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4 Ways to Ease Documentation Work of Clinicians

    Documentation is an integral part of healthcare, demanding nearly the same time and effort as direct patient care. This is particularly true in home health, where compliance standards and documentation guidelines have progressively become stricter and more intricate. Consequently, this has become a significant challenge for home health clinicians.

    Given the persistent shortage of clinicians, it is now imperative for home health agencies to seek solutions to alleviate the documentation burden on clinicians, allowing them to dedicate more attention to patient care, achieve a better work-life balance, and enhance their overall job satisfaction. We have outlined several ways in which agencies can accomplish this.

    Leverage Intake

    Your intake process can significantly help boost clinician efficiency by minimizing the time clinicians spend gathering data during patient visits. For instance, intake staff can gather details from the discharge summary like patient demographics, insurance information, diagnoses, medications, treatments, advanced directives, DME supplies, and nutritional requirements beforehand. Patient’s Personal and Professional contacts can also be collected ahead during intake. By doing so, clinicians will only need to review and update this information during the visit rather than entering it themselves from scratch. This streamlined approach saves time and ensures accurate data collection.

    Optimize Scheduling

    Efficiently scheduling clinician home health visits involves prioritizing patients based on urgency, clustering visits by geography, utilizing scheduling software, considering clinician preferences, integrating telehealth, cross-training staff, and planning for contingencies. By coordinating these aspects effectively, home health agencies can optimize clinician schedules, reduce travel time, enhance productivity, and ensure timely and high-quality care delivery to patients in their homes.

    Provide Easy Access to Information

    It is helpful for clinicians to know the current health status of their patients before seeing them to save time during the actual home visit and ensure better care. Clinicians often spend too much time gathering this information, especially if they do so while already at the patient’s home. Providing easy access to relevant patient data, before and during patient care, would enhance their productivity, satisfaction, and overall care delivery. Train your clinicians to get familiar with features in your EMR system that allow quick access to essential clinical information, current medication lists, care plans, clinical summaries, and past clinical notes for the patient. Access to communication logs, visit notes, and schedules should also be available. Having all this information in one place would allow clinicians to make better use of their time and deliver personalized care.

    Provide Charting Support

    Documentation can feel overwhelming for clinicians, who often dedicate hours to charting in the EMR even after lengthy patient visits. While templated responses in certain sections of the OASIS can help, it would also greatly benefit agencies to strategically design their own patient assessment form that saves time by eliminating redundancy and capturing only key patient data. This enables clinicians to quickly jot down information during patient visits, facilitating easier reference when completing the OASIS later on. Moreover, it’s worth considering new approaches like transcription services or virtual assistant companions during patient encounters to streamline and simplify documentation tasks for clinicians.

    Streamline Quality Assurance

    The quality assurance (QA) program plays a crucial role in ensuring accuracy and consistency in documentation. However, without strategic implementation, it can become an added burden for clinicians. Typically, this process involves ongoing communication between the clinician and the QA specialist, with clinicians revisiting their charts multiple times to correct potential errors.

    Your QA program should outline where QA specialists can directly make corrections in the chart and where QA recommendations should be sent back to clinicians. This approach saves clinicians time when minor errors are proactively addressed during the QA process. Additionally, the QA program should support ongoing education for clinicians, allowing them to learn from QA recommendations over time, and improve their charting skills. As a result, fewer QA queries will need to be sent back to clinicians for adjustments to their documentation.

    Clinicians are the cornerstone of home healthcare. To best support them, agencies need to leverage their administrative functions through the use of the right tools and solutions. This will help boost clinician productivity, lighten their workload, and ultimately lead to improved patient care and optimal resource allocation for home health businesses.