Virtual Intake Portal - What we have seen so far - SMARTMD Virtual Intake Portal - What we have seen so far - SMARTMD


Virtual Intake Portal (VIP) is a service created by SMARTMD to manage the admissions process for hospice organizations. Where other tools and approaches to admissions were created to address a part of the process, VIP is a ground-up solution. SMARTMD asked, “if we created a process from scratch, based on technology available today, what would hospice admissions look like?”.  This approach is founded on the concept of DigitalTransformation (DT). 

Admissions teams using VIP have reported cutting a couple of hours off each admission, while caregivers and patients have provided excellent feedback about their experience. The improvements are only possible by reinventing the admissions process, not just changing parts. By applying DT,  SMARTMD has enabled admissions teams to improve the speed at which patients can start receiving care.

The Role of Digital Transformation

DT is not just the application of technology. It is a process that steps away from the current method of doing something (anything, really) and views it wholistically. We refer to Digital Transformation because technology lets us completely reimagine how we can achieve our goals. Rather than starting from where we are, DT encourages us to ask what is the best way to do something, irrespective of how it is currently done. 

For SMARTMD, the approach is a natural extension of how we’ve always viewed challenges. More broadly, DT is being adopted to help companies address specific problems that cannot be solved by doing more of the same. We took a deeper view of DT in July with an article you can read here

Some of the gains experienced by our customers are impressive. With a strong team and powerful tools, the admissions process at any hospice can see fantastic improvements. Digital transformation is needed to create these powerful tools for the admissions teams.

How VIP is Different

The overlap between what people expect from businesses and their personal communication has been growing over the past 20 years. The central component of the overlap is mobile technology. People across virtually all demographics now use their mobile devices in all aspects of their lives.  They expect companies and institutions to adapt to this as well.

The move to mobile-centric applications is also a smart move for business. From process flow to information centralization, there is improvement in access, efficiency, security, and reporting for employees and administrators. Mobile applications are the entry point for a much more efficient system.

With this understanding of consumers and the benefit to businesses, SMARTMD recognized that we needed to do more than change a process to realize the potential of technology. We applied Digital Transformation to reimagine the experience for patients, families, caregivers, and hospice organizations.

Key Elements for Patients

As SMARTMD explored the path of patients, families, and caregivers to hospice, a few key elements emerged.

  1. The needed information and inputs were coming from more than one person, and these people were often geographically separated.
  2. Understanding the process and requirements was difficult for many of the people involved.
  3. Communication between the parties, as well as with the hospice, was fragmented.

Key Elements for Hospice Organizations

When we spoke with and observed hospice organizations, they shared some pain points. 

  1. The admissions process was hindered by the difficulty of gathering information and tracking the progress.
  2. Communicating with and coordinating the different parties involved took considerable time.
  3. Administrative visibility into the status of individual patient admissions needed to be improved.
  4. With employee turnover, ensuring the continuity of the admissions process was difficult.

While SMARTMD uncovered the challenges for patients and hospice organizations, it was apparent that, at the core, solving one side of the issue would lay the groundwork to solve the other.

Patient-Centric from the Start 

Consumers’ desire to use mobile technology became the starting point for developing the VIP solution. With an app developed from the ground up to solve the admissions problem, the Virtual Intake Portal incorporated:

  1. Multi-user accounts. This allows caregivers and families from virtually anywhere to provide information, receive notices, and keep track of the process.
  2. Rather than imposing an offline process on a mobile device, purpose-built processes and screens were designed to make it easier for users to provide information and view their status. 
  3. Document capture using auto-correct features allows users to photograph and upload documents intuitively.
  4. How-to videos and contextually relevant prompts help users understand what is needed and how to provide it.
  5. All communication is accessible via the app or a web browser.

Transparency and accessibility in the new process are key benefits for patients and families. They know what is expected, how to provide it, and view it every step of the way. Educating people along the way reduced a barrier hindering progress in other admissions processes. 

Improvements for Hospice

Feedback from hospice admissions teams and administrators has affirmed the value of VIP and provides direction for continual improvements. Some of the key areas are:

  1. Significant reduction in the time for admissions. This is true in two ways. 1) Organizations report taking up to 2 hours off staff time per admission. 2) Because the app makes it easier for patients and families to understand what is needed and provide the information, days or weeks are cut from the total time to admit a patient. 
  2. Cross-team visibility into the status of every patient admission. This allows administrators to monitor the overall process while letting teammates assist each other should there be overload or temporary absents. 
  3. Organizational Compliance is easier to maintain. Compliance Officers can better monitor and maintain compliance with a standardized and easy-to-understand process, getting new employees up to speed and allowing all employees to more easily adhere to requirements.

The impact on hospice organizations is across the board. Employees are more efficient while being less stressed. They have better visibility into each patient, making it easier to stay on top of the process and share tasks if needed. Administrators can manage resources, reduce the overall cost of admissions, and decrease the time to admission(increasing revenue). The Virtual Intake Portal has greatly improved hospice organizations’ admissions work and management. 

Getting Started With VIP

Inertia is, perhaps, the greatest inhibitor to adopting a new process; Fear of change is a close second. When organizations have worked hard to get a current process working as well as it can, setting the current process aside for something entirely new is difficult. Given our experience working with hospices to implement the admissions process, we have the knowledge to help organizations adopt VIP with minimal disruption while gaining broad acceptance.

To learn more about the Virtual Intake Portal and our implementation process, contact us to set up a no-obligation call. We’ll discuss your unique situation, how VIP can help, and the steps to getting started.