If you own or manage a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), you most likely rely on a variety of software tools and technologies to help you manage day-to-day clinical and operational tasks. However, as you can imagine, there are software tools that boost healthcare productivity and others that do not.
The benefits of digitalization within the healthcare industry are clear. It is estimated that in upcoming years healthcare will experience shortages of qualified medical personnel. This issue can be solved with technology.
Software tools boost productivity in healthcare in the following ways:
1. They allow facilities to substitute manually performed processes
d with automation. Employees can focus on providing better care for patients, instead of participating in time-consuming phone calls and manual data filing.
2. Software tools allow for better management. With technology it is easier to transfer and
3. Apps in healthcare improve patient satisfaction with services and influence
s the performance of the staff involved in medical care. Patients
4. Technology allows facilities to keep up with the ever-changing world. Healthcare should meet the new demands of patients. For example, consider the COVID-19 pandemic and rising demand for telemedicine services
, that were possible thanks to progressive technology.
5. Implementing technology into healthcare reduces the risks of errors that could have occurred if a task was performed manually. It helps to keep the business running smoothly and raises revenue, which makes both patients and employees happy, contributing to a positive atmosphere at the workplace.
While considering the benefits of implementing new technology into healthcare we cannot deny problems that providers may face with
It all comes down to how well the products you use integrate, and how well they can be adjusted to your processes and staff. It is not a secret that each SNF operates slightly differently, and these ‘little’ differences sometimes result in the same software product succeeding in one place and failing in the other.
How can a facility improve clinical productivity?
Let’s look at a hypothetical facility that implements both Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and a billing program as an example. EMR software that has an integrated billing function can save you time. However, what if that built-in billing package is not as good as another stand-alone product which, unfortunately, is incompatible with your EMR? Are you winning or losing if you opt to use the stand-alone one? Yes, you can bill much more efficiently and produce any report your management team may need, but the census changes are not integrated, and you have to spend time manually reconciling between systems. Does healthcare productivity go up or down? Many facilities use multiple software products for information they are gathering or tracking. Trying to connect the dots can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if these products cannot share information with each other. Interoperability between systems remains a persistent problem even with all the technological advancements.
Historically, software vendors preferred to create barriers to information sharing, and for the most part, have had a “siloed” approach to the data they were holding. This is starting to change with CMS proposing new rules (https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/cms-advances-interoperability-patient-access-health-data-through-new-proposals), but unfortunately, it still is a reality many facilities must deal with. These barriers can be limiting, and a real nuisance, but there are solutions. From specialized products such as Approved Admissions Bridge (https://www.approvedadmissions.com/bridge) to Robotic Process Automation tools such as UiPath (https://www.uipath.com/), organizations have several out-of-the-box options when it comes to establishing bridges between systems from different vendors.
For example, at Approved Admissions, we have been able to configure comprehensive connectivity to most leading EMR
s and billing software products using our Bridge product and can add new ones in a matter of just a few days. Facilities that are using products from multiple vendors , and are not utilizing some sort of integration product are losing out on the full value this technology can bring.
When technology is integrated, the benefits are distributed throughout the system – from productivity improvements for staff, faster response to residents’ needs, avoidance of potentially deadly mistakes, to a positive impact on the overall bottom line. More time is left to enhance the overall experience for residents, and with better experience come higher occupancy rates and less staff turnover. Another advantage of an integrated system is the ability to provide families with valuable information about residents through precise data that can be tracked.
However, integration is not the only way to improve productivity in healthcare. Automation has also firmly established itself as a time-saving approach.
The value of automation comes from its ability to have relevant data available wherever and whenever necessary. From Microsoft’s Flow, Logic- and Power Apps to Robotic Process Automation and AI, a whole new industry is starting to emerge. This industry is focused on improving productivity by replacing repetitive tasks with pieces of software code that perform these operations much more efficiently and without human interaction.
Facilities should avoid any software products that do not support interoperability with other systems and require manual data transfer. These products will drain productivity in health care and inhibit workflow.
Wherever possible, choose tools that provide the flexibility to work from anywhere and streamline communication. If a similar tool exists as a SaaS (or Internet/cloud-based) version and an on-premises installed version, always try to opt for the cloud one. Unless you have the necessary staff to support a variety of servers and redundant locations in a HIPAA-compliant environment, you will almost always be better off letting a licensed and qualified software vendor worry about that.
The way you implement technology, and how you choose the software products for your facility is extremely important. Quality, speed, ability to integrate with others, built-in automation, and user adaptability are all factors to consider when choosing a new product. With the right one, you can boost occupancy, increase productivity, and decrease the number of human errors. The wrong software may lead to lower efficiency, issues with staff retention, and in the worst case, loss of life for residents, amongst other problems.
Leading Skilled Nursing Facilities around the country are employing products such as Approved Admissions Bridge and UiPath to automate and empower their business processes. If you are interested in learning more, or are looking for a recommendation for your facility, please get in touch with us.