Coordination Problems in Home Health Agencies

The goal of any home health office is to run operations as efficiently as possible. One of the biggest factors in operational efficiency is found in the scheduling coordination — largely due to a lack of real-time visibility into what’s going on at any given moment. It can be a difficult journey without a smooth process in place.

Problems such as scheduling conflicts and challenges coordinating care stem from having limited visibility into other team members’ schedules. Read on to learn more about these problems and how you can avoid them. 

Today, home health clinicians are accustomed to setting their own daily schedules while leaving space to accommodate same day appointment requests.  The clinician’s day to day operation becomes unpredictable making it very difficult for others to anticipate where a clinician will be at any given time.  Several EMRs being used by home health agencies do not allow clinicians to manage their appointment’s time of day.  Therefore, clinicians record their scheduled appointment times on personal calendars (sometimes on paper) which are neither accessible to other clinicians nor a secure method of recording patient information.  

Scheduling conflicts amongst the home healthcare team:

Clinicians scheduling an appointment with their patients have no insight into their peers’ schedules.  This could result in multiple staff inadvertently scheduling visits with the same patient at the same time.  When scheduling conflicts occur, one clinician may have to wait in the patient’s home until the other discipline finishes their treatment.  There are cases where clinicians may co-treat, but this isn’t always optimal, as time is limited. Scheduling conflicts force clinicians to rearrange their schedule to factor the delay. As a result, a decrease in worker productivity is experienced. Relieving your patients of the burden of coordinating between your staff results in better customer service and improved resource utilization.

Challenges coordinating care between clinicians:

Home health clinicians plan their treatment sessions based on whether the patient is achieving the goals described within the patient’s plan of care.  Clinicians often need to coordinate services on a per-visit basis, and to do this they need to know when other disciplines are scheduling treatments.  A clinician may not want to visit a patient shortly after a specific service has been delivered. For instance, an Occupational Therapist may not want to visit a patient who was recently seen by a Physical Therapist — the patient may be too tired after mobility therapy.  On the other hand, some disciplines may benefit through linking their visits to co-treat or perform a supervisory visit.  For example, an Occupational Therapist who’s been educating a patient on shower transfers may want to coordinate with the home health aide performing showers to confirm training is carrying over. The quality of coordination can significantly impact the quality of care the patient receives.

Improve your care coordination between clinicians.

CareStitch offers a workforce management solution that can dramatically improve coordination amongst the entire care team. Learn how we can help improve care coordination, reduce missing patient visits, and eliminate scheduling conflicts. 

Contact us today and get a free demo of our workforce management and communications platform.

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