Paper vs electronic: Why aged care providers are making the switch to software

| 11 May 2017
woman holding tablet device

The use of technology in aged care is now commonplace. Providers rely on automated beds and chairs to lift residents, companion robots in the form of beloved pets are given to people with dementia, and software systems are utilised to document clinical and medication information. In part one of our two part special, we look at the benefits of replacing paper based care processes with an effective electronic solution in residential aged care.

Point of care documentation

For residential aged care providers, the ability to enter and monitor clinical data at the point of care via an electronic system brings many advantages. By using a tablet device, staff do not have to return to the nurses’ station at the end of the shift to document clinical data. This process is not only more efficient, it also minimises the likelihood of errors, as staff are not relying on hand written, difficult to read notes. Immediate documentation also ensures staff have not forgotten clinical or medication information, which may occur when notes are entered several hours after their interaction with a resident.

Increased visibility

Documentation and reporting are becoming increasingly important for legislative bodies. It is therefore essential that management have access to clinical data in real time. By entering clinical and care information using a tablet device, staff and management can instantly assess the health of residents, without having to wait until the end of the shift. Visibility is particularly important for aged care providers with multiple facilities, as management can use this information to streamline processes and standardise care. Electronic systems are an essential component in creating transparency, which in turn helps to create a safer, more efficient organisation.

Simpler ACFI management

With government Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) changes coming into effect regularly, utilising an effective software system to maintain funding levels is imperative. Electronic ACFI calculators are designed to save time, eliminate paperwork and maximise opportunities for funding. These calculations are complex and without an electronic system, it is common for human errors or oversights to occur. Using an electronic system also ensures that supporting clinical evidence, such as assessment forms, are automatically linked to an ACFI appraisal, without the need to search manually for hard copy documentation.

Single source of truth

For providers relying on a paper-based system, the process of managing and maintaining resident records can be time-consuming and difficult to standardise. Conversely, an electronic clinical system can simplify the management of resident information by consolidating all details associated with a resident’s care. This provides staff with a single point of data entry, as well as instant, electronic access to resident information.

Benefits for staff

As aged care staff now expect to utilise technological solutions to simplify their roles, providers who operate purely on paper may struggle to recruit new staff. Technology that replaces paperwork – such as software that displays clinical and medication information – can increase job satisfaction and engagement by reducing time consuming administrative tasks and eliminating manual processes. With simplified and automated processes in place, staff can spend less time on arduous paperwork and administrative tasks, and more time on delivering person-centred care.

Keep an eye out for part two of our special on electronic systems as we look at the benefits for community care providers.

Tags: ACFI, aged care, aged care software, ageing, ageing population, assistive technology, dementia, health, iCareHealth software, medication management, mobility, residential aged care, robotics, software, software provider, technology, Telstra Health, Telstra Health - Aged Disability & Community Care, Telstra Health software, workforce development

Sophia Bolden

Communications Coordinator

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Coordinator at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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