Virtualizing the Wound Consult: Telehealth for Wounds ‘just makes sense’
Frequently, I’m asked why... Why wounds? Why ostomies? Why telehealth with Corstrata? Even though I see the future unfolding for the industry, markets require more than just a strong belief system.
I am emboldened by 2020 as it set the stage for virtual wound consults in Home Health and Hospice to become a part of standard practice!
The Pandemic drove the adoption and acceptance of virtual care, even with an elderly population.
Wounds now have the highest possible episodic reimbursement under the newly introduced PDGM reimbursement.
Telehealth platforms have become ever richer in features that ease adoption.
Wound certified nurses remain challenging to recruit.
But, a historical perspective on wounds may offer additional insights in answering the "why" questions. Many home health agencies avoided taking wound patients, especially complex wounds. High utilization of supplies and clinical resources often resulted in slim or negative margins. Even so, 30+% of all home health patients have at least one wound!
What does that signify? Effectively managing patients with wounds has always required a roadmap for quality and is core to any Home Health or Hospice care program!
Corstrata finds that 30% of the time, home health agencies are not correctly identifying wound etiology. More than 50% of the time, pressure injuries are not staged accurately. Both these errors have significant ramifications. Accurate identification of wound etiology drives optimal wound treatment; if wounds are misidentified, they are not treated with the indicated best practice. Additionally, misidentified and/or miss tagged wounds can result in incorrect coding, negatively impacting reimbursement.
Continuous support with expertise is critical to managing costs! Best practice wound care utilizes advanced wound dressings. While incrementally more expensive than basic wound care supplies, often these products allow for less frequent dressing changes. Fewer dressing changes can significantly reduce the number of in-home nursing visits leading to better care at a lower cost.
The use of evidence-based wound treatments paired with advanced dressings accelerates wound healing. As a home health provider, referral sources and payers are incentivized to partner with agencies that deliver positive clinical outcomes.
Put simply, the key to providing best-in-class wound care requires best-practice wound care protocols and appropriate access to wound expertise. COVID served as the activation point for virtual care, making it an attractive, sometimes necessary alternative to in-person care. Board-certified wound care nurses are scarce, and 90% of them practice in the acute care setting. Hiring one and then deploying them in the car to make in-home visits is inefficient and expensive.
Providing access to wound experts via telehealth is the optimal solution. Technology now allows for wound care nurses to work remotely and conduct wound consults. Making in-person visits, a wound nurse can see 3-5 patients each day. Using technology, the same wound nurse can “see” 40 patients a day.
As Home Health companies move forward and embrace virtual delivery of wound care, the final “why” must be answered...Why telehealth and Corstrata? A simple question with a complex answer! Inevitably, when an organization realizes virtual wound expertise makes sense, the DIY option is an attractive hazard. In and of itself, that aspiration is not a problem. However, the ability to understand the components of a high quality, virtualization of wound expertise is a problem. The tools for evaluation of the DIY vs. Outsourcing don’t exist in the industry.
The ability to virtualize this valuable skill for quality, cost, and defensible clinical practice is critical to success! Corstrata enables post-acute Providers to become Wound Programs of Excellence with our technology-enabled wound consult model to manage complex & chronic wounds in home health, hospice, rehab hospitals and nursing homes.
Corstrata’s senior-level, wound-certified nursing staff are some of the best and most experienced in the industry. We couple the expertise with the most advanced wound dressing technology, latest evidence-based research, and a telehealth infrastructure to ensure that we deliver the right patient support at the greatest point of need – the bedside.
To learn more, contact Corstrata for a conversation to see how we can help make your wound management program easier and more profitable.