Among the changes and advances affecting the home health care industry in 2019 – more flexibility in coverage by Medicare, increased demand for home care services, tracking outcomes and more – technology will make the biggest difference. BrightStar Care is ahead of the curve, though.
Technology is a Key Differentiator
Operating home health care agencies and sharing information will become more efficient as agencies move away from paper toward digital records.
Most of the home care and home health care industry still uses paper to document health reports and outcomes. Many agencies still rely on paper timecards to keep track of the hours their caregivers work. But, sharing information with health care providers, families and others is difficult and time consuming in that kind of environment.
BrightStar Care recognized the inadequacies and began developing electronic efficiencies years ago with proprietary technology called the Athena Business System (ABS). For example, in 2016 BrightStar Care moved to automated time and attendance of caregivers, who use a mobile device to clock in and out through ABS. This helps franchise owners keep track of performance as the ABS system will send the franchisee an alert if a caregiver is late. This allows the owner to reach out to the client to let them know their caregiver is on their way or send another caregiver, if needed. ABS also sends an alert to the owner if the caregiver clocks out early or does not arrive at the correct location.
Performance, along with accountability, is necessary for high-quality patient care. The ABS system also helps BrightStar Care franchisees’ caregivers perform their jobs with greater proficiency.
For example, when assessments are done, the system will instantly generate an electronic plan of care so clients, family members and nurses can view it. This provides an opportunity for all parties to discuss the plan and customize it to the needs of the client. It also gives caregivers clear and precise instructions. Through the ABS, if a task on the plan is left incomplete, the agency’s nurse is automatically notified.
In addition, the ABS automatically generates five key questions for each visit. If any of the questions are answered affirmatively (e.g. Was there a change in the condition? Was there a fall witnessed or unwitnessed?), the agency’s nurse is automatically notified. It creates management by exception for the agency’s nurses and allows them to respond to the client immediately. If more care is needed, the agency’s nurse is on top of that.
BrightStar Care agencies are delivering better quality of care and better outcomes. By doing away with paper, we can easily see the trends or issues.
Monitoring a Priority for BrightStar Care
Gaining insights into the quality of care also has benefits for BrightStar Care franchisees. The measurements are shared with health care referral partners, who want to know which actions are cost-effectively improving outcomes for their patients. This is important because BrightStar Care maintains a national accounts program that includes more than 100 health care organizations that refer business to our franchisees, and they want to see how our franchisees are improving outcomes for clients and lowering costs.