At a time when hospice and palliative care are rapidly growing, there is a concern that agencies in these important settings are employing outdated communication technology to not only communicate within care teams but also to engage with patients, caregivers, and family members. A recent Porter Research survey of 100 hospice leaders took a closer look at how they engage care teams, patients, and families today.
The results were surprising.
The study reveals that hospice organizations are slow to adopt secure, modern collaboration capabilities that provide connectivity points between patients, family members, and clinical care team members – all of which are critical in engaging today's value-based care economy.
Here are some of the notable findings:
When it comes to patient and family engagement, hospice executives ranked the ability to support and engage in real-time as their #1 want (39% of all surveyed). However, the reality is that most hospices utilize communication modes that are anything but real-time.
- 79% still use the telephone as the primary means of communicating with patients (outside of face-to-face visits). Sure, it's great if someone answers the phone, but how many times have you played phone tag with a family member or caregiver?
- 9% use patient portals, which have been notoriously inconvenient for patients and family members.
- 6% use email as their primary communication, and as we all know, email is anything but "real-time."
As far as care team communications, it's not much better. 36% of executives want instantaneous care team communication, but the majority of care team communication is inefficient:
- 43% use email as the primary communication vehicle, which is not instantaneous unless you have the time to check continually, filter, and sort through emails all-day.
- 32% use their EMR platform. While EMRs serve an important need, they are not designed to accommodate instantaneous communication.
- 19% use the telephone, which is fine when you reach someone, but not if you must leave a message.
The findings signal that hospice organizations are lagging their referral sources when it comes to adopting modern patient and care team communication technology. As efficiency and patient outcomes become more prominent in the decision-making process hospitals and physicians follow to build their care network partners, hospices must make a more concerted effort to improve collaboration and communications capabilities.
Having the right technology platform in place can facilitate a more dynamic, secure, and inclusive care team and family member engagement, as well as play a significant role in improving survey results and quality scores in today's value-based care economy. And it will give your referral partners confidence in your ability to effectively and securely collaborate with all the key stakeholders, even when they are outside your organization. When we are all better connected, everyone wins.