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3 Ways To Make Transitioning Hospice Software Smooth and Easy

Hospices often find themselves in need of changing their EMR to improve their efficiencies. Maintaining consistency in level of care provided and ensuring no patient data is lost during this transition once the decision to switch is made is incredibly important. However, changing hospice software companies can be an intimidating task. 

When a hospice switches the software they use to run their business and manage their patient charting, it can be intimidating for everyone from clinicians, to administrators, to the IT team. To make transitioning as smooth as possible, hospice leaders need to protect against data-loss caused by transferring to a new program, work with staff to get buy-in on the program and implement a training program to ensure no loss in efficiency.

Below, we’ve provided some tips for working with your new hospice software provider to make transitioning a breeze.

 

1. Store and Maintain Your Historical Data

CMS requires hospice organizations to maintain access to their data for at least 7 years. This requirement leaves hospice vulnerable to their software providers and can be daunting for organizations when they make a switch to a new vendor. Often, hospices must either work with their new vendor to export their data in an organized fashion, or they must continue to pay their previous software provider for access to their historical data.

When a hospice has decided that it is time to upgrade providers, one of the first questions they should ask new vendors is how they handle transferring data. While the answer will vary based on who the hospice is currently using, new vendors should be able to answer with confidence how they will ensure data is maintained.

Some key things that hospice administrators should look for during this process are:

Experience

How long has the software provider been working in the hospice industry? Providers who have longevity in the industry will have experience with other vendors and know how the data transfer process works. They will have been through the data transfer process before, be aware of the pitfalls, and know how to overcome them.

Relevancy

Does the new vendor have experience working in the hospice industry? Vendors who primarily focus on home health organizations may miss critical details in the data transfer process. Ensuring that the vendor knows what information is required in the hospice industry is key to a clean technology transfer.

Team

Is the software migration team in-house or outsourced? In-house software management teams often provide better communication and more congruency in the data transfer process. When you work with an in-house software team, the lines of communication between you, your customer service rep, and the engineer working on your transfer are transparent and open, so nothing gets missed.

 

2. Train Your Staff Thoroughly and Effectively

Ensuring your staff is properly trained on your new software is an integral part in keeping your hospice running smoothly. One of the first steps in training your staff effectively is to get staff buy-in. Working with your new hospice software provider is a great first step. Your new provider should be able to give you key reasons why each member of your team - from administrators, to billers, CNAs, RNs, physicians, and more - should be excited about using the new software. Work with your new provider to get resources to prepare your staff for the change and highlight why it will benefit them.

Once you establish buy-in, it is important to provide a training program that works for your staff’s needs. Hospice software vendors should have multiple training options. Onsite training may be ideal for groups that are located close to the hospices main site, while online training may work better for organizations are more spread out. Looking for a hospice software provider who is known for strong customer support is a good indicator of the quality of their training program.

Whatever training method works best for your hospice, having a trainer with industry knowledge and in-depth experience is important. Making training relevant to your staff will increase retention of new software procedures, and garner excitement for using the new system.

 

3. Find Easy Ways to Integrate Compliance

As employees learn a new software system it is expected that they will require time to adapt. Finding a system that can anticipate the information that is most likely to get missed and has tools built-in to help, will not only make your transition easier, but will also improve workflows in your operations long term.

Having the flexibility to require certain information be entered or steps be followed allows hospice owners to provide a failsafe for common deficiencies. Flexibility and industry knowledge are key components in this process. Every hospice has different procedures and working with a hospice software team that has both industry experience, and flexibility in their program will give you the piece of mind to know that information is not getting missed.

 

Conclusion:

Switching your hospice software can be intimidating. When you’re working with the right software vendor, they can help you plan and conquer some of the most challenging aspects of integrating a new software in your hospice.  

Talk to mumms Software today to see how we work with hospices on a transition plan that maximizes employee buy-in, ensures data in maintained, and focuses on compliance.

How Compliant Care Plans Can Help Address Concerns Raised In The July OIG Report

87% of Hospices Found to Have Medicare Deficiencies:

In July, OIG and HHS released a new report that shook the hospice industry. The reports found that between 2012-2016, 87% of 4,567 hospices were cited for Medicare violations. Of these violations, HHS found that 20% were serious enough to endanger patients.

The hospice industry was quick to respond, saying that extreme patient stories do not represent the industry and siting patient satisfaction surveys as an indicator of the positive work in the hospice industry.

There is little debate that hospices provide an outstanding service to patients at a time that is both difficult and crucial in their life. With Medicaid funding the vast majority of hospice care, it is also reasonable for the public and oversight committees to ask for insight into how those services are performed. Therefore, it is incumbent on the hospice industry to provide reporting and insight that will reassure the public about the great care being provided.

 

The Care Plan Problem

In a continuing series, we will be addressing some of the ways that hospices can improve their transparency and reassure families and regulatory bodies of the quality of care they provide.

Of the 87% of hospices sited for Medicare violations, 60% of hospices surveyed had a strike against them related to care planning. Among these violations, the report cites extreme cases where families were unaware of the care plans being offered.

HHS published an article discussing in detail the care plan violations found in the report. The article discusses policy and training steps that can be taken by hospices to help remedy the care plan violations. The remedies include providing better staff training, updating care plans more regularly, and conducting more stringent self-audits.

In addition to implementing policies and procedures, having the right technology partner allows hospices to increase transparency and ensure that they are documenting care plans effectively.

Some key features hospices should look for to increase compliance and transparency in Care Plan Charting include:

  • Can you set care plans for every patient and their family?
  • Are your care plan goals measurable?
  • Are your care plan goals quantifiable?
  • Does your software provide an audit and suggest corrective actions?

 

Tools For Compliant Care Plans

Hummingbird is the culmination of 30 years of hospice-focused software experience. Over 30 years, mumms has helped hospice across the United Sates and the Caribbean with countless surveys.

Hummingbird has implemented the following tools to ensure effective care plans are met.

INDIVIDUALIZED CARE PLANS

mumms Software’s Hummingbird Care Plans can be easily individualized. The interdisciplinary team is able to develop a patient and family plan of care that is individualized to them as part of their initial comprehensive assessment

MEASURABLE GOALS

Hummingbird makes it easy for this plan by including measurable goals, care and treatment to meet those goals, and to see the updates.

QUANTIFY GOALS

Hummingbird makes it easy to quantify a patient's individual goals for symptom management by using the ESAS system in assessments and patient's stated goals in the care plans. 

SELF AUDITS QUARTERLY OF AT LEAST 20% OF PATIENT RECORDS

Hummingbird makes auditing easier with everything in one place, based on criteria you determine that you want to view, so you can then take corrective actions.

 

SEE MORE COMPLIANCE FEATURES IN HUMMINGBIRD

 

Avoiding hospice regulatory deficiencies

Hospice News published an article detailing findings from the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services.

"...more than 87% of the 4,563 hospices operating in the United States between 2012 and 2016 had at least one instance of noncompliance with quality, administrative and safety standards set by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)."

"Nearly 60% of hospices surveyed during those years had a strike against them related to care planning."

These statistics are striking, and we all must do better to maintain compliance. The article details policy and training steps taken by hospices to better implement policy, but a good EMR should lift some of the burden with design that's clear, built-in tools and processes to promote good care planning, and the transparency and communication necessary for care providers to work efficiently as a team.

Hummingbird was designed with these in mind.

INDIVIDUALIZED CARE PLANS

mumms Software’s Hummingbird Care Plans can be easily individualized. The interdisciplinary team is able to develop a patient and family plan of care that is individualized to them as part of their initial comprehensive assessment

MEASURABLE GOALS

Hummingbird makes it easy for this plan by including measurable goals, care and treatment to meet those goals, and to see the updates.

QUANTIFY GOALS

Hummingbird makes it easy to quantify a patient's individual goals for symptom management by using the ESAS system in assessments and patient's stated goals in the care plans.

SELF AUDITS QUARTERLY OF AT LEAST 20% OF PATIENT RECORDS

Hummingbird makes auditing easier with everything in one place, based on criteria you determine that you want to view, so you can then take corrective action.

HHS Releases Primer for the Medicare Appeals Process

HHS has put together a primer on navigating the complex Medicare Appeals process. According to NHPCO, The Medicare Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals reports a backlog of more than 880,000 appeals at the end of FY2015. HHS has also issued a new proposed rule to help minimize the backup. 

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Patient Culture in Hospice Care

The hospice and palliative care community has long been aware of the need to increase diversity in the patients and families it serves. This week, NHPCO released a Moments of Life video that highlighted the importance of including a patients cultural background in their hospice care plan. 

 

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