How we use prescriptive workflows to optimize communications (part 1)

How we use prescriptive workflows to optimize communications (part 1)


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By: Terri Embry-Drummond, RN, BSBA, Vice President of Customer Success, CitusHealth

After years of CitusHealth helping customers transform their operations, we’ve figured out the most impactful workflows that result in better communication and more engaged patients and caregivers. Having seen positive outcomes repeatedly, we created prescriptive workflows to simplify putting these effective processes into action.

What are prescriptive workflows in home-based care?

Simply put, prescriptive workflows help guide our customers through a quick decision-making process by providing a defined method in Citus that help customers resolve common communication issues in home-based delivery of care. The workflows are designed to replace the many phone calls it takes to gather information on patients to dispense medication, coordinate nursing, delivery or other services, update profiles, obtain change in insurance information, determine tolerance and adherence to therapy, etc.

These phone calls typically take at least two attempts, many times three, before getting a patient on the phone. Eliminating this time-consuming approach is a game changer for organizations that need better coordinated care and recognize the need to offer their patients a choice for communicating while allowing for a higher patient-to-staff ratio.

Why do we use prescriptive workflows for communication?

When an organization’s C-suite signs on to work with Citus, they are often sure of their “why.” The reason is usually an inefficiency or problem they want to solve and is understood in the contracting process with Citus, and communicated clearly to the project team. But there are times we find the “why” is not specific. Instead, it’s a general need like more patient engagement or reduced overtime—without a defined workflow or priority.

As the Citus implementation consultant begins the use case and discovery process with the customer’s project team, it’s often helpful when we provide a list of prescriptive workflows. Whatever the goal, the project team can then prioritize which workflows to implement to maximize the value as soon as possible and the C-suite’s return on investment (ROI).

Simply put, we use prescriptive workflows to help jumpstart the conversation around defining our customers’ biggest pain points and how a workflow could transform those challenges. For organizations in need of better communication, our Message Center is a robust solution.

Message Center: More efficient communication for improving care coordination

The coordination of care and clinical management between admissions, sales, liaisons, scheduling, clinical, and support teams in and outside of the office can be complex and generate many emails and phone calls. Several prescriptive workflows are available in the Message Center to help with this communication challenge and are available for browser and mobile app users. Staff to staff, staff to partner, staff to patient or caregiver—these are all available messaging options.

One of these workflows is patient onboarding care coordination, also known as Patient Discussion Groups, or PDGs (which do not include the patient). This prescriptive workflow allows the group to be tailored based on who needs to know and where the patient is in the onboarding journey. With a patient group messaging feature, everyone on the care team can be up to date in real time, but at the right time. And since the chat is available in the Patient’s Activity Hub, those not involved in the original conversation can still access the patient’s digital chat log—ideal for when staff are covering for each other.

As the patient onboarding journey moves through the different steps that are required to start services, each transition point can be time stamped (e.g., Referral Received, Auth Obtained, Nurse Scheduled, Liaison Teach Complete). This allows valuable informatics to evaluate bottlenecks to improve or prove time to therapy.

Another impactful workflow is our Masked Messages for requesting staffing for a patient. One message sent to a group of staff members allows the sender to receive responses that are “masked” from the other recipients. This saves staffing coordinators from multiple phone calls, voicemails, individual chats, and a lot of phone tag. An image or document can also be shared when sending a masked message. And a record of the outbound and inbound message can be found in the Chat Logs, accessible by permission.

Message Tags in Citus facilitate automation of several workflows. They play a role in routing a patient-initiated chat to the right person or group of people, and during the right hours of the day. Message Tags also automate copying any or parts of any chat thread into the electronic health record configured for integration, which improves communication and productivity. Additionally, the tags can build a compliance-tracing process into any conversation.

URAC, ACHC, Joint Commission, as well as payors and manufacturers require our customers to prove their value-based care is effective. The tagging of messages allows a process to be built into the workflows that capture the care events in real time. Our Patient Activity Hub will show any tagged messages that were associated with a specific patient. Also available is a master list of all tagged messages providing a place for management and compliance officers to view and search for robust reporting. Downloading redacted or unredacted allows flexibility with sharing teachable moments or proof of a conversation.

Lastly, a broadcast message allows a group—based on user tags (this can be by therapy, device, territory, etc.)—to be sent a message, but does not allow the recipients to reply. An example is when a weather emergency or supply replacement communication is needed, one broadcast message can be sent to many.

More Message Center features include:

  • Video chat
  • Message Groups for teams, departments, and partners
  • Read receipts
  • Chat signatures
  • Google translate services for 90 languages
  • On-call routing and auto-escalation
  • After-hours troubleshooting to avoid unnecessary visits or pump exchanges
  • Video training for patients, staff, or partners
  • Remote patient assessments via video

Beyond the care team, chat capabilities are available to patients and families, referring physicians, HMEs, and external partners—all to ensure every aspect of care is coordinated, everyone is on the same page, and all questions are answered.

What can prescriptive workflows do for you?

Prescriptive workflows provide a menu of proven efficient processes, helping to lay out an implementation organized in phases that starts with solutions to your biggest to smallest pain points. These solutions will replace time-consuming phone calls, reduce paper processes, automate integration, and reduce staff and patient frustrations. Implementing a staff and patient engagement platform will provide a competitive advantage to attract referral sources, hire experienced staff, and help with retention.

Ultimately, these workflows help organizations determine time-bound, measurable objectives by adding a “by when” and “for which patient population” to these example objectives:

  • Decrease inbound and outbound calls with electronic coordination of care
  • Improve staff productivity by routing chats for staff and patients
  • Improve reporting content and timeliness by implementing Citus data collection workflows and having access to all communication transactions

Our prescriptive workflows have proven successful time and again, which is why we can predict outcomes for organizations that adopt this effective approach to coordinating and providing care. By identifying pain points, we can build precise workflows that can optimize communication. Your implementation consultant will assist your team in tailoring these workflows to meet your specific needs.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series, where we’ll discuss using prescriptive workflows to optimize patient and care team engagement through documents, forms, and automated sharing of on-demand education.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how CitusHealth can help you optimize communication using prescriptive workflows.

Terri Embry-Drummond, RN, BSBA
Terri Embry-Drummond, RN, BSBA
Vice President of Customer Success, CitusHealth

A registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, Terri’s career has spanned almost three decades in regional and national home, specialty and long-term care infusion operations, sales, and informatics leadership. Her experience with cutting-edge workflow optimization has allowed her to understand the challenges both customers and their patients face. With CitusHealth, she leads the adoption and retention team helping to bring the voice of customers to the product development roadmap.

Terri has been in leadership, sales, and nursing roles for companies such as BioScrip, Omnicare, and Olsten-Kimberly Quality Care.