Going to HIMSS? Learn About Wound Care

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

A wound care nurse tends to her patientIf you’re planning to attend the education sessions at next week’s HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, I hope you can make the session on “Improving Population Health Through an Electronic Wound Management Program.”

I’ll be speaking at that session along with Lois Glanz, RN, clinical information specialist at UnityPoint at Home, which has nine locations in Iowa and Illinois. The session is scheduled on Monday, February 24 from 11:30-12:30 p.m. in Room 300 of the Orange County Convention Center.

UnityPoint at Home monitors about 900 patients with wounds at any given time with just three certified wound ostomy continence (WOC) nurses. The agency uses McKesson Homecare™ Wound Advisor to provide electronic tracking of wounds. I don’t want to give too much away, but the agency has brought its costs down by a factor of four through centralizing wound care.

Since rolling out its wound management program in 2009, the agency has experienced:

  • Better utilization of its three WOC nurses
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction
  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Better management of resources, both staff and supplies

Electronic documentation of wounds has created consistency across locations that patients are receiving the best care. Since all wounds are documented through digital photographs, the WOC nurses can see and track each wound. Photos also are helpful to teach patients and their families about wounds and proper care between home health visits.

UnityPoint at Home collaborates with wound management programs at its affiliated hospital to provide care across settings. The efficiency brought about by electronic documentation has allowed UnityPoint at Home to expand wound specialist support to hospice patients.

Electronic wound documentation allows for management review of OASIS data, diagnosis, treatment orders and visit frequency. And since WOC nurses don’t generally do field work any longer, they have more time to educate staff and participate in supply management initiatives.

Wound care is one of those disciplines where home health shines brightest. If you do not have a formalized wound care program or are not using electronic documentation to maximize efficiencies, you should seriously consider it.

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