Hospices Leverage Technology to Improve Compliance

As more technology seeps into the health care world, some hospices are leveraging new systems to improve compliance, standardize processes and anticipate patients’ needs.

Providers are increasingly relying on systems designed to improve clinical documentation, performance on quality measures and to guide business decisions. Working with platforms like these is essential in today’s health care environment, according to Peter Brunnick, CEO of the nonprofit hospice provider VIA Health Partners.

“From my perspective, we recognize the importance of technology as an organizational imperative if you’re going to be in a modern health care world,” Brunnick told Hospice News. “We’re looking at certain technologies from the standpoint of the payer in value-based care. We know that it’s something we’ve got to have or we’re not really not going to be able to participate in that.”


An effective electronic medical record (EMR) system is a necessary foundation. Many of the more cutting edge systems — like artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and business intelligence tools — rely heavily on data pulled from the EMR and other sources.

EMRs are also crucial to regulatory compliance, as many deficiencies found in surveys or audits are the result of incomplete or inaccurate documentation.

“It’s imperative that hospice providers have access to a very intuitive charting experience that enables them to meet all the requirements of the Conditions of Participation outlined by [the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)],” Wes Little, chief analytics officer and general manager for WellSky, told Hospice News. “They need capabilities that are tailor-made to ensure that documentation is very precise, because not having precise, accurate data puts providers at risk of falling out of compliance.”


At VIA Health, staff use a number of business intelligence tools to guide business and some clinical decision making. These tools help aggregate and analyze data to help, for example, identify patients who are in decline and may need additional home visits. This function has allowed VIA to show significant improvement on quality measures like visits in the last days of life, according to CIO Peter Davies.

After those patients are identified, VIA uses a digital checklist to ensure they’ve met all associated requirements.

These data have also allowed VIA to build an acuity-based staffing methodology using data to direct more resources towards patients with the greatest need and better ensure that they receive the right care at the right time, Davies indicated.

Another key component of leveraging technology for compliance is systems integration — having tools and platforms that can communicate with one another.

“The more systems that are integrating and speaking the same language, the less human error you’re gonna have,” Davies told Hospice News. “For example, if your pharmacy system is speaking to your medical record and you’re able to combine that single data set effectively, then you’re dramatically reducing the ability for keying errors to appear in there.”

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