Technology, Best Practices Vital to Agency Success

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
Technology, Best Practices Vital to Agency Success

Tracey Moorhead, president and CEO at Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), sees an “incredible opportunity” for home care agencies.

Technology will play a crucial role in improving workflow, charge capture and billing capabilities, Moorhead says. So will the leveraging of best practices to raise the quality of care and demonstrate to referral partners that standardizing care can help improve outcomes.

Drivers of technology include:

  • Payment reform initiatives, such as bundled payments, shared savings and risk-based models
  • Accountable care models
  • Population health management goals

Agencies need technology for 1) data collection, storage and transfer; 2) receiving and sending data to point-of-care systems, electronic health records and telehealth uses; 3) and driving best practices from the back office to the bedside.

Promulgating and disseminating best practices is the focus of VNAA Blueprint for Excellence, a free resource for home care agencies to strengthen care transitions that underscores the value of accountable, measurable and coordinated care.

Unveiled late last year, the VNAA Blueprint initially covers best practices in home health care transitions, including:

  • Care initiation (frontloading, pneumonia vaccine, physician appointment scheduling and critical interventions in the first/second visit)
  • Patient safety (risk assessment, medication reconciliation, falls risk assessment and exacerbation of condition)
  • Clinical conditions (depression)
  • Patient engagement

The VNAA Blueprint expanded in June 2014 to include end-of-life care. Late 2014 will see the addition of a module on health information technology, Moorhead says. The initial focus of the VNAA Blueprint has been the most important areas of patient care and those areas where home health plays a central role.

Care initiation was chosen because 45% of acute-care readmissions occur within three weeks of discharge, according to a 2005 study. Three of the patient safety best practices were chosen because they relate directly to performance on Medicare Advantage Star ratings.

“Get this one right, and you have two feet into the door with potential managed care partners,” Moorhead says.

The clinical management component of McKesson Homecare™ includes many of these best practices, but forward-thinking agencies are always on the lookout for new ways to care for patients and show their value to referring partners. VNAA’s Blueprint for Excellence certainly deserves a look – now and in the future as new modules and best practices are released.

To learn more about clinical management and decision support benefits and opportunities, download our white paper that addresses how your agency can improve patient outcomes, streamline workflow and more.

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