Whether it is home healthcare agencies or their patients, it can be a daunting task to navigate the world of healthcare. CMS has identified the areas in which healthcare providers are likely to experience obstacles and barriers when navigating the system. Whether it is paperwork, time requirements-based, or communication challenges – breaking downgoing through these barriers connected to these can be overwhelming. The care and dignity of the patients that healthcare providers serve are always at the forefront even when these challenges across the care continuum arise. Luckily, there are new solutions that cater to such challenges.
What is a Home Healthcare Agency?
Home Healthcare agencies are organizations that can be engaged engage to provide skilled nursing services and facilities as well as other therapeutic services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and support for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Home Healthcare Agencies (HHAs) have established policies placed by a group of professionals who are associated with the organization. This group consists of physicians, registered nurses (RNs), and others who govern the services offered.
The goal of HHAs is to offer supervision for healthcare services through a registered nurse or a physician. They are governed by state and federal regulations to maintain care plans as well as also maintain all medical and clinical records. They often partner with institutions to develop care strategies and budgets based on insurance coverage and patient needs. of every patient and have an effective overall plan and budget when developing strategies for institutions. HHAs need to take care of and meet every deferral requirement that concerns the health and safety of patients.
Challenges in Home Healthcare
When navigating the patient’s journey for home healthcare, home healthcare agencies go through also face common operational problems.
Staffing Challenges: HHAs struggle to identify, recruit and retain field clinicians and staff with the right home health skills. It has always been a challenge to find the right skill set, geographic match, and schedule availability for a remote care worker. Now with the economic challenges and “war for talent” that all employers are facing, staffing is often the most critical issue. Every HHA is challenged to attract and retain enough staff for high-quality care.
Time Lag for Staffingbetween Disciplines
Due to the shortage of nursing or therapy staff, there can be unfortunate delays in the delivery of care which can interfere with the overall timing of an episode of care.
There are several reasons why organizations can find themselves in these predicaments. Sometimes several employees quit or suddenly there is a large number of patients onboarded which is more than what the current team can handle. Therefore, maintaining an adequate roster number of staff members who are well trained in what they do is a constant challenge. Sometimes, the need for additional staff can arise before HHAs have the chance to fulfill it. Vetting a clinician or non-clinical staff can be time-consuming, while the patients are waiting to be cared for.
Some organizations help HHAs staff quickly and on demand. Such staffing vendors become the extension of the team and help overcome staffing shortages. Nurses, physicians, EMTs, and other trained clinicians can register themselves with such vendors who then connect them with HHAs when needed. This helps quick staffing needs and improves the overall patient experience because there will be no time lag between services.
Many HHAs find that Hucu.ai helps is a platform that you can use to stay connected to and collaborate with a staffing vendor that provides staffing needs on demand. When both organizations are connected on a platform like Hucu.ai, HHAs can check with the staffing vendor with a single message about staff availability and schedule. It is as simple as opening your smartphone, logging onto Hucu.ai (a secure messaging app), clicking on the vendor channels, and sending a message. You can receive a reply instantly in real-time. No need to play tag with phone calls and emails. Plus, notifications are easier to manage with organization features much more powerful than basic SMS or WhatsApp.
Challenges in Care of Delivery
Lack of Patient or Caregiver Engagement
The home healthcare delivery experience can goes smoothly if the patient or the caregiver takes ownership of the care plan and activities suggested. Without doing so, the patient outcomes are compromised by a lack of follow-through, and poor. Often, care plans are not followed due to a lack of understanding of the importance of missed communication on what is required for patients to retain their mobility and health.
Through communication and collaboration, there are many ways to support team members and patients. Finding the best way to address a patient’s needs whether it is through an in-person meeting, telehealth or a mixed approach can help a patient become more engaged in their care and stay on track. Reminders and follow-ups can also be carried out to decrease patient frustration and stress over trying to remember what their schedule is when recovering. Doing this and keeping a schedule can help the care team stay vigilant of what their day-to-day activities are order looks like and reduce the number of late/missed appointments on both ends.
Beginning of Care Visit
HHA field clinicians and staff members can spend hours on disclosures and consent during the Start of Care visits before they can assess the patient. This can be overwhelming for patients who just don’t understand the importance of the assessments and documentation required. won’t care.
While having an EHR integration capability can allow for the quick transfer of records and somewhat remove the challenges of communicating the data to team members, it may still not be enough. For truly seamless interoperability that removes all challenges of communication, a communication tool like Hucu.ai can work best. Via Hucu.ai – a healthcare communication app -, all team members, patients, and patients’ families can be updated with recent data/instructions and updates instantly and remotely on their smartphones or desktop computers. This allows medical records to be used more efficiently and eliminates communication delays and errors resulting in effective patient care.
Challenges in Home Health Work Environment
HHAs have little control over the care environment such as unsafe neighborhoods, buildings, or facilities that can put the patient’s health outcomes and HHA field clinician’s physical wellbeing at a risk. Going to an unknown area can be anxiety-inducing. Anything from stray dogs to a non-cooperative patient can compel the clinicians to leave and get away from the place quickly. However, in such scenarios, if the field clinicians have support, they can carry out care delivery with less anxiety.
When clinicians are going into a new neighborhood to see a patient, they can stay in touch with the rest of the team via Hucu.ai. Real-time communication with the team member can encourage the clinician to get to the patient with less anxiety and provide care with confidence. The clinician knows that he is in touch with his team and can video conference via Hucu.ai for further assistance in real-time.
There is a 48-hour requirement that calls for HHAs to start care within this period after admitting a patient. Oftentimes, HHAs are fighting against the time to get sufficient information from the referral source in time to start the care process.
Back and Forth with Physicians
HHAs struggle to get documentation and signatures from referring physicians quickly as physicians can be slow or reluctant to sign and can also threaten to refer patients elsewhere.
Hucu.ai can help with such collaboration. Instead of reaching out to the physicians on phone calls and then asking for documentation and signatures via email or fax, HHAs can simply use one Hucu.ai to get all the records and data fast. Simply onboarding the physician on Hucu.ai can help HHA get the records, documents, scans, and signatures in a 1-1 collaborative channel. The communication is in real-time and instant and HIPAA-compliant so the transfer of patient data is secure and fast. Hucu.ai is perfect for supporting interprofessional collaboration in healthcare.
Scheduling and Coordination
HHAs have to coordinate the care delivery schedule around patient and caregiver availability and also have enough staff to respond to new referrals on short notice.
With traditional communication systems like telephone calls, emails, and faxes, hours are lost in trying to connect and coordinate with the relevant individuals. There are risks of no-shows or miscommunication as well. Hucu.ai can easily solve these age-old communication problems.
Hucu.ai offers real-time instant communication so the organization knows where the staff team members are at all times. It eliminates the guesswork about who is closest to the patient’s location, reduces the headache of back-and-forth to schedule times, and gives you better coordination opportunities.
Once you know who is available and where they are, you can ask them to go see a patient – which leads to better care coordination.
Barriers and obstacles are bound to come up when navigating the complicated Home Healthcare care journey. However, communication tools like Hucu.ai can help with the communication and coordination tasks to support the team to provide better and more seamless care to the patients.
Tags: home healthcare, telehealth, healthcare communication, care coordination