If the pandemic highlighted how important technology is to provide care to patients in hospitals, the same can be said for the hospice sector, where tools such as mobile technology and e-prescribing are critical to expanding accessibility to hospice care and improving its quality.
Here Deanna Douglass PharmD is the senior vice president of business development at Enclara, a hospice pharmacy service, tells us about how mobile technology is innovating in hospice and palliative care.
What are the biggest challenges facing the hospice sector in the US?
The hospice community is keeping its eye towards continued viability through the value-based insurance design (VBID) model, which is designed to increase access to hospice services and provide a higher quality of care to patients. This will certainly shake up the industry as new developments arise. In addition, staffing shortages continue to impact hospices across the country.
How can technology help overcome these?
As an employer, the hospice has to present its current and prospective staff with technology that eliminates cumbersome data entry and frustration with complex processes while reducing time to provide direct patient care. Our ultimate goal in utilising technology is to make day-to-day tasks more seamless – from hospice staff using the technology to patients receiving it or in need of care.
How important has mobile technology been to hospice care during the pandemic?
Mobile technology allows staff to perform aspects of their role from anywhere, be it at home or other locations that offer flexibility and reduce idle time. It allows for better use of time, absence of travel to engage with patients in person, and the completion of tasks like ordering medication, tracking deliveries and reviewing profiles.
Can mobile technology benefit hospice and palliative in ways that primary care doesn’t?
Hospice care is all done outside of an office environment. Portable, mobile solutions are critical to provide consistent access to systems for documentation and medication management regardless of location for the hospice nurse. This allows for better use of time and easier management without being confined to a set schedule or location.
What trends do you think we’ll see in the near future for e-prescribing?
Adoption of e-prescribing has been slow in hospices, with many states exempting the requirements for hospice patients. However, I anticipate that we will see a steady increase of adoption and reliance on the use of e-scripts as comfort grows within the prescribing community.
The ease of use and access to reporting capabilities are making it increasingly more attractive as an alternative to paper or fax scripts. The hospice prescribers also have the ability to prescribe through mobile applications, which allows them to better manage periods of on call and accommodate patient needs.