Why Traditional EHRs Aren’t the Right Software for IDD Agencies
by Core Solutions on March 29, 2023
Electronic health record use is vital to improving care coordination and meeting today’s demands for greater efficiency and business insights. As more providers move off paper-based systems, it’s important to note that not all EHRs are the same. Serving those with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) needs requires technology that is built with these specific services in mind.
The best technology should make use of IDD-specific workflows and functionality and reflect the unique nature of service delivery. For example, an individual often receives IDD services for longer periods of time than clinical case management, an individual’s needs are often complex and require high levels of coordination, and the processes for noting progress and setting goals in an IDD setting need to occur in a way that best supports alignment around working toward a successful life plan.
5 Capabilities to Consider When Comparing Software for IDD Agencies
To best support the way IDD service providers work, five EHR capabilities are important to consider.
IDD Templates and Workflows
Things like completing assessments, building care plans, and generating task lists work best when systems are in place to support these efforts. You should look for an IDD EHR with built-in workflows and modules that are tailored to the types of tasks that IDD service providers deliver. In this way, an IDD EHR will make the user experience more intuitive, save staff time, and support adherence to best practices processes.
Traditional EHRs are often built with broad clinical audiences in mind and treat IDD service delivery as an afterthought. As a result, it may take IDD service providers considerable time and effort to configure the technology to support their day-to-day functions. When purchasing software explicitly designed for IDD settings, templates and workflows that suit your need should already be in place.
Role-Based, Modular Design
Low wages and poor retention are often challenges in IDD service settings. Turnover and vacancy rates within the direct support professional (DSP) workforce have skyrocketed in recent years, with turnover rates hovering just below 50% nationally and as many as one in eight DSP positions remaining vacant. As a result, those in direct care often have minimal tech familiarity and may have little education or experience around their role. High turnover means a loss of institutional knowledge and demands for fast onboarding and proficiency. Therefore, when examining software for IDD agencies, you will want to choose software that is extremely intuitive and built around the most relevant user experience—providing the correct information at the right time. Traditional EHRs and their complexity can be overwhelming and work against ease of use by staff.
Role-based modular design supports bringing only the necessary dashboards and workflows closest to the user, making for faster learning and greater comfort with use. Uniformity in the user’s experience fosters easier training and peer-to-peer learning. If technology is complex or cumbersome, it only adds stress to an already overburdened staff. The organization may even find it a hindrance to staff retention.
Prioritization of IDD Compliance
Regulations in the disability service industry change over time, so it’s important that your IDD software can quickly adapt to accommodate these new requirements—an IDD-specific platform will have your specific service setting and IDD compliance needs at the forefront.
Readiness for Industrywide Documentation Standardization
Because so much progress continues to be made in the technology-enablement of IDD services, it’s also important to consider future needs around IDD services. One area to pay particular attention to is that the industry lacks documentation standardization. As noted in a recent Health Affairs article, having standard data across settings will help centralize efforts to provide better care, support evidence-based performance improvement, and assist in understanding inequities experienced by those with disabilities and how to address them. The best software for IDD agencies will need to accommodate measurement-focused documentation and coding updates as standards change. To this end, IDD service providers should seek technology that supports structured, searchable documentation using configurable templates, which will make for the easiest updating over time.
Capabilities to Support Value-Based Payment
While the industry is mostly oriented to fee for service, shifts toward value-based care—linking risk or incentives to the quality and cost-efficiency of service delivery—should also be considered. Here, too, there is little standardization on which IDD outcome metrics will be used. So structured documentation capabilities that are adaptable to changing standards are key. Quality metrics change over time. So it will be important to have software that automatically captures documentation around outcome measures for intellectual disability treatments and configures billing as needed to payer-specific business rules for claims payment. These capabilities will give an organization the greatest flexibility in adapting to payment changes in the years to come. Core's Cx360 EHR for IDD service providers supports more complete and structured documentation, enables outcomes tracking, and has robust AI and analytics that come together to provide new insights into quality and costs of care.
Preparing for value-based payment will require built-in accountability drivers. For example, systems need to be in place to ensure accurate and complete service delivery to support achieving goals. With Core’s Cx360, staff identify an individual’s needs, which then automatically flow through as valued outcomes to a person-centered life plan or service plan. Managers can then assign staff to the actions needed to achieve associated quality outcomes. Automated task triggering then ensures next-step task development and routing upon completion of each task. In this way, the likelihood of gaps in intellectual disability treatments or incorrect services is minimized.
Preparing Your Organization for Tomorrow with the Right Software for IDD Agencies
Simply moving off paper-based systems can help IDD service providers improve care coordination and enable greater efficiencies. But to truly get the most value out of EHR use, it’s important to choose your technology approach carefully.
By keeping the capabilities above in mind when comparing options, organizations delivering IDD services will be best positioned for current and future success.
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