We live in a mobile world, becoming more so with each passing day. There are very few industries that have not been affected by digital transformation in some way, shape or form. Then again, it is evident that heavily regulated industries—requiring multiple levels of compliance—are laggards. The reason is simple: compliance with regulations is a requirement and not all software can meet the stringent certification obligations.
One industry exploring digital transformation in earnest is mobile healthcare services, such as home healthcare providers, hospices, health visitation services, and similar organizations that maintain a highly distributed mobile healthcare workforce.
Finding HIPAA compliant mobile healthcare software to meet the stringent needs of health services organizations is a must if you want to trade in paper-based processes for their digital equivalents.
At Field Squared, we know the challenges faced by mobile healthcare service providers, which is why we took the time and effort to certify our field service automation software is HIPAA compliant.
In this post, I discuss how you can increase mobile healthcare service operational efficiency while keeping patient health data security top of mind. From dispatching RNs/LPNs and technicians on patient visits to building HIPAA compliant digital mobile health forms, read on to learn 5 ways to automate your mobile healthcare service operations.
#1: Schedule and Dispatch Nurses and/or Technicians on Patient Visits
The nature of mobile healthcare services often involves either infrequent or recurring patient visits (i.e., daily, weekly, bi-weekly). In the case of hospice, for instance, there is an entire process from evaluating whether the patient meets the definition of a hospice patient; admittance/discharge; assigning the nurse case manager and/or hospice aide; establishing a skilled nursing care plan; and scheduling recurring check-ins.
Automation can be applied at many points throughout the end-to-end process to not only ensure necessary steps aren’t inadvertently skipped, but also to free-up time for operations managers as well as the mobile healthcare worker to focus on higher-priority, higher-level tasks.
Scheduling patient visits is an area of field service and mobile workforce management where automation can have a profound impact on field operations, including
- Create recurring patient care schedules, with all patient documentation and any mobile health forms attached directly to the visit
- Dispatch the nearest or next available health worker for a patient visit
- Tag health workers with skills, certifications and other criteria to ensure the right health worker is scheduled for the right jobs
- Incorporate territories into schedules, allocating your mobile health staff to your chosen allotted regions
- Utilize service route optimization to reduce drive time
- Take into account staff on-call hours
Mobile healthcare service providers I’ve spoken with tend to fall somewhere along the spectrum of scheduling capabilities. Typically, they’re either using an Outlook to spreadsheet process or took it one step further and downloaded an app with simple functionality that still doesn’t meet their needs.
Wherever your organization is on that spectrum, there is clear evidence automation can help.
#2: Trade in Paper Forms for HIPAA Compliant Digital Mobile Healthcare Forms
If you’ve ever taken a survey where is asked a few introductory questions, chances are there was skip logic built in. Incorporating skip logic in mobile forms is the exact same concept.
Ah, paper. We love to love it, but we also love to hate it. Trading in paper forms for digital mobile forms is probably the single greatest thing mobile healthcare organizations can do for themselves, but also for the sake of the environment.
First, some digital mobile form providers make it super simple to convert your paper forms to digital. And this has to be said, Field Squared has the industry-leading forms builder native to our Platform, allowing you to re-create your forms in minutes.
There are also a few other key features to help healthcare organizations with their unique industry-specific digital form needs:
- Integrate EMR and other health information systems to enable pre-filled form fields with patient data – this saves the health worker valuable time filling out the typical mound of paperwork for the average patient visit. You can also integrate insurance invoicing to bill and get paid faster.
- Make clinical decision support documentation available within the mobile app
- Employ skip-logic and business rules, only displaying the next field based upon the answer to the previous field – not all form fields are required or necessary, so there is no need to display them at the time the form is being filled out.
- Capture photos to document conditions.
- Automate admit/discharge approval workflows to capture required signatures.
- Leverage radio boxes, sliders and checkboxes to allow mobile health staff to move through assessments and form notes with ease.
- Digitize any type of healthcare form such as admits, advance directives, nurse notes, visits, discharge, nurse visits, aide activity, skilled nursing notes, physical therapy plan of care, occupational therapy plan of care, medical social work assessment, new client start of care, etc.
Digital mobile form capabilities surpass their paper version in every way. Some mobile form software even tracks the GPS location, user and time-stamp of every interaction, so you can audit with ease when needed.
#3: Improve Patient Care and Customer Service with Real-Time Status Updates
Mobile health workers deal with a multitude of factors on their way to see a patient. Traffic, weather and visits that run long all impact when the next visit will occur. Patients like to know when their provider will arrive or if their visit needs to be rescheduled.
That’s where automation can help take the guess-work out of the equation while improving the patient customer experience.
Automating real-time status updates to patients based on the schedule, as well as location of the health worker, are seamless with field service software built with the unique needs of healthcare providers in mind. The act of simply automating a status update via text message puts the patient’s nerves at ease. After all, they are awaiting a visit from a healthcare professional, one of the more anxiety-inducing, stressful type of appointment for most people.
#4: Track and View Staff and Patient Locations in Real-Time
Mobile healthcare is unlike any other field within the healthcare industry, where staff typically spends their day in more or less the same area (i.e., clinic, hospital, medical campus). Of course, there are exceptions.
Driving from patient visit to patient visit, mobile healthcare workers may travel hundreds of miles a day to complete their job. The vast distance between the corporate office and wherever the patient is makes it a challenge for operations managers to have visibility into where their staff is.
The ability to track and view staff on a map in real-time provides the much-needed visibility customarily lacking without comprehensive field service management software.
Triaging patient visits, urgent calls or other such situations are made that much easier by viewing locations in real-time, with the capability to schedule a visit directly on the map itself.
#5: Orchestrate Updates Across Third-Party Healthcare Operations Systems and Tools
Today, there are very few reasons not to leverage automated workflows to integrate and orchestrate information from mobile healthcare worker activities across the third-party health information systems, software and tools your organization uses. The alternative is forcing staff to re-enter data in multiple systems to achieve the desired result: the same data where it needs to be at the same time.
You wouldn’t integrate other systems that maintain HIPAA compliance with one that doesn’t. At least in the case of Field Squared, we are HIPAA compliant, allowing you to take full advantage of the platform capabilities while remaining confident in the security of sensitive health information.
Depending on the systems you use and the types of activities your mobile healthcare workforce conducts, there are a few workflows to automate first:
- Updates to EMR systems automatically pulled from the digital mobile healthcare forms completed during the patient visit
- Changes to master patient indexes
- Connect remote patient monitoring systems, automatically sending critical alerts to staff when values are out of range
- Integrate insurance billing systems to invoice get paid faster
With all this data, you can easily report key metrics at various levels of the organization, slicing the data as needed. You can also export the data for further analysis or integrate analytics tools.
Healthcare is unique in their requirements for field service management automation software capabilities. Not all software can meet such stringent needs, but that’s one of the reasons Field Squared helps healthcare organizations.
If you’re ready to see it in action, request a demo today. We’d love to show you how you can do all the things in an all-in-one solution.