Welcome to Swift Medical’s Multi-part Staffing Optimization Series for home health. 

We know that high-performing home health agencies depend first and foremost on high-performing people. And as many studies have shown, staff that feel supported, fulfilled, and satisfied in their work perform better and have lower turnover. This series will explore various topics in the sector regarding staffing, including improving recruitment and retention, visit utilization, and empowering clinicians to practice at the top of their license. 

In this installment, we will discuss how to thoughtfully manage visit utilization without reducing the quality of care your organization provides to wound patients.

As we’ve discussed in the other entries in this series, home health agencies across the country are facing a significant challenge hiring and retaining nurses. One of the biggest impacts of COVID-19 has been its effect on staffing levels with a recent survey finding that 3 in 10 frontline healthcare workers considered leaving their job because of increased risks and stress during the pandemic. 

This has created shortages of both staff but also expertise, especially regarding wound care. More than 8 million Medicare beneficiaries have wounds with 1-in-3 patients in home health requiring wound care.¹ Specialized wound professionals (WOCNs, WCCs, etc.), are regularly necessary to help care for wounded patients who often deal with complex, comorbid conditions. Unfortunately, access to wound experts can be hard to come by, with only 1 wound specialist for every 500 wounds.² 

How then can home health agencies ensure that they are managing their staff efficiently? With limited wound expertise, it can be difficult to properly predict and plan how many visits might be necessary. Digital wound care solutions, like Swift Medical’s platform, offer a practical and innovative way to ensure your agency is deploying staff where and when they are needed most.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”

Peter Drucker
Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author

Without a proper understanding of your wound census it can be difficult to effectively plan for both staffing and care delivery. Swift helps provide better information about the status of wound patients from the first visit all the way to the end of the episode of care. The quality and completeness of data is improved with structured documentation and wound assessments available to nurses on their smartphones. Additionally, Swift’s industry-leading wound photography enhances the accuracy and consistency of the visual record of a wound. All of this data is visible in real time via dashboards so that leaders within the organization can make informed decisions about visit utilization. Patients that are healing and recovering as expected can have their visit frequency modified accordingly while at-risk patients can be quickly identified to deliver proactive care that can stop their condition from deteriorating.   

Agencies that have adopted Swift have seen measurable improvements in visit utilization. Greater visibility into wound healing progress across their population has enabled home health organizations using Swift to experience upwards of a 5% decrease in visits per medicare patient through personalized care, a reduction in low value visits for on-track patients and re-deploying staff to patients in the greatest need.

“Another benefit of using Swift Skin and Wound is we now have the ability to optimize the number of nurse visits because we have a tool to monitor progress and gain insight into wound healing. This ensures we manage costs while still delivering a high quality of care”

Lorenzo Friar, President and Owner,
Ace Home Health and Hospice

The best part is that reducing visit utilization doesn’t come at the cost of reduced quality of care. In fact quite the opposite. Agencies that have adopted Swift have seen marked improvements in clinical outcomes including a 70% improvement in wound healing rate and a 13.5% reduction in rehospitalizations.

To learn more about building a profitable wound care program in the PDGM era, download our ebook here. And to see Swift’s industry leading, AI-powered computer visioning and analytics technology in action book a demo today.

To get notified directly when the next installment in the Staffing Optimization series is here, sign up below.

¹ Sen, Chandan K. “Human Wounds and Its Burden: An Updated Compendium of Estimates”. Wound Healing Society. January 15, 2019.

² https://www.homecaremag.com/september-2018/nurse-wound-care-expert

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