By Mike Holihan, MediSked, Guest Blogger
As many provider agencies adopt cloud based software solutions to manage their records, let’s examine the benefits to the people who are receiving the care and service provided to them by these agencies. How does a hosted software solution (aka cloud based; meaning it is accessed through the internet) help organizations like chapters of The Arc provide the highest quality of care to the individuals we serve? Can the cloud make the lives of people better? We believe it can. Below is a list of examples of how cloud based software for providers can give crucial support staff access to information instantly, wherever they are. The cloud takes records out the filing cabinets or binders and puts them at the point of care where they belong. Let’s look at some examples.
- Time searching for records: With a cloud based solution, client records are centralized and new information regarding them continually gets added to the same spot. So you always know where to look for any type of information on an individual. Think about how agencies traditionally store information today. How long would it take a provider to find out a client’s Medicaid # or emergency contact? Sometimes access to client records is urgent and time searching for that information in a paper storage system could be crucial. Time searching for records is a big improvement when you move to the cloud.
- Special instructions: Special instructions are a lot more valuable when they’re at your fingertips. Whether it’s enhanced protective oversight or allergies, when a provider organization’s staff sees them right away, they can avoid negligence and improper care. So let’s say direct care staff is on a picnic or at the park with the people they serve and someone gets stung by a bee. The employee could pull out their smartphone and access the client record to see if they have a bee sting allergy. If they do, there could be instructions on what to do or the employee can react quicker in calling for medical care. If they see that they don’t have an allergy, they can react in a more appropriate manner. It’s all about giving staff access to information that will help them make better decisions in case of an emergency.
- Medication administration: Rather than waiting until the end of the week to find out if a medication has been missed or administered in error, the cloud allows for real-time records. The cloud allows an agency to become more proactive instead of being reactive. This is the benefit of “real-time” records. Real time refers the ability to see when changes are made to a record as soon as an employee makes them in the system. Because the system is accessed through the internet or cloud, real time records give the provider, much more power in helping provide better quality of care because you can manage things that are happening as they are happening. As opposed to be reactive and trying to correct or fix something long after the fact.
- Improved communications: Providers can talk to each other in real-time to inform other staff of any issues or concerns, rather than allowing those issues to grow. A good example is, change in health, behavior, demographics, or natural supports being circulated immediately. Think about how agencies traditionally work. Departments are siloed, meaning that one department rarely talks to another department. The cloud breaks down department walls and allows better communication around what’s really important, an individual’s care.
- Improved outcomes: When data is available immediately, it can be used for trending and making better clinical decisions. When it exists only in a notebook, it is never charted or tracked. A good example: seizures, weight, behaviors, falls, choking, blood glucose, and more. If ignored, these predictive variables could be missed and an individual could end up in the hospital, where they are more likely to contract other illnesses. Again it’s about being proactive and the cloud allows that to happen!
For more information on how the cloud helps chapters of The Arc improve the quality of care, get a free e-report.