by Tim Rowan, Editor
Is the number of hospices increasing? Or are more hospices than usual switching EMR software vendors this year? Either way, something in the marketplace is keeping implementation and training crews at Netsmart busier than usual. We spoke with Hannah Patterson, Netsmart Vice President & General Manager of Post-Acute Operations, and Dawn Iddings, Netsmart Senior Vice President & General Manager, Post-Acute, to gain deeper perspective on a recent announcement about 16 new hospice and palliative care customers (see "Vendor Watch" 8/5/20). Apparently, the answer is "both."
"We are seeing some hospices migrate from competitors," Ms. Iddings told us, "but there is growth in the industry as well. We think what Netsmart has to offer is attracting some attention."
Readers will remember that Netsmart acquired the home health and hospice software products from Allscripts in 2016, then followed with a flurry of acquisitions that included HealthMEDX, Change Health (the former McKesson home care and hospice division), and DeVero. More recently, the Overland Park, Kansas company added McBee Consultants and QIRT.
Iddings explained that the EMR for home health and hospice that resulted from that pool of industry expertise, My Unity, draws on the best ideas in each product. Longtime users of Allscripts and McKesson software are not being pushed to My Unity, she said; all products will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future.
"McKesson had an excellent care planning system, so we incorporated that," Ms. Patterson said. "And we added iPad capability to the former Allscripts product. Nurses who do not like carrying laptop computers tell us they love that option. We encourage new customers to select My Unity, but we are making the legacy products better as well."
Speaking of ease of use and keeping clinicians happy with software, we asked Iddings and Patterson about the perennial fine line software vendors must walk between making clinical point-of-care software easy to use and enforcing rules that keep clinicians in sync with the rules. "What we have done is create an environment where the placement of that line can be determined by leadership within each of our customer agencies," Patterson offered. "During implementation, management makes business decisions about a wide range of settings we give them to customize the way the software works. They can tighten or loosen restrictions on what clinicians can and cannot do, depending on whether their primary concern is keeping them happy or keeping them compliant."
Iddings added that the nursing shortage and the resultant need to avoid turnover has an impact on that decision today. "That is why we give customers some flexibility," she said. "Some regions have more of a shortage, and therefore more of a concern about losing good people, than other regions."
The complete July 30 news release follows:
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Netsmart has announced successful partnerships with multiple hospice and palliative care organizations across the country. In the past several months, Netsmart has partnered with sixteen new hospice and palliative care organizations to implement an integrated electronic health record (EHR) platform designed to drive care coordination and clinician satisfaction.
As one of the largest technology service providers in the post-acute community, Netsmart partners with hospice organizations that vary in size and care service offerings. Netsmart hospice software promotes person-centered care to share and access information seamlessly throughout each care venue.
"The hospice industry has been looking for an enterprise computing platform that is both comprehensive and flexible to the unique needs of each hospice organization," said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine. "Benefited by the guidance from the thought leaders of our current client base that represent some of the premier hospice organizations in the country, we have created a platform that will substantially move the meter for this part of healthcare. Our recent wins in the marketplace have also proven that organizations require more than an EHR to be successful. That is what is fueling our growth to become the market share leader."
More information about some of our new partners:
"When we were looking for a partner, Netsmart shared the same values to deliver excellent end of life care and support to those we serve at Hospice of the West," said Lisa Cheney, Director of Hospice Services. "Netsmart has been forward thinking with their technology since we first partnered. Our clinicians have had quicker and more accurate documentation while visiting with patients, which has been a game-changer for our staff."
Through these partnerships, Netsmart will collaborate with client organizations to continue to advance hospice EHR and palliative care EHR technology and services by creating solutions that are effective, efficient, interoperable and scalable to make a difference in the hospice community.
“We value each unique hospice partnership where we can work together to find the right solutions to reach operational goals and objectives, whether it’s time-saving, streamlining operations, improving outcomes or other goals,” said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine. “We are grateful that hospice organizations are turning to Netsmart and are humbled by our role in empowering hospice caregivers to deliver the best care and providing patients and their loved ones the best experience during such a precious time of life.”
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