With the population aging and value-based care an increasing priority, home healthcare is poised for a boom. If you’re like many healthcare organizations, you may be looking to add on Epic’s home care suite to integrate the patient record across the spectrum of care.
A home care add-on can relieve the headaches of low revenue, manual billing, orders management, and poor provider communication, as well as improve patient safety via integrated medical management and patient charting. But home care is unique and requires a slightly different approach than other applications.
We recently caught up with a few of our experienced Home Health and Hospice consultants Tom Fagan, Kelly Spangler, and Melanie Stamerjohn (pictured) to ask for their advice when adding the applications. Here are six things they suggested you need to know before adding on home care.
1. Make sure analysts are dedicated 100 percent to the project. Home care is different from other applications from a build and an industry perspective. It takes time to learn, and it’s not easy to jump into and pick up mid-implementation.
In a successful add-on, analysts should have 100 percent of their time dedicated from the beginning of the project. Analysts will need to spend significant time and effort to understand the regulatory requirements that drive complex home care builds, and they’ll be more successful if they’re fully dedicated to one project.
You’ll also benefit from using analysts with Epic experience. Home care modules already present a learning curve, and analysts with hospital billing and ambulatory clinical experience will get up to speed more quickly than newly-certified analysts.
2. Integrate home care leadership with other applications. Make sure that home care doesn’t get relegated to a separate bubble from your other applications. Since home care pulls functionality and workflow from other applications, you’ll be more successful if IT leadership and analysts from related applications (e.g., ADT, Cadence, HIM, HB, Contracts, Claims, Inpatient/Orders, Ambulatory) are engaged with the project.
We also recommend creating a dedicated steering committee from home care operations, who will serve as the ultimate decision-makers during design. Identify these people early on and meet with them regularly to make sure they’re engaged in the process.
3. Bring a clinical educator onto your training team. We recommend keeping a close relationship between the training team and analyst team, so the training team can effectively develop their home care curriculum alongside the design build.
Our biggest tip here: Get a clinical educator involved in credentialing and training. His or her understanding of the industry and current workflows will be critical to bridge training gaps.
4. Give visibility to home care’s biggest champion. Identify the decision-makers and driving forces behind the transition to Epic, and make sure they’re visible to stakeholders. The champions should reiterate the reasons behind the change throughout all phases of the project.
During implementation, it can be hard to remember why you’re making the transition, even though the change will benefit everybody long-term. Having a visible and charismatic leader can go a long way in turning morale around and focusing the team on your goals.
5. Think through design before it starts. Planning is everything when it comes to home care design. Analyze your hardware and connectivity needs early, and make sure that your SMEs over clinical content understand what they’re designing before they design it. We also recommend involving finance leadership early to make sure the right directors are involved in design and testing.
6. Have a plan for the billing office. Work with the operations team to figure out a strategy for incorporating the Home Health/Hospice billing office into the Hospital Billing team (or keeping it separate). Either way, make sure to allocate the billing experts to their new roles or identify the appropriate people to take over once the new application is live.