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SAVING MONEY AND IMPROVING QUALITY OF CARE THROUGH USE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY

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Caring for people at home is a complex activity that needs a lot of organisation, so most companies have software that handles this activity.  Choosing the right software can make a huge difference, reducing paperwork, streamlining communications with staff, and delivering back information in real-time.

Consider for a moment the person using spreadsheets.  With a small number of clients it’s easy enough; but as you grow you find that you’ve got a lot of work to do- duplicating the entries onto each sheet, trying to work out who to place with whom, communicating with staff (more paperwork), processing incoming timesheets, doing manual careplans in Word, calling staff to confirm rotas, chasing no-shows, and so on. True, a good coordinator keeps all this information in their heads, but what happens if he/she goes off sick, or on holiday? Could your second in command do the rota in an emergency?  And what about someone who has never worked the area before being pitched into an unfamiliar situation, having to do the rota because no-one else can?

Then, inspection by CQC becomes a nightmare – there are very high expectations for quality and most CQC inspectors would expect all your processes to be efficient – and are now demanding that there is at least some form of electronic monitoring to log the visits made to the client.

And finally, there are the costs. The thing that makes a difference between a profitable organisation (or break-even if you are not for profit) and a loss-maker is control of office admin overheads. If we can save the coordinators and managers time, we are adding directly to the bottom line.

BECOMING EFFICIENT

Scheduling Systems like Ulysses Newcare save all this work and hassle. Instead of keeping everything in the coordinators head, the system learns when staff are available, which areas they work what skills they have, who they can’t work for, when they prefer to work, and more.  We set preferred carers up on a regular plan and then manage exceptions, such as carer holidays, sickness, client respite, etc, and allocate visits via algorithms taking into account distance, travel time, compatibility, etc. We check that they are qualified to work (ie they are up to date on their meds training before they can be allocated to a call requiring meds), and continuity.  All this is done from your desk on a system that can handle thousands of hours, often with just one coordinator. Typically this system can save up to 80% of your manual (administrative) effort and reduces postage and paper by even more.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

The real revolution in technology in the last few years is in how mobile technology has improved even on that. Products like Connected Workforce and Newcare Mobile can relay all that planning information to the carer on their own mobile smartphone (they download the app from the app stores) –  instantly, in real-time – so saving the coordinator the re-planning time. Carers can log their visits by using QR code, GPS or NFC  technology to log their visit, and allow notes and exceptions to be logged, again feeding back in real-time. This type of system is rapidly replacing the traditional  0800 service which uses the client’s phone to log – simply because it does so much more.  This part of the system typically focuses on the carer but is an essential part of the optimum solution as it guarantees that the client has been seen and if correctly applied, can report back outcomes, such as client refusals, medication issues, and more– any visit that has been missed is automatically notified to the coordinator.

THE INTEGRATED CARE MODEL- OUTCOME-FOCUSED CARE PLANNING AND DELIVERY

Let’s take another look at the administration costs. Taking on a new client means someone qualified visiting the person at home, carrying out risk assessments, creating a support plan that meets the service user’s needs, consulting with the client to establish preferences, preparing MAR sheets, and recording all the required information to pull together the Care Plan.  Manual plans tend to be 10+pages long, and client has to sign the sheets; then they need to be duplicated, and a copy delivered back  to the client.  This whole area has been crying out to be computerised but up until recently was expensive. Recent advances in Tablet technology have

Business woman using a smart phone

allowed companies like Everylife to create systems that can work in the customer’s home without a mobile signal (disconnected)  the client signs the screen; and the plan is immediately uploaded as soon as the signal becomes available again.

Everylife PASS has built a fully Digital care planning system that combines computerised forms, MAR sheets, communications with the service user and family, records outcomes and anomalies at each visit, and combines the information into dashboards that the coordinator can monitor.  External agencies can get access to the information using OpenPASS, a patented QR-Code system that presents the entire client record on-screen.

When fed the visit plan from scheduling systems like Newcare, the users experience a truly joined-up solution that pays for itself very quickly; not only do we know that the correct care has been delivered with beneficial outcomes, but we also have a joined-up paperless system that meets CQC and NHS guidelines for digitising care systems at point of delivery- saving its own costs on the way.

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