As the Chief Strategy Officer here at Forcura, I’m privy to cutting-edge technology and new processes that we, as a company, invest in. Mobile is a very large part of those investments. It always has been, but our focus is getting even stronger these days as our customers and the overall healthcare industry show us how important a mobile strategy really is. Mobile care coordination tools, in particular, are getting a lot of attention.
Case in point: More than 90 percent of healthcare providers surveyed say they are implementing or plan to implement a mobile initiative, while another nearly 50 percent say they are going to increase mobile device usage at nurses stations, administrative offices, places of clinical care, and patient rooms. There’s a good reason for this huge jump in mobile in the healthcare world: that same study found that the use of mobile devices improved employee productivity. More important, mobile devices help make patients happier. Almost all – 96 percent – of healthcare IT decision makers say that they saw a “positive impact on patient experience scores.”
With this in mind it’s probably safe to say your agency is either using or getting ready to add mobile care coordination tools to your arsenal. These tools help caregivers in the field, making every process and task faster, more precise, and easier. As with all technology offerings, there are many options out there – some better than others – so choosing the right application is extremely important.
Here at Forcura we know our applications and services are exceptional, but we also know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We want our customers and prospects to do their research. We want them to look around, see what the options are, and make the choice that is right for them and their agencies. That said, below, find five things you should take into consideration when evaluating mobile care coordination tools.
1) The tool is secure and compliant
We live in an always-on society. Consumers are used to getting what they need when they need it. As history has shown the home healthcare and hospice industry, caregivers are no different. Today, caregivers are out there solving their own problems with technology, which can be a big issue for home healthcare and hospice agencies. If nurses communicate with each other, doctors, or the home office over an insecure mobile device, your organization isn’t going to be in compliance. You’re also going to miss out on documentation and continuity of care.
This is why, as an agency, you must provide a secure messaging app that works with whatever device works for employees. That application should be HIPAA-compliant, but there’s more to mobile success than simple compliance. Look for features like two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and fingerprint authentication. Your employees’ messages should be encrypted on the device and in transit. And nothing should remain on the device. Everything that’s stored should be captured on the device and stored remotely.
2) Your new app has built-in interoperability and integration with EHR and other healthcare applications
Your team is probably using several applications right now, including at least one EHR. Giving care providers yet another app can be an exercise in futility if it doesn’t integrate with the tools you already have – and ones you will add in the future. They (and you) should be able to have all of your messaging automatically archived and attached to a patient chart so it can be accessed at a later date. After all, messages about patients are going to include specific care information, data, and photographs. That’s information that should be saved and your employees shouldn’t have to do anything to make that happen.
3) It’s easy to use, streamlining communication and document capture
If an app doesn’t allow instant collaboration and communication with your entire team as well as outside healthcare providers, your employees are going to look elsewhere for that functionality – typically their own SMS apps.
There are plenty of applications out there that – like Forcura’s solutions – provide one-to-one and one-to-many communication. However, no one else out there offers the ability to communicate via secure messaging, scan and capture documents, and perform wound measurement from the same interface. If you’re looking for a messaging tool why wouldn’t you want something that functions as a Swiss Army Knife, giving those in the field everything they need to do their jobs without having to download multiple apps?
4) Administrators have plenty of control and visibility
As an administrator, you need access and visibility into what your employees are doing. Have they created the right documentation? Are they communicating with the right people? Are they getting the right approvals and signatures? Are they missing anything for the intake process? You also need the ability to create messaging groups, ensuring the right people are there to support your care-giving team.
5) It improves patient care
While this piece of criteria sits at the end of my list, it’s something that is always been at the top of Forcura’s list. We know our customers are looking for mobile solutions, ultimately, to make patient care better.
Home health and hospice agencies need applications that facilitate complete, real-time communication between internal and external stakeholders. Those applications should allow the clinician to focus completely on the patient but still facilitate documentation collection and transport. They should streamline the intake process and change the speed of care because when that happens, it’s a game changer for the delivery of compassionate care.
THE FIVE Things to look for in mobile healthcare technology:
THE TOOL IS SECURE AND COMPLIANT
IT HAS BUILT-IN INTEROPERABILITY AND INTEGRATION WITH EHR AND OTHER HEALTHCARE APPLICATIONS
IT’S EASY TO USE, STREAMLINING COMMUNICATION AND DOCUMENT CAPTURE
ADMINISTRATORS HAVE PLENTY OF CONTROL AND VISIBILITY
IT IMPROVES PATIENT CARE
Annie Erstling leads strategy and marketing for Forcura. She has experience launching new brands, products and companies in the healthcare, technology, hospitality and consumer products industries on both the corporate and agency side of marketing. Connect with Annie on LinkedIn.