The Importance of Communications Across the Care Team
According to the Joint Commission, home health providers should increasingly collaborate with hospitals, SNFs, physicians, and pharmacists to achieve optimal health outcomes for their patients – especially during transitions of care. Evidence indicates that patient outcomes can be enhanced by seamless communication and coordination amongst all care team members. As the Joint Commission indicates, new technologies “make care patient-centered and cost efficient” for home health providers’ communication with patients and other healthcare professionals.
Communicating Health Care and Life Care Messages
A virtual care communication platform can help home health agencies elevate their delivery of care by improving communication and coordination. With the right technology, a home health agency can expand beyond providing transitional health care to delivering ongoing life care.
Home health agencies can use Synzi to provide patients with easier access to care and to also engage patients throughout the episode of care – above and beyond in-person visits. A platform such as Synzi plays a critical role in communicating impactful life care messages by enabling agency administrators to schedule and send a cascade of texts and emails which can:
- Enhance patient understanding of one’s condition
- Promote medication adherence
- Recommend lifestyle modifications including appropriate diet and exercise
- Remind a patient of the importance of key immunizations
- Enable personalized support for one’s physical, emotional, and overall well-being
By analyzing patients’ interactions with the life care messages, a home health agency will have a better idea of patient engagement as well as the patient’s follow-up action to the recommended message. The home health agency can share this data with referral sources (such as hospitals, SNFs, and physicians) in order to enhance overall understanding about the patient’s current condition.
Using Video to Drive Understanding and Access Amongst All Stakeholders
Video-based virtual visits can augment the messaging programs by bringing the patient’s situation to life. During the virtual visit, all stakeholders (including the patient and a family caregiver) can discuss the patient’s progress and emerging issues in real-time while enabling the physician to continue to have “eyes on the patient.”
Amy Berman, senior program officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, highlighted that one of the key benefits of a telehealth / virtual care communication platform is its ability to empower providers, patients and family caregivers. According to Berman, family caregivers are typically unpaid and provide more hours of support vs. paid caregivers; providers can use new technology help them and therefore reduce their mutual burden. Berman shared, “that is an essential part of what I see of the future of telehealth as well – not just the bells and whistles and all the gadgetry – but the ability to access – in a timely way – information.”