Say goodbye to siloed systems — How to streamline and optimize home healthcare

Patients and consumers today are looking for personalization, whether it be a custom treatment plan, medical device, payment option or care routine.

However, creating processes for inpatient care that support unique and diverse options can be a challenge. It can also be challenging to create such a care experience in the home. As more rural hospitals close and the cost of care continues to climb, an increasing number of patients rely on home healthcare for chronic illness management, post-surgical recovery and other care needs.

In a Dec. 5 webinar, sponsored by Salesforce and presented by Becker’s Hospital Review, Erik Wagner, senior director of global provider strategy at Salesforce, and Jennifer Budurka, principal solution engineer at Salesforce, discussed the rise of home healthcare and explained how technology can transform the care experience at home.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Wagner highlighted cost as a significant driver behind the increased utilization of home healthcare. Citing data from the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, Mr. Wagner said the typical hospital cost per day for Medicare patients can reach up to $1,805 on average. This number skyrockets above the average cost of care in a skilled nursing facility, averaging $373 daily. However, there is an option that cuts costs even more without jeopardizing the standard of care. Facility home care costs an average of $145 a day for Medicare patients. Compared to inpatient hospital care, facility home care is 8 percent of the cost.

To improve the transition from the hospital to the home, leaders are implementing digital tools to ease the processes.

How digitalization improves home healthcare

Creating strong relationships and personalized treatment plans with home healthcare patients can be a challenge for providers and administrators. And even when patients have the comforts of home available, they still need a personalized care experience. To create customized care plans and develop strong clinician-patient relationships, provider organizations must focus on engagement.

"Patients want providers to not only understand their history, but also their preferences," said Mr. Wagner. "Because of the traditional healthcare system and siloed information, there are challenges to tie what a patient wants together. Leveraging the Salesforce platform as an engagement layer that sits on top of these siloed systems, we can truly create a 360-degree patient view so that the patients, the caregivers and everyone involved in the care plan can stay on the same page."

The 360-degree patient view doesn't just rely on one data source; it relies on a network of people that work together to ensure care is accurately delivered to a patient. Streamlining accurate and effective home care delivery requires connectedness among healthcare providers, skilled care coordinators, schedulers and home healthcare workers.

With various people involved in the delivery of home healthcare, it is imperative to have a central platform for all parties to access. Salesforce developed a platform that connects an entire workforce, enables scheduling and offers users a mobile experience.

United home care under 1 platform

Salesforce understands multiple parties must come together to ensure care is delivered properly. On a single platform, the company facilitates a collaborative approach between care coordinators, schedulers and home healthcare workers. While they operate through a single platform, each party has access to controls specific to their roles.

The care coordinator oversees the complete patient view to track the care plan progress. This solution features intuitive collaboration tools for smooth transitions and processes. The interface for schedulers, however, is different to ensure that the information required to properly schedule a home healthcare appointment is correct.

Away from a computer, home healthcare workers use a mobile device to access the platform through an app. Home healthcare workers are able to access key patient information, identify the necessary tasks to perform during the home visit and complete required documentation. Upon completion of required documentation, home healthcare workers collect the signature of the patient to provide the necessary proof to insurance agencies of the activities and remove the burden of completing administrative tasks upon return to the office.

"All of the information [documented during the appointment] is recorded in real-time, going back to the care coordinator," Ms. Budurka said. "The care coordinator then refreshes his or her screen and will be able to verify the work in the field has been completed."

The smooth transfer of information from one party to another in real-time also reduces the chances important documentation is lost or goes unaccounted for.

No matter the size of an organization, its population pool or its future goals, hospitals and health systems can use the Salesforce platform to improve home healthcare and in-house operations.

More articles on telehealth:
Telehealth: Law firm outlines 3 drivers, 2 barriers going into 2019
A new use for telehealth tech: Bringing Santa Claus to pediatric patients
Microsoft's president hints at telemedicine in program tackling 'broadband gap'

To learn more about Salesforce, click here.
To watch a recording, click here.

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