person if you don’t need to.
They don’t have to chase down signatures either. Without signatures on assignments of benefits or delivery tickets, some of those claims can be denied. Using technology to capture their signatures really helps prevent that missed revenue.
From a home health standpoint too, doing these things through technology channels helps them under the PDGM world that we live in so that things are happening in the appropriate time frames, preventing missed windows for certain criteria.
Finish this sentence: “The top strategy that home-based care providers should employ in 2022 to best prepare for 2023 is…”
Digitalizing forms and documents.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CitusHealth offers home-based care providers a single digital platform on which all forms of collaboration can occur securely and in real-time, making high-quality care more accessible and efficient. To learn more about Citus’s home health solutions, visit citushealth.com.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].