This article is sponsored by Enclara Pharmacia. In this Voices interview, Hospice News sits down with Megha Kadiyala, SVP, Product Management, Enclara Pharmacia, to talk about technology as it relates to the nurse experience. She discusses Enclara’s focus on user experience and how it impacts nurse workflow through a continual process of feedback and implementation. She also shares her vision for the future of this technology as Enclara looks for new ways to improve nurse experience and ultimately, care delivery.
Hospice News: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?
Megha Kadiyala: My two decades of experience span retail, eCommerce, and pharmacy but the common thread is the development of user-focused technology. I have a true passion for creating best-in-class digital tools that delight the end user. Enclara is my first major foray into the B2B world, but their strong focus on user experience makes it an ideal opportunity for me. Our focus is on the nurses who use our E3 Pro™ mobile app and web-based tools to manage patient medications and share information across multiple systems.
When it comes to the nurse experience, what does success look like for you?
When we launched E3 Pro, a nurse said it was great to have an app made just for hospice nurses, focusing on their needs and specific workflows. That’s about the best praise we could get! Nurses have an opportunity to rate their experience with each order and we’re consistently averaging 4.5 stars out of five. With every update and enhancement, our goal is to give nurses the tools to provide excellent patient care in the most efficient manner possible. We would love E3 Pro to be a core reason nurses pick our hospice partners over other prospective employers.
How do you ensure your product aligns with user needs?
We always like to start by asking the user. I know that sounds simple, but it’s often overlooked. We’ve all had that experience where an app has buried a critical feature that we use often, so that it takes multiple steps to get something done. Now picture being a nurse, sitting at the bedside of a dying patient and dealing with that kind of frustration.
To avoid this scenario, we conduct various forms of research. We hold focus groups, offer in-app feedback opportunities and attend nurse training sessions. We collect data within the app to see how nurses navigate the flows, what buttons they click, and how long it takes them to complete a task. We also conduct nurse ride-alongs, where we shadow nurses and observe how they use the app while they work with patients and caregivers. This mix of quantitative data and real-world observation gives us a better overall picture of user needs.
How do you incorporate these user experience insights into your products?
We work to make E3 Pro better all the time. Our roadmap includes several major projects, but we’re also making minor changes all the time to optimize the user experience. For example, we noticed that when a hospice requires additional authorization for a medication, it isn’t always completed a timely manner. By adding notifications for pending authorizations, we improved turnaround time. It’s a simple change but it helps patients get their medications faster.
These user insights can also highlight larger areas of unmet needs. For instance, on ride-alongs and in training sessions, we learned that nurses spend a lot of time and effort educating patients and their families about the how and why of the medications the hospice prescribes. We saw an opportunity to improve access to our library of caregiver-specific content, and we worked with our clinical team to create additional resources. Nurses have mentioned that caregivers are increasingly comfortable utilizing technology, so we are looking to pilot an online caregiver offering with one of our hospice partners later this year. We hope that providing on-demand educational content will help take some load off the nurses while also helping families feel more confident when taking care of their loved ones at home.
How do you see artificial intelligence (AI) impacting your work?
AI presents many opportunities, both in predictive analytics and generative AI. On the predictive side we see an opportunity to uncover patterns in utilization, especially at end of life, to help hospice clinicians anticipate patient needs in terms of ordering new medications for emergent symptoms and minimizing waste.
As for AI-generated content or chat, we don’t see those replacing human interaction, but there is potential to improve our knowledge base for both customer service and pharmacist support. If you call Enclara, the person you talk to would have more accurate, up-to-date information at their fingertips. As generative AI evolves, we will continue to monitor the opportunities.
What long-term initiatives does Enclara have on the horizon?
We are great at customizing our products and services to meet the unique needs of each hospice, but we also see an opportunity to establish workflow standards. We utilize the information we gather from our workflow team as well as our electronic utilization data to identify what processes work well for hospices. Bringing greater consistency to hospice pharmacy workflows could help improve patient care and make it easier to onboard new staff with previous hospice experience.
Another area we’re working on is making it easier for our hospice partners who use both local pharmacies and Enclara mail order to optimize their fulfillment decisions. There are times when it makes sense to use a local partner with courier delivery, or select a retail pharmacy near the patient’s home, or go with next-day delivery from our own pharmacy. We see an opportunity to leverage technology to simplify those decisions so that hospices can save time and money while ensuring timely medication access for their patients.
In a couple of words, finish this sentence: “In the hospice industry, 2023 has been defined by…”
…innovation to maintain quality care despite ongoing staffing challenges.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CTA: As the nation’s leading pharmacy services provider and PBM for the hospice and palliative care community, Enclara Pharmacia ensures timely and reliable medication access in any care setting through a comprehensive network of retail and institutional pharmacies, a national patient-direct dispensing program and dedicated inpatient services. To learn more, visit www.enclarapharmacia.com.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].