How Mobile Workforce Management Enhances Your EHR System
The increasing focus on patient-centric service, an aging population, and the rising use of remote patient monitoring have led to a boom in the home healthcare industry. On the hunt to serve more patients and improve efficiencies that lead to better outcomes, home healthcare agencies need better technology to support their businesses than what electronic health record (EHR) systems were originally created to do.
EHR systems were designed to electronically store patient data, essentially taking the place of a paper charting system. But in the modern healthcare world, providers need better patient data management, easy access to patient details, and other tools that facilitate day-to-day operations. EHRs were built to ensure compliance with record keeping requirements. They were not designed to schedule or manage the complexities of large teams of providers delivering care outside of a hospital setting.
This is where mobile workforce management has the potential to drive incredible efficiency in home healthcare. Pairing a mobile workforce management tool with an EHR system delivers considerable benefits to both patients and providers.
How Mobile Workforce Management and EHR Work Together
Mobile workforce management (MWM) software has transformative potential for your business when connected to your EHR. Imagine this: the care coordinators tasked with deciding who will be assigned to a patient and building complex schedules have all the information they need at their fingertips to make a choice that helps you meet your business goals. They can easily and consistently make decisions, based on real-time availability, skills, attributes, and locations, that give patients the right services from a provider who can consistently work with them over time.
Not only can your care coordinators more easily prioritize patients, but they can also give your valuable caregivers the schedules and assignments that best utilize their time and skills so they have more satisfying days serving patients. Your teams in the office and on the go will spend less time on the phone or in email correcting patient information or managing last-minute changes.
With all this data and real-time visibility available in one place, managers can make more informed decisions about staffing, resource allocation, and where to invest in growth.
This smoother, more efficient operation is possible when a mobile workforce management system can access and keep the information in your EHR up to date with data from your mobile or home healthcare operations. In this scenario, your EHR remains the system of record for your patients’ health history, record of care received, billing, and collections. Your MWM system becomes the place where availability, preferences, skills, certifications, locations, and schedules dynamically come together for your desked teams at the office.
For your mobile caregivers and providers, the MWM app on their mobile devices becomes a primary tool for their daily work. It supports caregivers to do everything more easily, from arriving on time, to focusing on patient care, and capturing the right data about patients and the visit.
How Mobile Workforce Management Benefits Your Patients
Connecting a mobile workforce management system with EHR can directly benefit your patients. First, connecting the two systems results in better initial matching of the patient to their optimal caregiver, in turn providing better quality of care and patient experience. This is because insights that can be taken into consideration that aren’t possible with EHR alone, such as:
- Which providers are the best fit for the patient based on required certifications plus attributes that the patient prefers, such as language skills or gender
- Which providers have experience with the patient’s specific health condition
- Which providers are more likely to provide continuous care based on long-term availability and location of service
- Which provider has a strong, established working relationship with the patient
Next, mobile workforce management gives you faster, easier, and more reliable scheduling. This means patients see shorter wait times to start care, more on-time starts to appointments, and an overall smoother experience working with your business. It also makes it much simpler to manage the process of changing an appointment by reducing the cycles of callbacks and emails to confirm a new date and time when either side needs to cancel.
Supplementing your EHR with a mobile workforce management system also makes communication leading up to and following the appointment easier. Patients can get SMS messages for appointment confirmations, reminders, and updates.
Finally, when providers have the right EHR and patient data available in an easy-to-use app, they can spend less time on administrative work and more time with the patients. Providers can arrive to appointments better prepared, spend less time looking for what they need, and focus on nurturing relationships with their patients. That’s good news for patients and great news for providers.
How Mobile Workforce Management Benefits Your Organization and Providers
Healthcare organizations can use the data from a connected mobile workforce platform and EHR system to gauge how to make improvements in processes, efficiencies, staffing, and more. For example, organizations gain visibility into and can make data-based decisions about:
- The number of visits scheduled in a geographic area
- The number of visits patients missed
- Provider travel times and routes followed
- Caseload capacities and schedules (over- or under staffing)
- Time spent with patients versus on the road
- Appointment duration
With this detailed look into operations, managers can better understand where there are opportunities for greater efficiency as well as ways to improve patient and provider experiences.
“In healthcare, you have fewer resources that you need to do more with, so building efficiencies is a top priority for everybody,” Darcie Peacock, CEO of Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare. “But don’t stop there. If we had only been looking to solve the scheduling issue and respond faster, we would have missed a lot of opportunities for our organization and our customers.”
Provider and Caregiver Retention
One area that many home healthcare providers struggle with is provider retention. Providers and caregivers are highly motivated by helping patients and are deeply frustrated when they are not given the tools and support from their employers to do so. In fact, that frustration is one of the contributors to provider burnout. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality calls out “time pressure, lack of control over work processes, role conflict, and poor relationships between groups and with leadership” as major contributors to healthcare worker burnout.
Giving providers tools that makes their work easier leads to increased employee efficiency, engagement, and retention. Connecting EHR with modern mobile workforce management empowers home healthcare providers with a mobile app that is designed like popular consumer apps they already know. It gives them precisely the information they need to know where they need to be, arrive on time, focus on the patient, and capture data without toggling between systems or filling out infinite forms.
In short, it helps providers deliver their best, day in and day out.
Some healthcare companies are finding that savvy providers and caregivers are asking potential employers how they manage workers and schedule their days—even what systems they use. Healthcare workers are well aware of the industry’s talent crunch and know they have options.
Imagine this: You are speaking to a group of potential employees, and you want them to choose you over a competing business. How much faster would that recruitment process be if you could show them that your company takes their personal needs and the quality of their experience into consideration on a daily basis?
Mobile Workforce Management Features to Leverage Your EHR
A good mobile workforce management tool offers features that not only benefit your patients and healthcare providers, but take your EHR-based technology stack to the next level.
Interoperability: To be truly useful, a mobile workforce management platform should seamlessly integrate with other tools to facilitate faster, easier scheduling, real-time communication, and EHR data integrity. Further, it should connect data from providers to your customer relationship management (CRM) system with ease so your organization can track, analyze, and improve service.
Compliance: Home healthcare providers access and manage patient histories, visit notes, and other sensitive patient personal health information. All patient data should be captured according to your country’s compliance laws, including the data collected to schedule appointments. For example, a must-have feature in the U.S. for a MWM tool in healthcare is HIPAA compliance.
Provider Communication: Real-time communication can be vital in healthcare. A mobile workforce management platform offers several features that support real-time communication. For example, in the event of an incident or decline in patient health during a visit, the MWM system should have the capability to capture vital details about the event and immediately escalate the situation to the team at the office. Another feature to look for is in-app chat so conversations between the office and the provider is captured in the patient or visit record.
Patient Communication: With mobile workforce tools, home healthcare organizations can send SMS messages to patients to confirm appointments, notify them if their provider is running late, or if something changes with an appointment. With mobile workforce management enhancing the EHR system, patients and providers can communicate in a way that enhances your data management.
One example of an organization that successfully combined mobile workforce management with EHR is Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare, the largest provider of its kind in Colorado, with over 185 clinicians in the field. With their new and improved scheduling capabilities, and access to valuable data, they were able to repair broken systems, eliminate delays, and reduce patient no-shows by an impressive 84%.
A Mobile Workforce Management Tool That Extends Your EHR
Mobile workforce management paired with EHR benefits patients, providers, and healthcare companies by simplifying the complexities of managing mobile and home healthcare. Increase operational efficiencies, enhance your ability to provide high-quality patient service, and retain valuable employees to give your organization a competitive edge in the crowded healthcare marketplace.
Are you ready to better leverage your EHR system with mobile workforce management? Book a demo with Skedulo today.