by Tim Rowan, Editor
Netsmart homecare and hospice clients have received an update to their EMR to incorporate COVID-19 screening questions. This no-charge upgrade has been built into their intake workflows to help providers transition from keeping track on paper. They will be able to run reports on who has and has not been screened (Where have you traveled? Who have you touched? Do you have a fever?). We spoke with Kevin Scalia, Netsmart EVP of Corporate Development, and Dawn Iddings, SVP and General Manager, about the company's response to the pandemic and other planned product updates.
Iddings said Netsmart moved quickly to build a COVID-19 assessment form. "It is a screening tool that follows CDC guidelines for questions to ask when accepting a new patient, or periodically during an episode of care," she told us. "We heard that many of our clients were collecting these answers on paper. By giving them an electronic version, they can run reports to identify patients screened, not yet screened, and in high-risk categories. Then we added that data to their dashboard. This relieves their worry that they might have infected patients and not know it. Providers that may have decided they are not equipped to care for infected patients need to know before accepting them."
She added that Netsmart has been hearing stories from customers about patients refusing to allow clinicians and other care workers into their homes, out of fear of infection. "These people, virus-free people, need that care and are often getting worse from lack of attention to their other conditions."
Scalia explained that the quick development and distribution of the tool — essentially over a weekend — came in response to a perceived need. "In areas hit hard early, such as Washington and New York, we see hospitals worried about having enough beds," he said. "They are pushing people out of hospitals as fast as they can. That means our client base is receiving more people, more acute cases. The same is true for SNFs. People are being sent home earlier from those facilities as well."
Scalia said Netsmart is working for its customers on other fronts as well. "We went back to our telehealth vendor partner, AmericanWell, and negotiated an extremely low rate. We passed that rate along to our clients and we use it for our own staff. We have 2,300 people working at home, in teams, so we use lots of video connections. Many teams have started having virtual happy hours via video at the end of the work day."
The company is also conducting weekly "CXO Calls" with customer executives across all Netsmart markets. "We bring in national association people to talk about legislation changes. We listen to CEOs who share what they are doing. And we share what we have done, the best practices we have learned," Scalia added.
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