Webinars Outline Importance of Technology

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


The importance of technology cannot be overlooked in today’s home health and hospice industry. The efficiencies you can gain through effective scheduling, increased collaboration and insight into your cost of care will be of tremendous benefit to your agency.

The use of technology, such as home health software is critical to collaborate with your referring partners and relay to them the value your agency can bring to their patients to return them to health, reach a maintenance condition or prevent costly hospital readmissions.

McKesson partnered with LarsonAllen on a series of webinars on the topic “Strategies for Post Acute Providers in the Era of Health Care Reform.” Common themes from the recordings include the use of technology to demonstrate value, how to become the post-acute provider of choice and understanding your cost structure.

The rise of accountable care organizations and pilots to reduce hospital readmissions present a growth opportunity for home care agencies, says Troy D. Langsdale, principal for LarsonAllen’s healthcare practice. As Medicare undergoes payment reform, the focus is on the patient and delivering high quality for the lowest cost.

But agencies must understand their cost structure and strive to become more efficient. Emerging agency management technologies can help, Langsdale says. “What is my cost of care? You need to know that so you can contract with new payer sources,” he notes.

In order to participate in new care and payment models, hospitals must reduce readmissions, demonstrate a patient-centered approach to care, use electronic health records in a meaningful way, succeed in partnerships with other providers and show a low cost of care compared with peers with similar quality measures, says Nicole O. Fallon, manager consultant, health care at LarsonAllen. Home health agencies that can demonstrate their ability to help hospitals achieve these goals are that much more attractive to health systems looking for the right care continuum partners.

To prepare for care delivery in these new forms, Fallon offers six strategies. First, you must lower costs and increase effectiveness. Then, understand existing care delivery patterns and identify and implement best practices and strategies by diagnosis.

The development of electronic health exchange, monitoring tools and communication vehicles is next, followed by determining best practices for patient-centered care and patient engagement approaches. Finally, you must transition to value-based or gain-sharing payments and develop relationships at the organization level, not just the referral level.

Gary R. Massey, CPA and senior consultant for home care and hospice at LarsonAllen, believes that agency survival depends on health information and the concept of demonstrating value to your referring partners.

Agencies demonstrate that value by using a strong information collection, analysis and dissemination system and developing more robust quality measurements that include predictive modeling, process and outcome measures.

They also should re-examine care delivery to reduce cost and improve quality, build new, collaborative provider relationships and know their quality and value compared with competitors.

We at McKesson are committed to providing you up-to-date, mission-critical information you can use in your home health and hospice agencies. Listen to the LarsonAllen webinars.

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