Use of IPU Explorer Increases Compliance, Reduces Labor Costs

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

Hospice Software Reducing CostsIncreasing compliance and improving patient satisfaction while reducing overtime costs may sound more like a dream than a real possibility. But that’s what Carroll Homecare & Carroll Hospice in Westminster, Md., accomplished shortly after implementing the inpatient unit (IPU) functionality in Horizon HospiceTM.

Donna Wilmsen, director of performance, and Rene Cree, senior applications coordinator, shared their implementation experience during the McKesson Homecare and Hospice 2012 National Users’ Conference.

Since the implementation of the Horizon Hospice IPU functionality, the agency’s Quality Assessment Performance Improvement (QAPI) scores have increased by 3 percentage points from pre-adoption scores. In addition, favorable response to a QAPI question on medication reconciliation rose from 83% to 97%. Overtime has dropped by $24,000, since nurses no longer document after their shift ends. Supervisors can review documentation in real time, and billing more accurately reflects the care that nurses and aides provide.

The Westminster, Md.-based agency spent the three months between launches of the hospice software and the IPU functionality building care guidelines, examining and changing workflow processes where needed and educating staff members. “We felt there were enough changes in Horizon Hospice that we wanted to phase them in,” explains Wilmsen. “We felt the extra time would be beneficial to staff members so they could become familiar with one part of the system before being trained on other parts.”

The agency brought together an interdisciplinary team that represented each department that would be affected by the software enhancement, with Cree as the project champion. Subcommittees were formed to address particular issues such as testing, clinical, education and post go-live support. After careful consideration, the team decided to build their own guidelines for nurses, aides and support staff that closely reflect the hospice agency’s patient population and workflow processes.

Hospice software implementation team members made a conscious decision to streamline admission and transfer paperwork for RNs and medical social workers. The team developed admission and transfer worksheets that outline patient guidelines and orders. The RN and medical social worker complete the worksheets and secretaries input the requested documentation. Additionally, computers on wheels were purchased for use in patient rooms, allowing staff to efficiently document care provided while being present with the patient.

McKesson offers on-site, webinar-based and telephonic training, and the hospice agency decided to purchase 20 hours of phone support used for Q&A calls during the testing phase, in the immediate days after go-live and during the first month of implementation.

The effective implementation of the IPU functionality allows Carroll Homecare & Carroll Hospice to deliver better care, Wilmsen says. “The IPU functionality in Horizon Hospice allows our nurses more time providing the care and less time documenting the care,” says Wilmsen. “Their time is better spent with the patients and their families.”

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