Paper Vs Electronic: Why Aged Care providers are making the switch to software
Sophia Bolden 11 May 2017
The use of technology in aged care is now commonplace. Providers rely on automated beds and chairs to lift residents, companion robots in the form of beloved pets are given to people with dementia, and software systems are utilised to document clinical and medication information.
Point of care documentation
For residential aged care providers, the ability to enter and monitor clinical data at the point of care via an electronic system brings many advantages. By using a tablet device the staff don’t have to return to the nurses’ station at the end of the shift to document clinical data. This process is not only more efficient, it also minimises the likelihood of errors, as staff are not relying on hand written, difficult to read notes. Immediate documentation also ensures that the workers have not forgotten clinical or medication information, which may occur when notes are entered several hours after their interaction with a resident.
Documentation and reporting are becoming increasingly important for legislative bodies. It is therefore essential that management have access to clinical data in real time. By entering clinical and care information using a tablet device, staff and management can instantly assess the health of residents, without having to wait until the end of the shift. Visibility is particularly important for aged care providers with multiple facilities, as management can use this information to streamline processes and standardise care. Electronic systems are an essential component in creating transparency, which in turn helps to create a safer and more efficient organisation.
Simpler ACFI management
With government Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) changes coming into effect regularly, utilising an effective software system to maintain funding levels is imperative. Electronic ACFI calculators are designed to save time, eliminate paperwork and maximise opportunities for funding. These calculations are complex and without an electronic system, it is common for human errors or oversights to occur. Using an electronic system also ensures that supporting clinical evidence, such as assessment forms, are automatically linked to an ACFI appraisal, without the need to search manually for hard copy documentation.
Single source of truth
For providers relying on a paper-based system, the process of managing and maintaining resident records can be time-consuming and difficult to standardise. Conversely, an electronic clinical system can simplify the management of resident information by consolidating all details associated with a resident’s care. This provides staff with a single point of data entry, as well as instant, electronic access to resident information.
Benefits for staff
As aged care workers are now expected to utilise technological solutions to simplify their roles, providers who operate purely on paper may struggle to recruit new staff. Technology that replaces paperwork such as software that displays clinical and medication information – can increase job satisfaction and engagement by reducing time consuming administrative tasks and eliminating manual processes. With simplified and automated processes in place, staff can spend less time on arduous paperwork and administrative tasks, and more time on delivering person-centred care.