On Firm Ground: Preparing for Change

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Raymond Belles By Raymond Belles 
Director of Consulting and Education, McKesson

On Firm Ground Preparing Change Home Health AgencyI think we’d all agree that it’s impossible to get where you’re going unless you know where you’re starting from. The same holds true for software implementations: it’s absolutely critical to document both your current processes and your key metrics before you begin.

The procedure is fairly straightforward. Let’s say you’re going to install a new clinical system. You would start by evaluating the following workflows:

  • Scheduling
  • Orders
  • Plan of treatment
  • Certifications
  • QA processes

Once you’ve completed the evaluation process, you can compare those to the functionality in the new system, identifying areas that may need to be updated. For example, if the way your home health agency writes orders and schedules visits does not follow today’s best practices, now is an ideal time to remedy this.

Consider unscheduled visits, which are the main cause of frequency violations. They can be avoided by making sure every visit is attached to an order and scheduled through the new system.

Before moving to a new clinical system, you’ll also want to make sure you have documented the following metrics:

  1. The current average number of hours spent educating clinicians, by discipline, in your point-of-care application.
  2. The current productivity measurement, by discipline, per laptop user.
  3. The cumulative number of hours spent weekly on the start-of-care quality assurance process (the total hours spent by all QA staff).

Of course, if there are other metrics you feel might be useful as you move to the new system, add those as well. It’s best to err on the side of having more metrics, rather than fewer.

Having those metrics at your fingertips will ensure that you can document the success of the new system, including less time spent on clinician education, improved productivity and fewer quality assurance issues.

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