Care people on a bench

Paperless homecare

Paperless homecare: boosting efficiency, performance and your culture of care

The demand for homecare is continuing to rise, presenting a huge opportunity for homecare businesses to scale. However, it’s critical to balance your growth plans with the rising pressures to improve team retention, efficiency and long-term business success.

There’s no doubt of the digital future of homecare, as the CQC now embraces paperless systems for homecare businesses to secure ‘outstanding’ ratings. However, making the move to a digital system doesn’t need to be complicated, and it has the potential to unlock many benefits beyond CQC ‘box ticking’.

 

Person-centred care

Homecare businesses nowrecognise the increasing importance of person-centred care, however constraints on time, budget and capacity can make achieving this challenging.

A digital approach to care can ultimately save admin time, as carers are able to quickly get up to speed on previous visits and complete pre-set forms digitally, with real-time uploads to a business reporting system. The time saved allows your carers to focus on their main priority – caring for people – so they’re able to deliver a more personal service to your patients. In turn, this will impact their overall experience with your business, an impact you’ll see on your bottom line.

Digital systems are also able to continually learn from service user preferences, and integrate this with staff rotas, to achieve consistency of care.

 

Minimise mistakes

Paper-based systems can beprone to errors, including medication mistakes or missed visits, as there’s a heavy reliance on interpretation of one another’s handwriting or notes. Should a mistake occur in a paper-based system, it may not be identified for days or weeks, depending on how often paper logs are collected.This lag in updates will delay critical information from reaching the relevant care manager, prolonging essential updates to the service user’s care plan.

A paperless system centralises all patient data to create a complete pool of data in one place. This ultimately takes pressure off carers and system users, so those responsible are given the insight they need to identify missed medication or any issues with visits quickly, so they’re able to make real time changes to care plans. If an incident does arise, carers will also be able to record this immediately to ensure it’s escalated and handled effectively by the right individual.

 

Real-time insights and reporting 

A digital care system will offer complete data transparency, with real-time quality assurance. You’ll be able to have greater control over care quality inspections, allowing easier identification of areas that need improving. It’ll also highlight critical information and performance metrics and notify you of any updates, including when your capacity is maxed out, or any qualifications or certificates that need to be renewed.

 

Save time and improve efficiency

Admin activities, such as typing up daily care notes and filling out care plans, can take up a lot of valuable carer time in a paper-based system – and these almost always have an impact on capacity (carer time)and budgets (eg fuel or transport costs):

  • Care plans – with digital systems, these can be updated remotely by care managers, allowing more frequent and timely updates.
  • Daily care notes or MAR charts – instead of storing these in individual service users’ homes, a paperless system will store these centrally, so the most recent documents can be accessed immediately, from anywhere. Your files will also be backed-up safely, so they won’t be lost or damaged.
  • MAR charts–with a paperless system, you can have greater control over your MAR charts, enabling quick amends with new or updated medications, for example.
  • Staff rotas – digital systems streamline creating, updating and communicating rotas by recommending care rotas based on team capacity, continuity of care, location of visits and service user preferences. Rotas can be updated at any point by care managers – for example when organising cover –and teams are able to immediately see the updated versions.
  • Timesheets – paperless systems are able to keep track of this information in real time, to integrate with payroll and billing processes and save overall admin time for carers or care managers.
  • Care reports – with all your homecare business’ key performance data in one easy-to-understand dashboard, the shift to a digital system can save time when generating and presenting reports to management teams and care regulators.

Identifying potential pockets of capacity

By centralising your homecare data into a digital system, you can highlight any potential ‘pockets of capacity’. For example, when carer time could be preserved by allocating carers that are geographically closer to the service user, minimising travel time and maximising the resources you already have.This can help to cover your care packages more effectively, which is invaluable as your business grows.

 

Team satisfaction

There’s no denying homecare workers are overstretched, so an insight into their capacity, listening to their preferences and submitting feedback is critical for team retention and improving your business’ operation.

Digital systems can help you to implement new initiatives to understand your team’s capacity and productivity, such as the new 4-day care week currently being trialled around the country by some homecare businesses.

 

Going paperless – where to begin?

  1. Understand your existing data – consider:
  • How is service user/care data currently being recorded?
  • How frequently is this updated?
  • Where do you store the documents?
  • What needs to be accessed quickly?
  1. Centralise the data – bring together all your data – including schedules, reports and care plans, with systems that work for your business.
  1. Select the right system– your system shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, your existing processes should seamlessly integrate into it to ease adoption across your business. For example, your eMAR charts should follow the same process as your paper-based MAR charts.
  1. Talk to your teams – train your teams in using this new software and open any conversations on improving things as you move forward. This step is essential to move beyond ‘box ticking’ to meet CQC standards and towards using the system to strengthen your culture of care.

 

Smoothing your paperless journey

Many homecare businesses will see a resistance to change from carers who are used to working a particular way. This is normal – it’s second nature to stick to a familiar system.

This explains why your digital system needs to be tailored to existing processes, so your carers don’t have to relearn how to do their jobs, they just need to record things in a different way to support you as you improve your quality of care.

If you’d like a five-minute conversation on how a paperless system could boost efficiency in your homecare business, get in touch or call 01254 819 200.

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