Is Contract Automation Necessary for the Home Health Industry?

12/14/18

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Automation Is Essential, Here's Why

Contract automation provides a way for you to accomplish more.  It’s simple, streamlined, and will benefit your organization both internally and externally.  With the amount of contracts, policies, and other standard health agreements being handled, no home health provider should perform without it. 

At the beginning of 2018, the CEO of Homewatch Caregivers stated, “I anticipate technology innovations will continue to play a major role in shaping the senior care industry, and the way home care companies provide high quality care and services to clients.”  As we approach a new year, new regulations, and new patients, we must examine what can be done to automate contract and policy management processes that are currently absorbing hours of manual work from healthcare employees’ work days. 

If technology is available to streamline and simplify agreements and compliance, why not take advantage of it?  

Faculty time is better spent elsewhere if automation can complete at least some of their day-to-day tasks.

Outlined below is advice to keep in mind when considering automation for your healthcare organization:

Compliance Is Non-Negotiable

Regulations and healthcare industry standards change continuously.  Do you have a plan for how to manage and track these changes when they suddenly occur?  What if a new regulation falls through the cracks?

There’s no room for mistakes when it comes to compliance in the healthcare field.  Organizations must have a process in place for tracking internal and external policies and agreements.

When dealing with Business Associate Agreement (BAA) tracking, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, organizations must have controlled access over Protected Health Information (PHI) and other acquired data considered confidential.  This kind of information should not be stored where unauthorized employees can receive access or make changes to healthcare policies, patient agreements, etc.  It should be stored in a secure place with controlled access and user tracking.

Advanced, secure contract repositories are designed to support Healthcare laws and regulations and can handle private information appropriately while staying HIPAA compliant.  Consider utilizing a software system that will keep all your contracts, agreements, and policies in one secure, searchable location.

Missed Renewals Create Unhappy Providers & Patients

Health insurance and other plans don’t always renew themselves.  Instead, they result in hours of phone calls and emails over why an exception can’t be made past the deadline.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have automated alerts sent when it’s time to contact individual providers and patients about renewals?

For federal supported health plans, such as Medicaid, an annual renewal may be necessary to stay in the program.  We must consider whether those who qualify will remember to renew.  (In addition, should Medicaid patients have to remember to renew their healthcare plan at this point in life?)  With automated alerts, your organization can be notified when a renewal is approaching and will provide an aid for remembering to contact those individuals.

Agreements Shouldn’t Be a Hassle

Is your organization’s current agreement process attractive to your customers?  How many steps are involved just for your employees to sign a policy agreement?

The provider and contractor signing process should be easy. 

If your organization still employs the manual, wet signature process, become familiar with the simplicity of e-signatures.  Not only do e-signatures speed up the signing process, eliminating back-and-forth hassles of obtaining signed agreements, but they give employees, vendors, patients, providers, and other counterparties zero excuses to not have a document signed and returned swiftly.

Lastly, e-signatures make employee compliance as easy as a few clicks of a button.  You’ll be able to track who has signed an agreement and who hasn’t, prompt those necessary, and reduce the stress of administering new policies.

No printing, no papers, no scanning - just signing!

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve with changing regulations and standards, technology must continue to develop sufficient support for home health, private duty, and hospice service providers.  Discover a better way to manage healthcare contracts and related documents by signing up for a customized demonstration with CobbleStone Software today!

Download the free guide to learn about contract management's critical stages

Rosemary Shields

Written by Rosemary Shields

Rosemary Shields is a Marketing Coordinator at CobbleStone Software.

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