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Spanish Oaks Streamlines Operations and Quadruples Census with Brightree Hospice Software

Spanish Oaks Streamlines Operations and Quadruples Census with Brightree Hospice Software

Case Study Snapshot


  • Needed to streamline various workflow processes
  • Wasted staff time on administrative tasks
  • Wanted to avoid technology challenges of typical computer systems



  • Quadrupled census with no additional billing staff
  • Eliminated “on call” meeting time saving $100,000 / year
  • Significantly reduced IDT prep time
  • Eliminated lost productivity from computer system “down time”
  • The cloud-based solution meant nurses did not have to visit the office as often

Susan Bennett, executive director at Spanish Oaks Hospice, could clearly see the pros and cons of her new position when she came to Spanish Oaks Hospice from a larger organization. Founded by the owner of an assisted living facility for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, Spanish Oaks Hospice prides itself on providing outstanding care for patients at the end of life. The medical director is a gerontologist, and the staff has a special knack for treating dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

However, when she arrived Spanish Oaks had an average census of 30-40 patients and everything was done on paper – “and that was a lot of paper,” Bennett stressed. Assessment forms were six pages, front and back. It took 10 pages to do documentation.

Cloud-Based Simplifies the Technology

While Bennett simplified several processes, she knew that in order to grow, Spanish Oaks needed to move to a computer-based system.

“There’s no comparison between paper and a good computer system,” Bennett said. “And there’s also no comparison between an older generation server-based system and new cloud-based software.”

Bennett’s experience in her prior job had vividly illustrated the shortcomings of traditional server-based software: equipment, IT personnel costs, and continually dealing with updates and downtime. “It seemed like there was always a problem with something,” she said. The advantages of a cloud-based system were obvious.

“Older systems may look ok initially,” she said, “but that’s because they don’t tell you about everything you have to do on your end. And when a server crashes and you have go back to using paper…it’s a nightmare.”

After shopping around, Bennett found a few systems she liked – then she eliminated the ones that were actually hosted versions of older generation technology. “We wanted a system that was actually developed to be a true web solution,” she said. She chose the Brightree Hospice software solution primarily for the point-of-care functionality and its cloud-based architecture.

“The Brightree system is easy to use,” she said. “And l love the fact that it keeps staff from being stuck to a desk. They can work from the patient’s home or their own home, rather than wasting time driving back and forth to the office and spending money on gasoline.”

Streamlined Processes

Implementation of the Brightree hospice software solution was simple, and after a few months the benefits were obvious in all areas of operation. Bennett reflected, “The new system streamlined our processes significantly, from admissions to care delivery, all the way through to billing. No more hauling around huge notebooks. No more crossing out and initialing changes, rewriting care plans, or waiting around for someone to make a copy.”.

“Everything is there in the system,” Bennett explains. That includes previous assessments, care plans, lab notes, medical history, team notes, doctor’s orders, and communications with family.” It makes care delivery a lot quicker, a lot more accurate, and it takes the guesswork out for the staff,” Bennett stresses. “There’s no paper trail that can get lost, and we communicate better because we’re all on the same page.”

Before the move to Brightree, the Spanish Oaks staff spent hours each week in an “on call” meeting preparing for the weekend. “I figure we save 3-4 hours a week times 14 nurses,” exclaimed Bennett. The time savings didn’t end there.

“We also slashed the time we used to spend with chart audits and IDT prep,” she added. “I can’t even imagine how much time we save in those areas. More importantly, we improve patient care with features like the QAPI pain management protocol.”

Brightree’s pain management protocol was developed with input and direction from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Operations board. This helps Spanish Oaks more effectively manage their patients’ care and comfort while meeting all the CMS reporting requirements. The billing process became much easier too. “The system catches errors and eliminates problems before they are started,” added Bennett. “Over the last few years our census has quadrupled but we are able to handle the increased billing with the same staff.”

In-Home and In-Patient

Since Bennett’s arrival Spanish Oaks has seen its census quadruple and now has plans to start construction on their first hospice facility.

“Brightree has been a great partner and we are pleased with the attention they have given to all the unique requirements of running a hospice organization,” said Bennett.

For their new in-patient facility, they use the shift note functionality in Brightree. Each shift can be closed and visit notes produced at the push of a button. The notes document every encounter during the shift in chronological order, providing the next shift a quick and complete picture of the patient population.

Bennett added, “With our new facility coming on line soon it’s great to know that Brightree will handle the unique aspects of that operation as well.”

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