Among the changes the pandemic has spurred in the healthcare system, arguably the one that will have the longest-term impact is the increased adoption of technology. This is especially true in hospice and palliative care, where technology adoption has historically been comparatively slow.
But that’s all changing as providers start to realize the operational, financial, and patient care benefits of digital solutions. This article looks at four new technologies that are already transforming hospice and palliative care.
1. Customer relationship management (CRM)
Transitions to hospice care are never easy, and a prolonged admissions process can make a difficult time even harder. CRM facilitates admissions and patient transitions by capturing referrals, gathering patient data, verifying payor information, and tracking key metrics such as length of stay.
Through this automation, CRM not only speeds the admissions process and eliminates errors due to manual data entry, but also frees up your sales team’s time so they can focus on nurturing relationships with patients and their loved ones.
Benefits of CRM for hospice and palliative care:
- Capture and track referrals in real time
- Improve conversion rates
- Decrease data entry
- Gain insight into admissions and denials by referral source
- Speed the pre-admission process
2. Marketing automation
Like CRM, marketing automation takes care of repetitive tasks so the sales team can do the work that requires a human touch. In hospice and palliative care, marketing automation is frequently used to deliver content to educate patients about the care that will be available when they need it.
Despite the term marketing, this tool can also be used after an admission to keep loved ones informed and provide useful information such as tips and tricks for care at home.
Benefits of marketing automation for hospice and palliative care:
- Capture more web leads
- Follow up with leads as soon as they come in
- Educate and nurture leads with relevant content
- Contact patients as soon as they become eligible for hospice or palliative care
- Provide patients and their loved ones with timely information
- Gain insight into your contact database
To learn more about the benefits of combining CRM and marketing automation, read “The New Hospice Experience: Communicate, Educate, and Track.”
3. Predictive analytics
The new value-based payment system provides incentives for quality care and patient satisfaction. One of the main ways hospice and palliative care providers can increase quality and satisfaction is to ensure that people are getting the right type of care at the right time.
Predictive analytics tools, which include business intelligence and artificial intelligence, can help providers identify prospective patients earlier. By identifying the need in advance, providers can prepare to better serve patients once hospice or palliative care becomes the best option.
Matt Kehlmeier, executive director and assistant vice president for National Church Residences, put it this way: “Long before we have the crisis, we are having a conversation about the things to think about: ‘These are the options. This is how this disease plays out. Now is the time to think about this.’…A longer length of stay is a much more profitable one and saves an awful lot of resources, such as medically unnecessary hospitalizations.”
Benefits of predictive analytics for hospice and palliative care:
- Identify the need for hospice or palliative care earlier
- Improve patient outcomes while right-sizing resource usage
- Customize reporting to improve sales productivity
- Analyze referral and other lead sources to guide future investment
- Increase profitability with real-time actionable insights
Telehealth is the technology set to have the biggest impact on the industry, according to the 2021 Hospice Industry Outlook Report. Not only does telehealth improve patient outcomes by facilitating monitoring and communication, it allows providers to serve a wider range of patients, such as those who live in remote areas.
In addition, patients and family caregivers want the option. Hospice News reports that in a recent survey 80% of family caregivers said they would rate a care provider more highly if they offered a digital platform for real-time communication.
Benefits of telehealth for hospice and palliative care:
- Decrease travel needs and related costs
- Grow your patient base
- Increase engagement with patients and their loved ones
- Achieve higher patient satisfaction ratings
The importance of interoperability
These four technologies have the potential to revolutionize hospice and palliative care, making processes more efficient on the provider side and improving outcomes on the patient side. But to achieve those goals, the technologies and the data they hold can’t exist in silos — they need to communicate with one another.
At the moment, there is an interoperability gap, and that gap is likely impacting providers’ bottom lines. A MatrixCare survey earlier this year revealed that more than three quarters (76%) of referral sources would switch to a post-acute care provider that had greater electronic data access.
As technology adoption continues, interoperability will become table stakes for any system serving the hospice and palliative care industry. Enquire CRM and marketing automation are fully interoperable technologies that help hospice and palliative care providers capture more referrals, improve conversions, and nurture key relationships. Learn more about how Enquire can transform your operations.