Choosing an EHR system for your facility: 4 key considerations

How the right EHR can help engage residents and their families

It’s important for organizations to get the most value from the EHR systems that they use. And the most effective way to help ensure that success is with the use of an innovative senior living resident engagement platform that focuses on families as well as residents to facilitate better communication among everyone involved.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at why resident and family engagement are so important and beneficial to skilled nursing facilities and life plan communities, and how EHR resident engagement tools are helping organizations get this important job done.

The importance of engaging family members

Why is family involvement so important, and why does it make such a difference to be able to work around their schedule? Especially at the skilled nursing level, family members often use the portal more than residents. So, it’s important for a senior living resident engagement platform to center on communicating important clinical information to those family members.

At the same time, people in a life plan community may be more able to navigate with a computer or an app, and not require a family member’s help. So, an effective engagement tool should also take that into consideration, offering the ability for residents in those facilities to easily access essential data like the latest vital signs, medications, diagnoses, allergies and other key data, in a timely way.

Reporting changes in a resident’s condition is a requirement for all skilled nursing facilities. But reaching out to family members over the phone can be problematic for both facilities and families, especially given today’s staffing shortages and hectic family schedules — phone tag can be a real issue. While emergency situations will always require urgent and direct contact, automatic email or text notifications can be more effective in other situations because they let families catch up on their own time, without the need for a staff member to reach out individually.

These types of messages are also easier to engage with. Depending on who needs to see them and who’s supposed to reply, they can be sent automatically to residents, registered family members, or both, with a simple message and clear course of action: “Mom just had a change in her medication,” for instance. “Click here to log in and check it out.”

Other core features of an effective EHR engagement platform

To be effective, an EHR engagement platform must be built to accommodate family members as well as residents. Instead of taking off time from work to go to regular care team meetings, family members should have the option of connecting via remote video, and at a time of their choosing. And it should all be easily managed with an intuitive calendar that keeps everyone automatically updated.

Ideally, all of these features should be seamlessly integrated with one another, and clear for users to understand. Meeting invitations should be easy to click and connect, using functionality similar to consumer tech like Zoom, but with the security required for clinical data. Facilities should have the option to customize key features, such as including welcome packets or other specific marketing materials.

When all of these features are present, an EHR engagement platform can also help facilities promote employee retention by enabling workers to get more done, more efficiently, in less time. Especially for organizations that are understaffed at the facility level, this makes it easier for workers to spend less time tracking down information, and more time directly engaged in the resident care they find most rewarding.

Improve your resident engagement strategy with MatrixCare Engage

At MatrixCare, we’re proud to offer a senior living resident engagement platform that puts all of these features at your fingertips, and more. Built with the direct insights and feedback of our valued customers, MatrixCare Engage is a care coordination platform that helps residents and their selected family members play an active role in essential care.

See for yourself how our senior living resident engagement platform can help your organization. Request a demo today for a closer look at MatrixCare Engage.

Mary Camp

Mary Camp has 35+ years of experience in the Healthcare Software Industry, specializing in Long Term Care and Continuing Care Communities. Mary has had extensive experience with Clinical, Census, Billing, and Financial packages, performing many roles including Business Analysis, Quality Assurance, Technical Writing, Implementation and Support, and providing other client-based services. She’s been on the “user” side of the desk and has a clear and empathetic understanding of client needs and expectations. In her current role as Principal Business Analyst, Mary supports the MatrixCare Connect and MatrixCare Engage teams. MatrixCare Connect/Engage are portals for patients, family members, and facility caregivers where they can connect with each other as well as other organizations before, during, and after their post-acute care stay.

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