connected care
Tying it all together
by Melissa Kozak

Traditional methods of patient care require stitching together health information from phone calls, paper documentation, fax records and disparate technology systems. This is a common source of frustration for many post-acute care providers.

A recent Porter Research survey of home-based care consumers sponsored by Citus Health reported that patients and family caregivers want more real-time communication from their homecare agency. Real-time communication not only improves patient care and staff efficiency, but also can result in higher consumer satisfaction. In today’s world of instant access, many patients say they would choose a provider based on that provider’s ability to facilitate real-time communication through smartphones, tablets or computers.

With the home-based care market experiencing significant growth, connected care is becoming increasingly essential for clinicians, staff, patients and family members. From the moment a patient transitions into home-based care, there are multiple care team members who must stay connected. And every member of that patient’s care team should have real-time insight into the patient’s status and data in order to provide effective care. Keeping patients and family caregivers better informed leads to higher satisfaction and can improve outcomes and lower the chances of unnecessary hospitalizations.

Connected Health Technology

When homecare providers have access to the right tools and technology, their ability to provide better, more meaningful patient care increases substantially, as does their efficiency in responding to patient and family caregiver needs. Using connected health technologies to seamlessly communicate with fellow clinicians, automatically capture and store patient notes, coordinate visits and immediately address patient issues removes a significant amount of administrative burden from clinical teams, especially when it comes to tracking down documentation. It also means they can spend more time caring for patients and executing care plans in a
timely manner.

Using such remote patient support and care team collaboration tools to ease the administrative burden on clinicians can help reduce burnout and turnover, which means a happier, more consistent staff caring for patients. We’ve also seen that these tools can improve consumer satisfaction, as shown in online reviews and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services assessments, such as the home health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which guide patients toward better care.

For patients and family caregivers, connected care means receiving an immediate response to urgent issues and knowing that each care team member is fully up to speed on their individual care plan. When communication technology includes auto-routing and escalation features, inbound patient communications will receive an immediate response, avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations that could have happened if a clinician was unavailable to give an immediate solution. With connected digital health solutions, receiving care is easier, providing care is easier and caregivers’ ability to engage with a patient’s care is easier.

Technology’s Impact on the Patient Experience

Without a high level of organization and coordination across teams, miscommunication and misfiring can happen. This creates frustration and delays, additional costs, duplicate ordering or improper relaying of information, all of which impact overall patient care and experiences.

When it comes to home health experiences, patients and their family caregivers are looking for two main things. The first is information about their care. This can include the ability to discuss clinical needs, schedule appointments, coordinate visits, view billing information, coordinate medication or equipment deliveries, access the care plan and self-service education about their care.

The second is support from their providers and the ability to communicate with clinicians and others when assistance or insight is needed, the way they prefer at that time, which could be a phone call, instant message or video call. Health care providers should seek to offer all options of communication to their patients.

By offering patients and home-based care professionals the ability to communicate securily via a single digital platform in real time, patients experience multiple benefits, including:

1. Instant Gratification

Patients and family caregivers can access help at any time, especially if the technology includes auto-routing and escalation. This means the right person will receive important inbound communications and be able to respond immediately. Providing an immediate response can prevent a lapse in care and helps put patients and family members at ease because they know the provider is always available for them.

2. Convenient Ordering

Through a digital health platform, supply ordering for medications, medical supplies or equipment can be done seamlessly and on an as-needed basis for the patient. With the right platform, external suppliers can be included in care team communication so they know exactly what is needed. This prevents excessive waste, delays in deliveries, or an inordinate amount of phone calls for patients and their family caregivers to accomplish one task such as a delivery.

3. Better Care

Better coordination between care teams means fewer opportunities for miscommunication. When everyone is in the loop on care plans, less administrative time is necessary when it comes to repeating communications about a patient or copying and pasting notes into a different solution. The result is more time that can be spent with patients and a higher level of patient safety because the chance for human error is reduced.

Home-based care markets continue to grow in popularity, making connected care a necessity to overcome some of today’s communication challenges, create smoother care transitions and improve overall patient care. Digital health platforms allow patients to feel more in control of their care and clinicians to keep their focus on enhancing patient care, rather than performing unnecessary administrative tasks.

In an environment where provider organizations are increasingly managing higher acuity patients in the home during an era of chronic labor shortages, connected care is essential for both patient and provider success.

By embracing connected technologies, we can begin to remove barriers and friction to care to provide a more meaningful patient experience.

Melissa Kozak is a registered nurse and co-founder and president of Citus Health. She is a seasoned clinician with a deep understanding of the home infusion and specialty pharmacy industries. With Citus, she created post-acute care’s first end-to-end digital health collaboration platform to solve the complexities of managing care in this space. Visit