I have been writing about the advantages of implementing mobile technology in the community care setting since 2009. With proven positive outcomes for care and safety it amazes me that organizations are still struggling with setting this as a priority.
An aging population, an increasing number of patients with chronic conditions, and a shortage of skilled nurses all create challenges for home care organizations. It comes as no surprise that technology has an increasing role to play in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of care. Mobile or point of-care solutions in particular have come to the fore as they improve the safety, quality of services and flow of documentation by putting technology in the hands of home care workers.
Traditionally, point-of-care was defined as care provided at “the client’s bedside,” and the available technology focused on the tools utilized to collect various tests. As the complexity of care increased, the focus changed to providing home care workers with technology that provides documentation and decision support tools. The overall result of well-thought-out, well-executed mobile solutions will be to further enhance the client-caregiver relationship, as well as the flow of data throughout the care cycle, providing additional operational efficiencies for the organization.
Mobile solutions, as a tool, supplement the services provided and should enable home care workers to provide the hands on care and the human touch that the client expects and deserves. The solutions should be driven by home care workers and need to accommodate and enhance their typical workflow.
Providing home care workers with daily schedules and access to the Electronic Health Record (EHR) anywhere allows them to view client information where it is most important – at their client’s side. This enhances their effectiveness in providing safe, appropriate, quality care and reduces the time later spent on data entry.
Mobile solutions also offer important safety alerts and GPS tracking to ensure client visits are delivered as planned and workers are safely moving from client to client, an important feature of mobile workforce management and home health.
— Part two will address the when, how and what to consider.
About the Author: Susan Gains is the Regional Vice President for Procura Canada. She has over 25 years of information technology training, consultation, customer service, retail and financial management. She has worked with Procura since 2001 and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her assessment of the tools necessary to meet the requirements of home and community health. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.