Community Hospice Boosts Documentation Efficiency by 75% with the Brightree Hospice Solution on the iPad®

Case Study Snapshot

Challenges

  • Bulky laptops created a physical barrier between patients and clinicians, preventing clinicians from providing personalized, one-on-one care
  • Ineffective documentation processes hindered clinician workflow and often forced clinicians to use personal time to complete documentation
  • Poor documentation procedures resulted in incomplete and inaccurate notes from patients, resulting in miscommunication and delaying additional patient care

Breakthroughs

Benefits

  • 75% time savings over manual documentation
  • More efficient and accurate documentation ensuring timely reimbursement
  • Allowed clinicians and aides more time to provide higher-touch care and enhance patient engagement
  • Expanded opportunities to support and inform caregivers about patient
  • Increased staff satisfaction with the documentation process and solution

Founded in 1999, Community Hospice offers in-home and inpatient clinical and supportive care to 80 to 90 patients daily in Vidalia, Georgia and 14 surrounding counties. As the only inpatient hospice facility in this large, rural region, the agency is a nonprofit charitable foundation that cares for patients and supports caregivers regardless of their financial circumstances.

Working in concert to deliver an inviting, compassionate experience, the Community Hospice team includes eight nursing assistants, 18 clinicians, as well as social workers, personal care specialists, chaplains, grief counselors and volunteers. Community Hospice is dedicated to providing high-quality, high-touch care during a patient and family’s greatest time of need.

Barriers

Putting patients first and providing compassionate care beyond measure are Community Hospice’s two driving principles. With recent changes to documentation requirements, staff became stretched to balance billing, reporting and other documentation demands while still providing care that was sympathetic and sensitive to the unique needs of the patient and family caregiver.

Although Community Hospice had previously implemented an electronic health record (EHR) solution, they quickly returned to paper-based documentation due to the ineffectiveness, and bulkiness of their laptop-based EHR solution. Being back on paper meant that aides and clinicians needed to make notations by hand, during patient visits, and then complete narratives and related documentation later. With patients having advanced illnesses and worried family members present at the visits, staff also believed that stopping to document manually during these sensitive moments detracted from a patient-focused experience.

In addition to being cumbersome, the paper-based process was also a burden when information needed to be shared, since staff had to fax or mail billing information rather than sending it electronically. Delaying completion of documentation increased the risk for inaccuracy in the patient’s record which potentially affected reimbursements. This also delayed symptom control interventions that could have benefited the patient.

To address these challenges, Community Hospice sought a new solution that would help staff to document more efficiently so they could continue to provide high-touch, compassionate services for patients and families.

Breakthroughs

After evaluating several different solutions, Community Hospice administrators chose to implement Brightree Hospice software. Brightree’s robust training, tools and online support made it a clear choice. The solution enabled clinicians to quickly and efficiently document patient visits using laptops rather than document manually.

“Depending on how much of a narrative needed to be written, it could take up to 10 minutes to manually document a visit,” says Jennifer Richter, LCSW, ACHP-SW Social Worker, Director of Clinical Services, Community Hospice. “When we switched to laptops that time was cut in half—reducing documentation time to about five minutes.”

However, only their clinicians were transitioned to laptops while their aides continued to document by hand due to expenses associated with the purchase of the new hardware. When Brightree launched an iPad-based point-of-care solution, Community Hospice quickly embraced it for their staff. Due to the lower cost of the devices, they were not only able to provide iPads to many of their clinicians, but also iPad minis for all of their aides. By inputting information together as a group, the staff was able to seamlessly adopt the new solution within three days of training.

“The Brightree point-of-care solution on the iPad was so intuitive, it made transitioning really easy.” Richter explains. “Since implementing Brightree’s iPad point-of-care solution, we’ve reduced documentation time in half again, where it’s now down to two to three minutes per visit versus 10 minutes manually.”

Benefits

As a result, clinicians and aides spent 75 percent less time on documentation. This gave them more time to provide higher-touch patient care and support caregivers. It provided aides with a unique tool for engaging patients by displaying photos to serve as a conversation starter or playing comforting music. The clinicians also use the Brightree Hospice solution to review key information related to the care plan or medications, which allows them to ask and answer questions on the spot. This immediate feedback helps reassure patients and family caregivers, and ensures that patients are complying with care plans and medications.

Community Hospice’s staff has been pleased with the time-savings, efficiency and convenience Brightree’s iPad-based solution offers, particularly because it has made their lives easier and requires them to use less personal time for documentation. Now aides and clinicians can simply click through their activities list in the patient’s care plan, allowing more time to focus on the patient and their family.

“The aides are happy they’re also on the Brightree system because they no longer have to hand write notes, and they feel like using the iPad solution makes them look more professional,” says Richter.

Additionally, aides and clinicians have been able to code patient charts more efficiently and accurately because codes are embedded directly in the application, saving them from having to search through unwieldy reference books. Not only is this a benefit from a productivity and satisfaction perspective, but it also helps mitigate audit and other risks associated with coding quality, such as delayed reimbursement due to incomplete or inaccurate information.

Using the Brightree solution, Community Hospice is able to fulfill its vision and provide more compassionate, personalized care by allowing clinicians and aides to focus their time on patients rather than documentation, while continuing to meet regulatory requirements and ensuring reimbursements with Brightree’s easy to use, yet compliant EHR solution.

Posted In: Case Studies · Hospice

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