In today’s world, patient care is increasingly delivered outside the four walls of the hospital, clinic or doctor’s office. Medicare Advantage Plans, for example, use in-field care coordinators to conduct at-home health visits with members. On the Medicaid side, plans often rely on field teams to serve homeless populations either in shelters or mobile clinics in urban areas.
The work environment for these in-field care coordinators is burdensome. For their daily visits, they must print reams of paper documents like assessments, care plan documents and more. With pens or pencils, they write information down at each patient encounter. Endless juggling of papers detracts from the patient encounter and the care provided.
Although the in-field care coordinators’ patient visits may be finished for the day, their work is just beginning. They must connect to a Wi-Fi network, whether at their office or in a local coffee shop, organize their paper forms completed that day and manually enter information into the care management system either through a laptop or a tablet. This data entry work to record details about the care provided to each patient is duplicative, time-consuming and can be prone to human error. It has negative impacts for the care coordinator, but this can also negatively impact a plan due to the number of resources and amount of time needed to re-do documentation and ensure documentary completeness and accuracy.
Telehealth Isn’t a Substitute for In-Field Care Coordination
COVID-19 demonstrated that telehealth is a viable alternative for certain types of healthcare, such as routine check-ins for chronic disease management, behavioral health consultations and more. Not every individual, however, is able to access telemedicine.
Data from the 2019 Census found that nearly one quarter (23%) of Americans don’t have a wired broadband connection and that percentage increases to over 35% for households earning less than $20,000 per year. Race and ethnicity are also correlated with lower levels of access to broadband Internet. A Pew report revealed that over one-third of Black households (34%) and Latinx households (39%) don’t have a wired broadband connection.
For many who face transportation-related obstacles and a lack of Internet access, in-field care coordinators are critically important for providing access to healthcare. Low-income seniors with complicated health needs, for example, may benefit from high-touch, in-home care management. To address this demographic group, the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Center for Aging Research developed Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) Team Care. GRACE Team Care social workers and nurse practitioners develop tailored care plans for patients based on information gathered during home visits.
Individuals who are homeless also may not be good matches for telehealth services. Many communities have deployed mobile medical clinics, street medicine teams, and other forms of outreach to proactively provide healthcare to this population.
Simplifying In-Field Care with Essette Mobile Care Management
To transform the in-field care experience, HMS has introduced a new enhancement – Essette Mobile Care Management. This functionality enables in-field care coordinators to access the Essette technology platform without internet connectivity. They can easily conduct assessments and document patient care on their computers or tablets, while focusing on what’s most important – providing the best patient care.
When they reconnect to the internet, Essette automatically synchronizes with the secure data gathered during the day. The result – less administrative work and less time spent on non-value-added tasks like data entry. In-field care coordinators can now meet face-to-face with patients and provide the continuous care that used to be inhibited by internet connectivity limitations.
By implementing this new mobile care management capability, health plans can now shift some of these resources spent on duplicative patient documentation to other areas of focus and continue executing a comprehensive care management strategy, within an organization’s four walls or out in the field.
Essette’s person-centric, configurable modules and functionality drive whole-person care and business efficiencies within medical management and member engagement for health plans and at-risk entities.
To learn more about Essette and the new Mobile Care Management functionality, contact us.