From Struggle to Success: How HCHB Software Optimization Empowers Agency Improvement
Implementing a new EHR software is exciting. Leaders have access to new analytics and workflow tracking, clinicians have new documentation and compliance tools to keep the team on board with regulations. In the excitement to get started, it is easy to carry over old bad habits and process gaps which undermines the purpose of employing new software. Many times hardworking providers get so busy doing what is required to get the job done, that they need help to figure out the best way to change and improve. This is where HCHB Optimization Consulting comes into play. In this blog, we will share how Homecare Homebase’s software optimization services help struggling agencies identify and address operational efficiencies to get the most out of our software platform.
The first step of the software optimization process is to reach out and get to know the agency through an initial assessment. During the assessment, we look at more than just the software. We dive into an agency’s operational processes and roles as well as software setup, workflow and tracking practices. Some common problems we find include:
- Undefined roles and unclear expectations for who is responsible for completing tasks
- Missing governance and accountability processes
- Knowledge gaps in workflow and a lack of understanding of how tasks affect other processes further down the billing cycle
- Lack of change management/improvement processes and consistency
- Lack of education procedures
- High aging AR
- Delays in billing
- High % unscheduled visits impacting billing
- Delays in clinical processes
Once we figure out the challenges/problems facing the organization, we start tackling priorities and action items to create solutions.
The importance of governance
Setting up governance rules to hold the team accountable and set clear expectations is vital for the success of optimization projects. We recommend a structure that includes:
- Change control – methodical approach to change in the organization
- Release management – stay current on the latest software settings to take advantage of new functions
- Improvement process – ongoing process on how to deploy future improvements
- Education – set up an onboarding training program for new staff and a refresher program for existing staff
Support from the top down
The most successful software optimization projects have true executive sponsorship and support as well as a project manager on the agency’s side. An effective executive sponsor can listen to candid feedback from Homecare Homebase, ensure alignment with the organization’s strategy and gather support from the entire team for the project. It is also important for the executive sponsor to recognize accomplishments and successes along the way to keep motivation for the project going. The project manager helps “herd the cats” and makes sure that everyone from the agency is up to date and on track. We interview stakeholders to gather their thoughts and concerns so we can incorporate their feedback into the optimization as well.
The 5 phases of HCHB Optimization Consulting projects
Our projects consist of the following 5 phases:
- Define – Define the problem and business opportunity
- Measure – Gather baseline data and quantify the problem
- Analyze – Find the root cause and analyze the risk
- Improve – Solve the problem and test
- Control – Implement the solution and monitor results
Define and measurement phases
During the “Define” phase, we work with our customer to draft a project charter that establishes the problem statement, purpose, scope and estimated timeline. During the “Measurement” phase, we set benchmarks that show the customer’s current state so we can track our improvement moving forward.
During the “analyze” phase, we hunt down the root of each problem. We constantly ask the question “Why?”. Together we focus on fixing the causes of the problems, not just the symptoms. Often the root causes of problems are due to organizational structure, knowledge and process gaps and practices that fall outside of HCHB’s guidelines and best practices.
Improve and control phases
The next phases begin the process of implementing solutions and providing the necessary education to each person to ensure that they are prepared to fulfill their new roles or accomplish new tasks and procedures that will be assigned to them moving forward. We implement a control plan to monitor ongoing project performance and make sure we are identifying and solving problems as they arise.
Training is an essential part of software optimization projects. Refresher training for existing employees and new training covering updated policies and workflow should be paired with an onboarding training program covering these elements for new workers.
Since we set benchmarks and track metrics throughout the entire project we are easily able to capture results and see if we attained our goals. Homecare Homebase allows us to track financial, clinical and scheduling improvements. At the end of a project, we review the results and consider the next steps for continuous improvement.
If you are interested in process and software optimization improvements, you can reach out to our HCHB Optimization Consulting team online. We are eager to learn more about how we can help your organization.