In-home care, technology is often touted for its ability to improve operations and streamline information exchange. But in addition to administrative functions, point-of-care documentation can also be a boon to health care quality and patient safety — as well as the safety of staff members.
Patient safety and quality of care
In-home care, technology has known benefits in the care delivery process, including more efficient data flow, regulatory compliance and reduced administrative functions for staff, to name a few.
Yet some technologies place an even greater importance on patient safety and improving care quality, including very specific safety measures and addressing risks such as patient falls, medication management errors, management of high-risk medication, care transitions and miscommunications among members of the health care team.
“CellTrak integrates risk management elements such as identification, analysis, planning and action along with integration of control and monitoring mechanisms, which can position an agency to reduce several fairly common risks in home-care delivery,” says Cheryl Reid-Haughian, vice president of clinical informatics for international care delivery management platform CellTrak.
With the technology, agencies are also able to address requirements from regulators, such as Conditions of Participation for Medicare-certified home health agencies, and the new Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), which will take effect for home health care agencies on January 1, 2020.
The governing bodies continue to stress the importance of patient safety, while reimbursement programs are increasingly based on patient experience and outcomes. Technology solutions can aid in meeting compliance, as well as elevating the patient experience, by continuing to measure and assess care delivery and outcomes.
“CellTrak integrates best practice assessment scales and measures into assessment processes in its point-of-care documentation,” says Deb Mulholland, CellTrak vice president of care delivery performance. “These scales form the basis for reliable valid measurement that quantify the patient experience related to specific risk measures like falls, pressure ulcers, nutrition, pain, incontinence and cognition.”
Further, when data is available in real time, the response of the care team is based on the most recent information, which leads to better outcomes.
“In the past, the time gap between a patient change occurring and time that a response occurred was lengthy,” Mulholland says. “Now with CellTrak’s solution we are seeing transformation to real time rather than retrospective care and supervision… all members of the health care team have access to both historical information and current patient health information to make the most informed decisions.”
Staff safety and retention
Staff safety and efficiency are continually cited as among the reasons for the high level of turnover in home care. While technology solutions typically focus on patient care and safety, some platforms also provide specific measures geared toward staff.
Remote staff, of which most in-home care staff are, face some unique challenges and hazards related to the nature of traveling from site to site and working in clients’ homes. Risks relating to travel, such as road hazards, weather-related issues and unforeseen natural disasters, are common deterrents. Working in patients’ or care recipients’ homes can present additional hurdles and frustrations, from not being able to enter the home of a patient with mobility challenges to facing unexpected dangers in the home such as dogs or even weapons.
CellTrak supports staff safety by offering GPS, phone access to 911 and immediate access to supervisor assistance — all of which can make an employee feel safe and secure while going about their day-to-day visits. Employees who feel safe and secure may be more likely to stay in a role, versus seeking worth at another agency or in another industry.
Patient safety and staff safety are paramount concerns for in-home care providers, but technology solutions can help address and eliminate those concerns by creating a transparent information exchange, providing access to emergency help, and streamlining care data so that caregivers can make decisions in real time.
September 17 is World Patient Safety Day. To learn more about how CellTrak can improve the safety across your organization and among your care recipients, visit celltrak.com.