How to thrive in a COVID-19 world using EHR technology
Technology in senior care has never had a better time to shine than it does right now. Through harnessing the power of electronic health records (EHRs) to utilizing conference calling tools with residents and families, senior care communities have found new ways to take advantage of technology to help them manage their businesses in the shadow of COVID-19.
Leverage existing tools like an EHR
While electronic health records (EHR) are not new to the senior care market, many features have increased its importance. One of the primary tools that have become a necessity is the ability to track and manage the existence and risk of infection. Senior care providers can gain insight into who might be at risk for COVID-19 and other conditions by utilizing tools such as electronic vital sign monitoring, activity tracking, point of care documentation, and assessment tools that help monitor for change in condition such as depression, lethargy, weakness, respiratory changes, anxiety and more.
Once a change in condition has been identified, tracking tools can help mitigate risk and provide support for other measures to ensure the safety and wellness of all residents. Not only can the EHR allow documentation of illness, but it should facilitate a decrease in exposure to infectious diseases including COVID-19 and influenza. Utilizing tools such as banner notifications in addition to the event and incident-tracking features can help ensure your staff is prepared to reduce exposure.
With increased testing for COVID-19 and other illnesses, EHR technology can quickly and easily help providers manage the overwhelming number of tests and results being. Reporting and analytic tools provide insight into the trends occurring in the community and help providers stay informed.
These tools can provide visualization in real-time for:
- Occupancy trends
- Effectiveness of sales and marketing activities
- The financial health of your business
Successfully manage risk with technology
Because of decreased movement outside of their apartment or home, many residents face increased risk of worsening of existing conditions, falls, depression, loneliness, and anxiety. The EHR can help manage these risks, but implementing additional technologies that interact with the health record provides additional support for the resident and the provider. For example, using wearables such as fitness trackers that interact with the personal health record can encourage movement and provide insight to the provider which residents may be at risk due to lack of activity. In addition, family members can be reassured by using the family portal to see that their loved one is doing well.
Introduce your residents to Bluetooth-enabled devices
Bluetooth technology enables other devices to automatically send data to the health record so that even independent living residents can manage their health information quickly and easily. Providing residents with a “welcome kit” full of Bluetooth-enabled devices such as temporal thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, scales, fitness trackers, and more is a great way to help them ensure they are routinely monitoring their health. While a new or existing resident is on quarantine, giving them the tools to help them record their own health data and have it populate the health record automatically is helpful in allowing the resident to maintain autonomy and reduce physical contact.
Improve communication between providers, residents, and family
Having a solution that allows two-way communication between residents, family, and providers is a great way to ensure that the line of communication remains open. While many residents are quite tech-savvy, tools that allow for video chat with just a push of a button are a welcome alternative to those that require downloads and complex setup. These tools can also help facilitate communication between residents in the community who may be missing out on time spent together in non-socially distant activities.
Make mealtime enjoyable again
Dining service has necessarily changed and many communities are finding that their residents are eating a limited variety or are missing out on the joy of dining with friends. With technology that can help residents select their meals based on their own preferences can add a personalized touch. Contactless ordering is a way to put control back into the resident’s hands at a time when everyone is feeling a loss of control.
Ensure proper sanitation and cleaning
While infection control measures have always been key in senior care communities, it’s more important than ever to record the activities performed to keep residents and staff safe and infection-free. Using technology built into the EHR that can assign and record completion of community-based tasks such as cleaning and sanitizing helps staff members record their activities without disruption to their other work and allows providers to ensure compliance.
Finally, there are a plethora of supporting tools on the market to facilitate activity, engagement, provide socialization, and much more. Many of these tools can also communicate with the health record, eliminating the time spent entering data into more than one solution. Your EHR provider can help you find great partners that work with them to move information across platforms. We want you to spend your time caring for your residents and continuing to give them the excellent experience they’ve come to expect in your community, not sitting in front of a workstation entering data.
Software solution providers like MatrixCare have your best interest and the interests of your residents and their families at the heart of everything we do. In these unprecedented times, lean on us to help you ensure that you have everything you need to keep your residents, staff, and business safe and well.
The content in this presentation or materials is for informational purposes only and is provided “as-is.” Information and views expressed herein may change without notice. We encourage you to seek as appropriate, regulatory, and legal advice on any of the matters covered in this presentation or materials.