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Tech Strategy in Long-Term, Post-Acute Care: Are You Wasting Your Resources?

Long-term, post-acute, and senior care have been behind other industries when it comes to the adoption of technology. In 2018 an article in Skilled Nursing News cited that 83% of senior living companies believed they underinvested in technology and that they thought they would either be acquired by a more technologically advanced company or face bankruptcy. Just two years later, the pandemic forced the industry to adopt new technology quickly to keep up. That trend continues, arguably even faster than ever, as operators focus on strategy-based solutions to ensure they continue to survive the impacts of COVID-19 and thrive when it eventually ends.

In a panel at Healthtac West, Heather Tussing, Executive Vice President at Morning Pointe Senior Living, recently said, "Communities can either embrace and adapt to technology, or they are going to be left behind because there is no other option."

With substantial investment in tech-based solutions that address everything from labor, finance, and procurement to clinical, quality, and life safety, operators must take a more strategic look at technical operations. Specifically, ways to get the most out of their purchased systems and new solutions to implement so that teams can do more with fewer resources.

Ensure the Infrastructure is in Place to Support your Tech.

Software solutions provide tools to make jobs easier and more meaningful for staff and give residents and families more options, but implementing the solution without the IT infrastructure to support it is like driving a car with flat tires. It's important to make sure your facility and corporate IT infrastructure can support your implementation and that your infrastructure is updated every three to five years.

Evaluate Your Existing Technology.

You've taken the proper steps and implemented technology solutions to create efficiencies but are they working? Are they solving problems for your staff and making their lives easier? Talk to your team on the ground. The employees that use the systems every day. Find out what they think and give input to your vendors. Feedback from your staff will not only let you know if you have the right solution in place or if you need to rethink the solution, but you may also learn that the right solution is there and not being used to its full potential.

Identify Operational Gaps.

Evaluating a day in the life of [fill in the blank] staff members can be a powerful tool to identify inefficiencies. What takes time away from resident care? Are teams spending hours keeping up with administrative demands like pulling information from multiple systems and compiling manual reports on paper or spreadsheets? Identify what can be automated and implement technology to close those gaps. American Senior recently said in an article that for every report they can automate, they estimate a one-hundred-thousand-dollar saving in opportunity costs that can be allocated elsewhere. Beyond dollars, giving teams the tools to work more efficiently will save countless hours and loads of frustration.

Focus on Training and User Adoption.

Arguably, one of the most crucial factors to a successful software implementation is onboarding and user training. Work with your vendor and spend the time upfront to ensure that your employees use, learn, and become comfortable with the solution you purchased. Give your team members a direct path to learning and support from your chosen vendor and ensure that frequent check-ins happen to foster user adoption.

Tie Your Systems Together.

Operators that are solving problems with technology are subscribing to multiple systems and, while this is necessary, it can become cumbersome for facility and regional leaders to manage. Each system has its own set of tasks, data, and analytics. Department heads and facility leaders must log in to each system separately, pull the data they need for reporting and strategic management, manually collate and calculate that data, and complete system-related tasks in multiple steps. Through integration, providers can give team members access to tasks, workflow, and analytics that includes data from multiple software systems in one place so they can spend less time at their computer and more time with residents, families, and staff.

Use Data to Measure Success.

Most software solutions today offer reporting on user activity that can include how often users log into the system, the time of day they log in, and which areas of the system are visited the most. Work with your vendor to get regular reports to identify gaps in utilization by facility, title, and down to the specific employee. Give particular focus to training and have discussions with these users to determine the reason behind the underutilization. You might find that you get valuable information that can lead to conversations around improvement and innovation within your organization and with your current vendors.

CareWork gives teams automated tools to increase quality, control costs, reduce waste, and get jobs done faster. By integrating with the systems you already use, we give providers an easy way to strategically manage operations in one place without the need to hire additional in-house IT experts. We make work life easier.

Ready to make the most of the systems you've invested in? If so, contact us today.

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