Forcura is a technology company, but -- as I’ve mentioned before – its main focus from the start has been the human element of healthcare.
Specifically, when I started the company, I wanted to help people like my wife, who worked with a home health agency in Jacksonville, improve their productivity and simplify the administration of care so they could focus on patient care. We’ve been successful in this noble challenge. It’s something we’re all very proud of at Forcura. Our technology helps our customers provide world-class patient-centered care to the people they have the honor of serving.
This topic is something we heard a lot about in our Influencer Series with healthcare and hospice leaders at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Annual Meeting this year. More than many other segments of healthcare, patient-centered care is core to the work home health and hospice providers do because the work is so very personal. However, like anything worthwhile, it’s not always easy to achieve.
Achieving anything starts with creating a goal, but that’s where it can get tricky since patient-centered care looks different for everyone. Marie Perillo, chief patient experience officer and VP, Service Excellence at the VNA Health Group told us that she spent time at the Mayo Clinic to learn what works best when implementing patient-centered care. Once she was back at her organization, she started the process by using technology to measure the patient experience, track and trend it, capture feedback, and report everything out in a regular cadence. Managers could use the data gleaned from the results as a facilitator. This allowed everyone within the organization to make process improvements as needed, she says.
Here at Forcura we’ve been touting the patient-centered benefits of technology since we launched our first product. Today, we see our offerings such as Document Workflow and Mobile Care Coordination as key elements in the patient-centered journey. When agencies can scan consent forms, wound images, and other required documentation and attach them directly to an electronic medical record, caregivers are better informed, enabling better care. Likewise, with document management, patient on-boarding can happen faster and patients aren’t left waiting for days for their home healthcare or hospice services to start.
Dr. Robert Rosati, the chair of the Connected Health Institute and VP of Data Research and Quality at VNA Health Group agrees, saying that access to data is improving patient experience. “One of the chief complaints we’ve gotten is how long it takes for a nurse to get out there for a first visit,” explains Rosati. “We studied and analyzed and looked across the organization to say, ‘Where are we falling down in terms of being there quick enough and what drives that?’ We’ve looked at data to make sure we can do better on processes to meet patient needs.”
Applications such as our Intake & Referral Management can help organizations like VNA Health Group. It’s a simple tool that can reduce the time between a doctor writing an order for home healthcare or hospice and a care provider knocking on the front door. We’ve seen our customers reduce document processing time by 60 percent and improve time-to-payment significantly, as well.
There’s also a focus on bringing more people into the care equation. Karen Vahlberg, the CEO of LifeSpring Home Care was quick to point out that – only five or ten years ago – her agency would receive a patient on service and the patient would be all theirs. Today, the paradigm has changed completely, she says.
“Now the hospitals want to know how it’s going, how are we keeping them out [of a re-admittance], how are we preparing them for the next setting of care.” They can check on a patient, getting electronic updates using tools like EHRs. Going forward, Forcura’s mobile platform, which enables instant communication and document and data sharing will make communication even faster, putting the patient’s well-being front and center.
All of these technologies and the analysis of data are important to agencies, but the most important thing to think about is why we’re all doing this, which brings me back to our original vision for the company. It’s really all about the patients.
“It’s important that we’re really making it known [that] we’re here to make things better for people,” VNA’s Perillo explained, adding, “Becoming person-centric is one of our goals at the VNA Health Group. We used to hear people saying patient and family-centered care. It's important to realize that patient is just a temporary title and it’s really focusing on the person [that matters].”
Craig Mandeville is CEO of Forcura and a healthcare industry innovator. Connect with Craig on LinkedIn.