Caring for others can be both a rewarding and demanding occupation. Today’s Long-Term Care (LTC) employees often have limited technology experience and need 24/7/365 IT support they can trust to get the job done. Staff must care for residents while maintaining healthcare compliance standards, and they don’t have time to deal with IT issues on their own. The introduction of new technology is a distraction from their core purpose: caring for residents. That’s why many skilled nursing facilities are outsourcing Health Information Technology (HIT) to improve resident quality care delivery, employee satisfaction, compliance measures, and more.
The goal for many healthcare providers is to standardize their approach to how they use and support technology:
- without violating compliance standards
- across multiple facilities
- with minimal disruptions to their operations
- and while operating on thin margins
Long-term care communities that engage a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) with the business knowledge and technology expertise to manage all aspects of their IT can improve workforce recruitment, retention, onboarding, and efficiency.
We use our Framework for Successful IT to structure how we deliver complete IT outsourcing to our clients, which covers all aspects of their IT needs including:
- IT Strategy
- IT Security
- IT Design
- IT Implementation
- IT Support
The following sections explore some of the pains long-term care services providers experience when relying on an IT solution that’s missing one or more of these components.
Ever-Evolving Healthcare Compliance Standards for Electronic Health Information/PHI
Without the right technology and data security measures in place, healthcare providers face compliance violations and fines that can hurt their bottom line and reputation. Not only do compliance violations compound with the number of patients and degree of negligence, but word of mouth among residents and their families can also have a long-lasting impact on a community’s reputation.
When working with our clients in the healthcare industry, we understand their critical need for proper technology and IT security measures. Our services provide coverage that is key to navigating HIPAA compliance, state administrator audits, and VA audits with minimal risk for violations and fees.
We make sure that the right technology is configured in the right way with the right level of security for our clients to be successful in a demanding industry like healthcare. In turn, they can proactively and accessibly maintain the right level of documentation to prove compliance and control patient information storage, access, and sharing. Improvements in operational efficiency and security can help pave the way for improved care delivery and security around resident health information.
Unreliable IT Infrastructure & Tech Support for First-Line Workers
Healthcare workers are challenged with balancing paperwork and caregiver workflows while providing care to several residents. This means unplanned downtime and business disruptions must be kept to a minimum to avoid interfering with everyday routines like resident clinical needs such as medical care, illness or disability treatment, as well as personal care services and support, such as bathing and dressing, and the activities of daily living.
IT outsourcing can take on the burden of IT issues and technology management so frontline workers have 24/7/365 IT support and reliable resolution that meets their needs. The key metric for IT success in long-term care is the technology experience of the frontline staff who use the technology every day. To have this level of IT reliability, long-term care providers need access to a highly skilled IT talent pool they usually can’t maintain in-house, at least not with their typical budget.
Skilled nursing communities with multiple facilities face an additional challenge of streamlining IT infrastructure and support across various locations so that they all operate the same, but independently of one another.
In addition to providing a reliable infrastructure, standardization allows rotating nursing staff and caregivers to have a consistent technology experience (and the one for which they were trained) from one location to the next. An outsourced Managed IT Services provider has the resources to handle mass-scale IT support, remotely, and while providing a streamlined and positive experience.
High Turnover Rates & Onboarding Demands for Nursing Staff
Long-term care facilities already face a lack of institutional knowledge that stems from high employee turnover and recruitment challenges felt across the industry.
A recent study published by Health Affairs reviewed 15,645 nursing homes across the U.S. and found the average annual turnover rate to be 128% with some facilities exceeding 300%.
These high turnover rates among registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants require care providers to make a continual investment in employee onboarding and training, contributing to the $2200 average cost to replace a nursing assistant or home care worker.
When nursing staff members are forced to battle old, broken technology to do an already difficult job, they’re more likely to leave and find another facility or career path with less stress and higher pay. It’s one thing to have the occasional IT issue IT support can quickly resolve; it’s an entirely different experience when employees are working from slow, out-of-date computers with storerooms of broken devices IT never seems to fix.
Chaotic IT Efforts That Ignore Preventable Roadblocks & Healthcare IT Needs
The adoption of Electronic Medical Records Systems (EMR) is a rising trend across long-term care and skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. When successfully implemented and adopted, the software can automate daily tasks such as:
- Prompt nurses and nurses’ assistants to assess patient conditions
- Remind caregivers to document when and what resident care was provided
- Easily view and assess patient trends that are difficult to compile with traditional paper charting and documentation
- Streamline administrative functions such as billing, managing bed availability, discharge management
- Track clinical support tasks like incident documentation and medicine administration
Whether you’re implementing a new EMR solution like Point Click Care or LTC, rolling out an update, or training staff on how to use the system, you need a process that is low-cost and low impact so your staff can continue caring for residents while technology changes are being made.
We work with our clients to develop an IT roadmap that meets their needs, overcomes potential implementation and adoption challenges, and creates a positive employee experience with technology that drives IT ROI and customer satisfaction. By understanding their business, we understand their industry and the unique challenges they face.
An experienced IT outsourcing provider can help long-term care providers predict what might go wrong when it comes to technology, and plan around it. Proactive planning is key for all aspects of IT, especially implementation.
Barriers to Workforce Adoption of Technology Changes
The long-term value of any new technology needs to outweigh the costs associated with implementation and the continual employee training and education needed for success.
Suppose the technology is not easy to use or it’s introduced to the organization in a way that causes recurring disruptions to staff workflows and caregiving. In that case, it becomes a hindrance rather than an advantage. In other words, technology implementations must be strategic and focused around the first-line workers to serve as a beneficial solution, not just a tool.
Unfortunately, many of today’s skilled nursing facilities lack adequate training when new technology solutions or updates are implemented. As a result, their staff is often resistant and ill-informed when it comes to IT initiatives. Frontline workers often hear about technology changes by word of mouth and rely on their peers for training and assistance.
When employees are too busy training new employees, they don’t have time to focus on their core role: providing care to residents. The hard truth is that training must be easy to master, repeat, and reinforce, which is nearly impossible to do with an in-house IT team.
A managed IT services provider with expertise in long-term care IT understands how hard it can be to keep up with emerging technologies and best practices on your own. They can help standardize employee training and technology expectations in a routine and scalable way across single communities, or multiple locations.
In addition, they can understand your unique business needs and where IT implementations tend to go wrong, so they can help you drive success with continued reinforcement and ongoing education.
Keeping Up with Long-Term Care Quality Care Standards
IT providers with expertise in long-term care technology can use best-fit IT solutions to help improve workforce safety, communication, and productivity.
We’ve served as trusted partners that our healthcare clients can rely on to provide the IT expertise and support they need for success (and keep them compliant along the way).
We use our Framework for Successful IT to build best-fit technology solutions that help skilled nursing communities protect and care for their residents in the best way possible. If you’re looking for help, see what our Complete IT Outsourcing and Managed Services can do for your community.