Hospice Management Software Development Guide

Published on January 7, 2021

Despite technological advances in the field, many hospice management systems remain unnecessarily complex, expensive, and difficult to use. They also lack industry-specific features, forcing hospices to juggle a multitude of software solutions. 

This guide will help you determine the factors to consider when building your own hospice management software, or improving the efficiency by upgrading and adding new features. 

Business Values of Implementing Hospice Software

Improved communication can greatly benefit hospices. The right management software provides real-time access to patient information, allowing you to instantly and effectively respond to your clients’ needs. It also tracks patients’ payments, accounts receivables, and referral sources.

A hospice software solution helps simplify billing and coordinate finances. Equipped with a well-organized financial system, you will be able to collect payments faster, increase revenue, and improve ROI.

Your software solution must include reporting and benchmarking tools that gather key data to improve problem-solving. These tools will allow you to spot issues, determine whether they’re a process or people problem, and come up with a thoughtful resolution.

Hospice software features an electronic health record (EHR) system that improves documentation and compliance. It helps ensure workflow and documentation are automatically complying with regulatory guidelines. The system equips your institution with safety features that help it survive audits. 

Businesses are always subject to changes, from internal reorganizations to external regulatory updates. But global dashboards and customizable forms allow you to seamlessly manage the information flow that enables team members to quickly adapt to changes. 

Benefits of Updating Your Current Solution

Most hospice management systems are still a little too complex to use, overly expensive, and unable to deliver results as promised. They’re also fragmented. For example, an EHR may be equipped with clinical charting but lack built-in billing functionality and an integrated workforce management solution. This forces many hospices to rely on numerous solutions from different vendors to cover their needs.

This fragmentation leads to bloated expenses, as agencies deal with multiple third-party solutions and spend internal resources on completing some tasks manually.

If this is your case, you need hospice management software modernization. Integrating custom features and third-party solutions can help you quickly upgrade your hospice management software and avoid extra expenses.

Hospice management software needs to have features like medication tracking, bereavement management, scheduling, billing, and more.

Read also how to develop home caregiving scheduling software as well as software for assisted living facilities.

Hospice Management Software Key Features to Develop and Why They Are Important

Before you start developing your hospice management software, you must learn about the features you need first. The software should have functions that will improve front-line hospice care, hospice agency management, and back-office administration.

Clinical documentation

All aspects of the care your hospice provides need to be fully documented, including assessment, plan of care, evaluation, verbal orders, and notes. Clinical documentation should capture patient care provided by nurses, social workers, aides, volunteers, and interdisciplinary team members. It will also facilitate volunteer management. 

Medication tracking 

The software has to allow clinicians to add and update information on patient medications: the time when medication was taken, the dosage, the reaction, etc. Additionally, it should be able to make automatic checks for possible drug-allergy reactions and drug interactions.

Bereavement management

A good hospice system allows you to build multiple bereavement care plans based on risk assessment. Your staff will be able to easily monitor and manage related tasks and communications.

Real-time IDG/IDT updates

Custom software needs to allow the interdisciplinary group (IDG) or interdisciplinary team (IDT) to add notes for review before IDT meetings. It should enable all members to easily collaborate and review care plans. The right system fosters efficient care planning, allowing key people to focus on patient needs.

Scheduling

The system must include a scheduler that lets you enter and view schedules from the perspective of a patient, caregiver, or the management. You will be alerted to potential conflicting schedules or compliance issues thanks to this functionality. 

Scheduling is a critical feature in custom hospice management software.

Notice of Election alert

Hospice management software should provide alerts that help ensure the timely filing of the Notice of Election (NOE). 

Patient information tracking

You need hospice software that can track relevant patient information, including demographics, diagnosis, levels of care, insurance, periods of benefit, and physician information.

Dashboards and analytics

Your system must include a dashboard that offers a single-view look at what needs to be done. You must be able to easily check which plans of care have not been sent and which forms are due soon. The software has to also offer analytics and quick insights into patient intake, business revenue, and expenses.

Billing tools

Your hospice management software must come with billing tools. It should incorporate and charge all medications and hospice care provided at home, at the hospital, and in another facility. The tools would have to handle all payer sources, claims management, hospice and palliative billing, and patient accounts receivables, serving as the full financial management platform for your back office.

Financial reports

A good hospice system can keep track of payments, adjustments, and charges. It can provide summaries and detailed financial reports for administrators, billers, accountants, and owners.

Keep track of payments with the billing function in your hospice management system.

Payroll

The system should let you track pay rates for caregivers and calculate gross pay for the period. Also, iIt needs to allow you to export payroll and generate reports.

Employee credential tracking

By sending alerts when key dates approach, the right software helps you ensure necessary employee credentials are up to date, including TB tests, auto insurance, and driver’s license. You should be able to customize tracking and alerts based on the specific needs of your hospice.

Quality management

A custom hospice system lets you review completed documents you can either approve or return to the appropriate team members for correction.

Document management

Your hospice system has to allow you to handle documents easily. It should have the capacity to generate customizable forms, scan documents, and upload PDFs and images. It may even include electronic faxing, which lets you send and receive faxes without an external machine. You should be able to export individual docs and charts, too. 

A good system provides error notifications so that you can make necessary corrections before submission. It also includes a tracking feature that ensures all documents have the signature required. An electronic capture will allow staff to sign documents using their finger or computer mouse.  

Multi-user access across devices

All staff members need to have access to the software on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. To make this possible, your system should store all information in the cloud. 

Multi-user access across devices should be a default feature in your hospice management system.

Upgrading Your Current Hospice Management Software

Dealing with a fragmented or outdated hospice system? You don’t have to replace your current system to benefit from comprehensive software. Upgrading the system your hospice is currently using or augmenting it with third-party integrations is cheaper and faster.

Custom features integration

Effective hospice management software requires more than just building an EMR for hospice and palliative care agencies. It should be a comprehensive system designed to meet your needs not only in front-line hospice care but also in agency management and back-office administration.

That is why you need to turn to custom integration and set up the software that meets your agency’s needs. Depending on your specific requirements, this could entail a simple plugin or the integration of features custom developed for your hospice. 

Third-party integrations

Hospice management software must cover administrative, billing, clinical, and non-clinical disciplines. Still, many institutions struggle with a system that is merely an additional module to larger healthcare software. Others deal with hyper-focused solutions, like the ones built from the perspective of nurses. These systems often lack the essential features that allow a hospice to operate smoothly. After all, nursing is only one aspect of hospice management.

However, by relying on third-party integrations, developers can use application program interfaces (APIs) to add external data or existing components to your current system. For example, you may integrate your system with an app that can scan and upload documents.

Integrating your hospice management system with third-party tools is cheaper and faster than building a new system.

What to Double Check When Deciding to Start Your Project 

Working with the right software development company helps ensure a seamless process, sparing you the frustration of receiving a subpar product and poor service. Make sure you do your due diligence when choosing a software development vendor. 

Industry experience

It might be tempting to start using a solution by a prominent vendor. But it is not uncommon to find large EHR vendors with high levels of customer dissatisfaction. These providers often lack focus. They fall short in creating tools that are industry-specific. After all, healthcare is a vast field, and what works for a hospital or a doctor’s office may not be as effective in a hospice. 

A smaller company may even turn out to be a better partner. Just make sure you choose a software vendor that has relevant healthtech experience.

Technical expertise

Pick a service provider that has skilled team members and advisors. Inexperienced teams tend to create faulty products that stretch out project durations and inflate expenses. 

Work with a team that has the necessary experience in software development, hospice systems, and project management. Displaying a customer-centric attitude, they must appreciate the value of a user-friendly, intuitive, and elegant interface. They should also be adept at providing an estimate for a minimum viable product or MVP and delivering results within a reasonable timeframe.

Cost

The market is rife with cheap services that end up costing more in the long run because of their low quality. It is also teeming with overpriced systems that don’t even have the tools you actually need. Having a detailed list of the features you want will let you find the right software at the right price. 

Security and quality assurance

Healthcare systems are especially vulnerable to security breaches. So choose a software provider that is serious about security and quality assurance. The team has to be able to demonstrate just how they safeguard data storage.

Culture

To ensure successful custom hospice management software development, hospice and palliative care experts, administrators, and clinicians must work closely with the software development team. That is why when choosing a software provider, select the one with a company culture you find comforting. If your vision is similar to theirs and you follow the same principles, chances are you’ve found a vendor you’ll enjoy working with.

Customer service

Many hospices struggle with EHR vendors who refuse to provide additional services after purchase. They find themselves dealing with a large software company that treats their hospice system as an insignificant subset of their business. Make sure you work with a service provider that values your feedback and sticks around to answer your questions, resolve technical issues, and provide assistance in implementing new features in your hospice management software. 

See also how to build a hospital management system and integrate telehealth into EHR system.

Summing Up

The wrong hospice management software can result in complexities that make your processes unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming instead of simplifying them. But with the right hospice management system, your facility will be better equipped to increase revenue and ensure security and compliance. To build the right software, you should know what to look for in terms of system features and vendor attributes. 

Made up of experts in software engineering, project management, healthcare systems, and business development, the Demigos team is here to help you. We have extensive experience in creating custom-tailored healthcare management solutions that streamline processes and improve user experience. We design solutions that address internal procedures, digital data management, and administrative tasks.

Demigos values innovation and collaboration, working closely with clients to ensure they are more than satisfied. So contact Demigos today to learn more about how we can help you build agetech software that will simplify hospice management.

WRITTEN BY
Ivan Dunskiy
CEO
Ivan worked for more than 10 years in IT as a Quality Assurance Engineer, Mobile Software Developer, and Product Manager. Co-Founded 2 startups.
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