9 Worthy Goals for Your Home Health Organization

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
9 Worthy Goals for Your Home Health Organization

I recently ran across an article on the Global Healthcare website aimed at improving patient satisfaction among hospitals, but many of the ideas translate perfectly well into your organizations. You probably are doing most of these, but here are the tips and my spin on each to make them more useful for home health and hospice organizations.

  1. What you put in, is what you get out. From the referral phone call to the final discharge, patients should be scheduled quickly, seen on time and treated with respect.
  2. Focus on, and improve, your systems. This can be workflow, but it also can be agency management software. For example, do you use automated scheduling software to help reduce missed visits, ensure staff members are consistently assigned to the same patients, and provide visibility into patients’ schedules to answer their inquiries?
  3. Have smiling, helpful and empathetic employees. This one sounds simple, but it can be complex. Engaged employees are happier employees, so how is your organization addressing this issue? And empathy isn’t the actual words employees use but how they are spoken. Honest, open and sincere communication is your goal.
  4. Interact with your patients. Home care organizations that don’t excel at this don’t stay in business long.
  5. Transfer to an automated system if needed. A clinical management system that simplifies the documentation process reduces the chance for error and improves the care your organization provides.
  6. Reduce system delays. Being able to start care immediately helps patients, their families, your referral sources and your organization. Can your intake workflow handle last-minute referrals?
  7. Speed up your systems, but don’t rush your patients. Productivity goals are an important organization metric, but don’t let those goals overshadow the most important one – taking care of patients.
  8. Step into your patients’ shoes. We are the home health experts, but our patients aren’t experts in the use of home health. Slow down, explain the process and be ready to answer patient questions at every step.
  9. Let positive experiences overshadow negative ones. Aim for perfection, but know that you will fall short. Keeping the client (i.e., the patient) firmly in mind and doing one’s best in all circumstances will go a long way to increase overall patient satisfaction. And when mistakes happen, acknowledge them (see No. 3) and find a way to get past them.

Learning should be a continual process, discovering new ideas from your peers and other industries that you can put to use to improve your home care organization. Learning also reinforces what you already know and likely have put into practice. What tips can you share?

For more tips and insights on patient satisfaction and opportunities in the home health industry, visit the McKesson Homecare Talk Resources Center.

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