A patient’s wound care often starts in the ER, at a family doctor’s office, or in postoperative care. However, complex or long-term wound care needs generally exceed what these departments offer. Patients receiving wound care typically need the collaboration of two or more departments.
Efficient, accurate communication between providers is of the utmost importance. These high-risk wounds depend on it for their improvement. Without it, tests may get repeated, referrals can be put off, and signs of infection can get missed.
Digital wound management captures comprehensive wound data and streamlines communication the patients need for care coordination. It proves especially helpful where general EHR systems fall short.
A patient needing extensive wound care certainly needs wound-specific providers, such as an outpatient wound clinic. However, when a patient’s wound is chronic or complex, the wound itself is rarely a stand-alone problem. Most patients will also need non-wound specialties to help heal their wounds.
Consider a few common kinds of patients requiring wound care:
Patients with edema-caused wounds may need to be in touch with lymphedema management and vein specialists.
Patience with cancer-related radiation burns may need to have care coordinated between their oncologist and the wound care physician.
Patients with skin tears and fractures from a fall often need to see physical therapy alongside outpatient wound care.
Patients needing frequent dressing changes and assessment may need home health care for nursing visits.
Patients with an infected surgical wound may need care from both their surgeon and an infectious disease specialist.
Ideally, a facility’s EHR would be the ideal tool to facilitate good documentation and organize it for easy retrieval. Yet half of medical specialty referrals in older adults aren’t even completed. Missing documentation and poor staff communications are prime contributors.
Here is what digital wound care software can do to improve care coordination.
1. MAKE RELEVANT REFERRAL INFORMATION EASY TO GATHER
Providers between facilities and within the same facility need easy-to-review records to improve care handoff. A generic EHR may have plenty of areas to input different pieces of documentation—but how easy are they to find?
A 2022 study revealed some significant EHR usability issues. The most common problems related to missing and hidden information, difficulty seeing data trends, data overload, and poor interconnectivity between pages.
For example, imagine a home health facility and outpatient wound clinic under the same hospital and EHR. What if a home health provider charts something in a different place than outpatient wound care?
What happens when important information is in scanned papers that don’t have a standardized organization within your EHR?
Within a facility, what happens when multiple nurses chart the same assessment detail in different areas?
Even if documentation is perfectly standardized—do staff have to manually sift through individual entries to discover trends?
Digital wound management, like WoundZoom, solves these kinds of issues with several features.
Documentation flow is improved, facilitating efficient, accurate data entry.
Documentation is uploaded to your EHR in a standardized format. When practitioners enter an assessment in the software, the data is carried over to a standardized designated area in the EHR.
Patient-specific reports with wound trends are automatically compiled and visible in graph and chart form.
2. REDUCE REPEAT TESTS AND UNSUCCESSFUL THERAPIES
Needlessly subjecting patients to duplicate tests is a significant waste of money and time. Neither the patient nor the healthcare providers benefit. This puts off giving the patient the appropriate care their wounds need.
Duplicate testing is heavily associated with poor EHR operability. In the past, inaccessibility to paper charts between facilities has been the main issue. However, EHR systems haven’t improved the situation much. EHRs between different facilities often are not compatible with data transfer. This can hold true even with facilities that are under the same hospital umbrella.
To keep each other updated on a patient’s care, these facilities typically rely on paper transfers. Information is faxed or brought along with the patient. Any missing information requires a time-consuming request, typically by phone.
Communication between providers comes down to the quality of these printed documents. Unfortunately, most EHRs are ill-equipped for printing concise, useful information.
Digital wound management allows the user to print a much more useful format.
The printout provides relevant, consolidated information. Staff does not have to sift through multiple pages of the printed browser view of an assessment. This allows wound changes, relevant tests, and past prescriptions to be easily noticed.
Full assessments can be printed. Staff doesn’t have to rely solely on a doctor’s note with missing details. Wound measurements, tissue integrity, peri-wound assessments, and more from nurses’ notes can be included.
Images can be included. Multiple images are an excellent way to present objective progress assessments.
Data trends can be printed. Staff can quickly gather and send progress trends.
3. REDUCE DOCUMENTATION BURDEN WHILE IMPROVING WOUND CHARTING ACCURACY
Good care coordination starts with good documentation of the original care. Most wound care is delivered in the outpatient setting, making the verbal shift-to-shift handoff impossible. Patients receiving outpatient care also often have multiple nurses and doctors giving them care, even from the same facility.
The patient’s EHR has become the catalyst for good care coordination. If its design doesn’t facilitate easy data entry and retrieval, the quality of care handoffs will decline dramatically.
Well-designed documentation structures help data transferability and facilitate efficient workflow.
HOW DOES A DIGITAL WOUND CARE TOOL DO THIS?
Documentation destination is standardized. When a provider documents in the digital wound care tool, the data will roll over to the same place every time.
Charting flow is intuitive. The layout follows a provider’s assessment. It also offers the essentials for wound documentation, preventing the search-and-find method a provider must use when browsing menus of irrelevant information.
Images are easy to capture, upload, and retrieve. When a device has the WoundZoom app, a provider can snap a picture that gets uploaded to a consolidated collection. A provider can easily browse a patient’s previous wound presentations to assess progress.
A measurement tool improves efficiency and accuracy. The camera measurement tool allows a provider to capture the wound’s length, width, and depth in mere moments.
The system is HIPAA-compliant. When an EHR doesn’t provide an easy means, many providers transfer patient-protected information, like images, using means that aren’t secure.
IMPROVE CARE COORDINATION TO IMPROVE PATIENT OUTCOMES AND SATISFACTION.
YOUR CURRENT EHR MAY NEED THE SUPPORT OF A DIGITAL WOUND MANAGEMENT TOOL IF YOU FIND ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
Other providers frequently request the same kind of information from your facility, such as lab results
Other providers often call about missing information in a fax from your facility.
Patients frequently ask for a printout of their visit for their records.
Your facility’s referral process only involves sending a patient face sheet and doctor’s note.
Your facility struggles to print assessments.
You provide wound care in a long-term care setting.
Your facility is a skilled nursing facility (SNF).
Improving your care coordination will ease your staff’s workload and your patients’ frustrations. WoundZoom helps your staff serve your patients’ wound care needs with more confidence and in less time. Request your 30-minute demo today to explore how WoundZoom Digital Wound Management can help your facility improve care coordination and patient handoffs.