End-of-life hospice care is a critical service. Over 4,500 hospice facilities currently care for patients with terminal illnesses in the United States alone.
With the aging Baby Boomer population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the demand for hospice care is only expected to grow in the coming years.
As the demand for hospice services increases, so does the need for efficient and high-quality care. Hospice facilities must carefully manage various tasks, from patient intake and assessment to data and volunteer management. That’s why a robust, user-friendly hospice software solution is so important.
With the right hospice software system, care providers have the tools they need to improve patient care and make routine tasks more efficient. By automating tasks, such as:
hospice software helps to free up nurses and other staff so they can focus on providing direct patient care.
What is Hospice Management Software?
Hospice management software is designed to help hospice organizations manage patient care. The software includes features such as an Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) tracking, which allows hospice staff to document patient status in a secure, centralized system. The software can also create care plans and track patient progress.
In addition, some hospice management software like Sumac’s Palliative Care & Hospice Software also includes additional tools for volunteer management and fundraising, giving hospice organizations of all sizes a single place to manage their entire organization.
There are many different types of home health and hospice software on the market, so choosing one that meets your organization’s specific needs is important.
To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential features to look for in a hospice software solution.
#1 Client History Tracking
One of the most important features of hospice software is the ability to track a patient’s medical history. This includes:
- their diagnosis
- next of kin
- other relevant information.
If you have clients who are involved with your nonprofit over a long period of time, and have different staff working with them, tracking their history will ensure no information is lost over time, even with staff turnover.
The best hospice software will put complete client history at your fingertips. Staff can easily see:
- When a client was admitted
- Most Responsible Physician (MRP)
- Staff members who have been assigned to the client
- A history of treatment and services
- Case notes
This information is vital to provide quality care to patients and their families.
The ability to track a patient’s medical history allows hospice staff to understand their condition better and develop a plan of care that is tailored to their specific needs. It also helps to ensure that all patients receive the same high level of care, regardless of their physician.
#2 Measure & Track Palliative Performance Scale (PPS)
The Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) is a clinical scoring system used to measure a patient’s functional status and prognosis. It is commonly used in hospice and palliative care to assess a patient’s response to therapy and predict survival.
The PPS is a tool for measuring the progressive decline of a palliative resident. It has five functional dimensions:
- activity level and evidence of disease
- oral intake
- level of consciousness.
To score, there are 11 levels of PPS from 0% to 100% in 10 percent increments. Every decrease in 10% marks a fairly significant decrease in physical function. For example a resident with a score of 0% is deceased and a score of 100% is fully ambulatory and healthy.
A PPS score can be used to:
- Predict a patient’s survival time;
- Monitor a patient’s response to therapy;
- Determine if a patient is eligible for hospice care;
- Guide decisions about the type of hospice care appropriate for a patient.
The best hospice software will allow you to track PPS scores over time. This is important for assessing the efficacy of hospice care and making changes as needed.
In addition, tracking PPS scores can help to identify areas where improvement is needed. For example, if you notice that your hospice’s PPS scores are consistently lower than average, you may want to consider making changes to your care delivery model.
By tracking PPS scores and identifying trends, you can ensure that your hospice is providing the best possible care for your patients.
#3 Track Client Admissions, Service Delivery, and Discharge
Hospices are dedicated to providing quality care for every patient every day. Hospice software systems help by providing a complete view of each patient’s care journey, including admissions, service delivery, and discharge.
This information can track progress, manage services, and ensure compliance at every stage. In addition, the software can help to identify potential problems and bottlenecks in the care process.
Nonprofit hospice software should allow users to:
- Admit new patients and track important demographic information;
- Schedule and document home visits, hospice office visits, and other care services;
- Monitor patients’ progress and document changes in condition;
- Manage medications and other treatments;
- Prepare discharge summaries and follow-up care plans.
By tracking this information, hospice staff can ensure that each patient receives the care they need when they need it. In addition, the software can help identify improvement opportunities in the care process.
#4 Manage Fundraising, Volunteers, and Grants
Many nonprofit hospice organizations rely on fundraising and grants to help fund their programs and volunteers to support their mission. The best hospice software solutions can help by providing tools to manage these important functions.
Sumac Palliative Care & Hospice software, for example, can track donors & donations, volunteer hours, and grant funding, along with your client data and service delivery.
Look for hospice software that includes features such as:
- Donor management capabilities to track donor information and giving history;
- A volunteer management system to track hours and skills;
- A grants management system to track funding opportunities and progress;
- Online fundraising capabilities to collect donations.
Being able to manage all of these functions in one database helps you see connections that you couldn’t otherwise and as a result, you will be more effective as an organization.
For example, you can launch a fundraising campaign to solicit donations from the families of patients who received care at your hospice.
#5 Outcome-Based Reporting
Outcome-based reporting is a way of measuring the impact of hospice care on the lives of patients and their families. To do this, data is collected on various aspects of care and analyzed to see how hospice care has affected patients’ and their families’ overall health and well-being.
The best hospice software solutions will allow you to track and report on a variety of outcomes, such as:
- Patient satisfaction;
- Number of patients who received service;
- Quality of life for patients and caregivers;
- Length of stay in hospice care;
- Hospice cost per patient.
By showing the positive outcomes of hospice care, such as improved quality of life and increased satisfaction with care, outcome-based reporting can help to build public support for hospice and report back to grantors and donors.
#6 Top-Notch Security
Because hospices deal with sensitive client information on a daily basis, there are security requirements they must abide by to keep client data safe.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law in the U.S. that requires healthcare organizations to protect the privacy of patient health information. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a Canadian law with similar requirements.
Hospices must ensure that their software solutions comply with these laws. When choosing hospice software, look for a solution that includes features such as:
- A secure login system to control access to patient health information;
- Encryption of all data in transit and at rest;
- Audit trails to track who accessed which patient records and when;
- The ability to restrict access to certain features and functionality.
By choosing hospice software solutions with these features, you can be sure that your hospice complies with HIPAA and PIPEDA. In addition, the security features will help to protect your patient’s privacy and keep their health information safe.
#7 Database Customization
When it comes to hospice software, one size does not fit all. Being able to customize your software to fit your organization’s unique needs is critical when looking for hospice software. You don’t want to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to make the software work for you, so look for software that can be easily customized to track the data that’s important to you.
Customization options to look for include the ability to:
- Add custom fields and tabs to patient records;
- Track custom data points;
- Create custom action plans;
- Create custom reports.
Being able to customize your hospice software solution to fit your organization’s needs makes it much easier to work with and you can be sure that you’re tracking the most important information for your hospice.
#8 Email Integration
Good communication is essential for providing quality patient care. When information is siloed, it can lead to duplication of efforts, miscommunication, and delays in care.
For that reason, many hospice organizations are turning to software solutions that offer email integration. By integrating with email, your hospice software data can be used to send communications to patients, families, and volunteers.
In addition, email integration can help to improve compliance with HIPAA and PIPEDA. When protected health information is stored in a secure system, it minimizes the risk of unauthorized access.
Email integration features to look for include the ability to:
- Send emails to individual patients or groups of patients;
- Track email opens, clicks, and bounces;
- Create and save email templates;
- Integrate with third-party email providers.
By choosing hospice software solutions with email integration, you can improve communication and coordination among your hospice care team. In addition, email integration can help to ensure that patient health information is protected.
#9 Online Forms
Paper forms are a thing of the past. Today, many hospice organizations are turning to online forms to collect data from patients and caregivers. Online forms have many advantages over paper forms, including being more efficient, accurate, and secure.
Some of online form features to look for include the ability to:
- Create custom forms;
- Track form submissions;
- Integrate with your database data is recorded automatically.
By choosing nonprofit hospice software with online forms, you can make data collection more efficient and accurate. In addition, online forms can help to ensure the security of patient health information.
#10 Support and Training
When you’re investing in new hospice software systems, it’s important to make sure that you have the support you need to make the transition.
Look for a vendor that offers comprehensive support and training, so you can be confident that you’re using the software correctly and getting the most out of your investment.
Great customer support is more than troubleshooting issues over the phone. It should also include ongoing training, webinars, and guides to help staff refine their skills, train new staff when they come on board, and help you get the most out of your software.
Support features to look for include:
- A dedicated customer success manager;
- Phone and email support;
- Ongoing training, webinars, and guides;
- A user-friendly knowledge base.
Investing in hospice software solutions with comprehensive support helps ensure you’re using the software correctly and getting the most out of your investment.
When choosing software for your hospice organization, there are 10 essential features to look for. These features will help you provide quality care for your patients.
Sumac Palliative Care & Hospice software has all ten of these features and is purpose-built for hospices. The software helps organizations streamline service delivery, improve client care, and increase operational efficiency. Read our case studies or contact us today to learn more about Sumac or get free demo.