Last week, we attended yet another fantastic Dorset Care Conference, hosted by Care Management Matters at the Lighthouse in Poole. This time, we were invited to present on the role of digital in modern care delivery.
The fact that so many people joined us in the discussion was testament to the event organisers, but also showed that more and more care providers are considering how technology can help them improve the way they plan, record and report care.
Our care consultant, Luis Rela, shared some useful tips on how to approach the digital transformation process and how change management is key; while Juliana Jeffery from Luxury Care Group talked about her experience of using the Nourish system in her care home and how to overcome challenges.
The floor was obviously open for questions at the end, of which there were many. Here, we’ve shared a few of them.
What is the cost against impact of change?
Understandably, a banker in the audience wanted to know about the return on investment of going digital in care. Luis explained that there are both tangible and intangible benefits, and that care providers should think about the bigger picture when considering investing in a digital care management system:
“The tangible benefits are easier to define, of course. You only need to think about the paper you will no longer need to print, store, archive and shred to understand how those costs can be reduced over time.
“There are then intangible benefits such as time saved by recording notes digitally. Many of our care providers say they save at least one hour per carer each day because they don’t have to spend that time at the end of a shift writing notes and instead, record as they go. For some care organisations, this leads to a cut in the number of staff needed on each shift. However, what we find is that care providers instead maintain staff levels to increase the available one-on-one care for residents.
“In fact, one provider said that this decision led to them achieving an outstanding rating with CQC across three of the homes in the group.”
Juliana added: “There is also less time needed to get new or agency staff up to date with individual care plans and they have the time to get to know and spend time with that resident instead.”
So digital transformation is not primarily about driving costs down but improving the amount and quality of care that can be provided.
How long does it take to fully transition from paper to digital?
We were joined in the room by care providers of varying sizes, and many of them wanted to know how much time it takes to go from paper notes and care plans to digital ones.
Luis said: “Typically, it takes two months and we break down the transfer into stages; starting with daily notes and then care plans. However, this really depends on the size of the care home and whether it’s part of a group. If you take Luxury Care for example, they are still going through the process but that’s because they are doing one care home at a time. It also depends on whether we are developing unique features that work with their service. In one instance, a provider wanted to amend the digital care plan template to mirror that of the paper one, so we would do that first.”
Another member of the audience, who is already using Nourish in their care service, commented: “You could argue that there is never an end date once you are using an electronic care management system because you are always evolving and innovating. Every day we are learning something new and get more confident with the system, so every time we have a new idea, we integrate that into our process.”
What equipment is needed for digital care management and who provides that?
Going digital obviously involves the use of physical handsets and electronic devices and some members of the audience were concerned that the responsibility of purchasing such equipment would be left to them.
As part of the Nourish service, we provide tablets for managers; handheld devices similar to Smart Phones for carers; and secure log-ins to our cloud-based system which can also be accessed from desktop. The number of devices needed will usually be the same amount of people you will have on each shift. The user will keep the device for the full duration of a shift, log out and handover to the carer taking over the next shift. Each member of the care team has their own log in with set permissions that have been pre-agreed and there are also log ins for agency workers.
Luis explained why this is the best way forward for everyone: “Care providers do not need the added pressure of having to find and purchase their own compatible devices and set them up. Because our software is completely adaptable to the care you provide, we get these ready for you prior to your training. We also have a dedicated technical support team on hand to help you with any queries.”
Has there been an impact on communication?
During her part of the presentation, Juliana explained how having a digital care management system in place had made communication between members of the care teams much easier and members of the audience wanted her to expand on that.
“Because it’s as easy as using Facebook and the device is with them all the time, it’s great for communicating important messages between members of the care team,” said Juliana. “Everyone can see and send messages through Nourish and handovers are now seamless. It’s been brilliant for ensuring everyone is informed immediately. For example, we also use this system to make sure we notify everyone of quality assurance audit results, which would otherwise have been left for meetings. Now everyone feels involved.”
Juliana also highlighted the added benefits of using these devices when recording notes: “We have carers who are not confident in writing notes or perhaps English isn’t their first language, so they love the speech dictation feature. As you speak, it records what you say.”
If you have any questions about the role of digital in modern care delivery and would like to find out how your care service can benefit, please give our team a call on 02380 002288.