Why You Need IT Support for Your Long-Term Care Facility
Technology plays a crucial role in the lives of older individuals, especially those in need of long-term care. It can improve efficiency in service and care delivery while enhancing the quality of care for improved quality of life. Statistics show that there are approximately 2 million older Americans living in long-term care facilities.
While they represent a minority of older persons, they make up a group of interest for technological solutions development for various reasons. To begin with, almost all persons in residential long-term care facilities have physical or cognitive limitations. As such, technology development aimed at improving long-term residential care can go a long way in reaching a larger population of older people with special needs.
Challenges in Care Delivery for the Older Persons
Unfortunately, the LTC industry faces unprecedented challenges in addressing resident acuity while providing care in daily activities. The nationwide shortage of nurses calls for a new approach in care delivery, and there could be no better time to embrace technology solutions than now. Low wages for nursing assistant positions have also been a driving factor for the shortage of nurses.
Secondly, the societal and financial costs associated with caring for senior citizens are hefty and bound to increase in the coming years. Specifically, the number of older people in need of care will increase due to the aging of the baby boom generation. The forecast is that about 13 million more senior citizens will require residential long-term care by 2050.
The Role of Technology in Long-Term Care
Given the above challenges facing the long-term care industry, there is a heightened need for more attention to technological innovation. For many people, the availability of technology in a long-term care facility is crucial when deciding where to stay.
In addition to helping you provide better care to your clients, technological solutions also play a role in:
- Helping you attract tech-savvy residents
- Decreasing employee turnover
- Maintaining financial viability
- Keeping up with regulatory compliance
- Surviving the competition
- Reducing liability given the shortage of nursing staff
It’s undeniable that the current society is rapidly advancing in technology. Private initiatives like the Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST), universities, and government agencies like the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) have all invested in various technologies to support older adults. Long-term care communities must also do the same to remain competitive.
Technology Solutions for the Long-Term Care Industry
The most common technological solutions featured in long-term care facilities include:
- EMR/EHR Software: LTC Electronic Medical Records software differs from the one used in hospitals and physician’s offices. EMRs made for acute and ambulatory care have different functionalities from those for LTC applications and may not easily convert to long-term care use. EMR for LTC purposes should be specifically designed for that setting.
- Microsoft Office 365: this is a suite of subscription products like Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, Access Publisher, and Outlook. It offers various helpful functionalities for the LTC community like secure real-time messaging and communication through Microsoft Teams. The solution also comes with the Care Coordination solution for a secure synchronization hub in real-time. Besides, LTC facilities can visualize impactful best practices and identify patient issues across the organization through the Health Team Huddle.
- Hosted email: services like Hotmail and G-Mail don’t provide sufficient security and are not well configured for sending Protected Health Information. Hosted email services come as the better solution to the safe storage of emails. Even if your LTC facility closes down for some reason, your emails and store messages remain safe and are accessible from anywhere if you have an internet connection.
- Near Field Communications (NFC): this is a short-range wireless communication technology for enhanced convenience in exchanging digital content and connection of electronic devices in the healthcare industry. The technology can potentially revolutionize healthcare delivery in LTC facilities.
- Activity Sensors and Biosensors: they come in handy to monitor the residents’ overall health and wellness risks. They include technologies that support daily life activities, enrich the quality of life, enhance communication, address safety, and promote a sense of control and dignity.
- Intuitive Computers: touchscreens and graphic-user interfaces can be helpful for staff and residents alike. For the frontline staff, the technologies can help them to efficiently complete their duties, including voice-activated data entry and electronic documentation. Residents can stay connect with memory-boosting activities, internet browsing, and social networking.
Unfortunately, most LTC facilities experience several barriers in implementing these technological solutions, including:
- Lack of adequate information about technologies best suited for the residential long-term care market
- A generally perceived lack of financial ability to purchase or set up long-term care technologies
- Outdated regulations that hamper the implementation of technological advances
- The LTC industry lacks standards for technologies crucial to residential care
- Lack of knowledge and experience by providers to implement and manage technological change
Fortunately, professional IT support services come in handy to help you overcome these challenges and make the implementation process seamless.
The Role of IT Support in Implementing Technology Solutions in LTC
Although a technology solution in itself, managed IT service providers guide you along the right path when embracing solutions for your LTC facility. Working closely with a managed IT service provider compares to referring your residents and patients to specialists for closer evaluations and healthcare solutions.
Your IT network requires specialized care and procedures to ensure you have the right solutions in place, and they are working as they should. Managed service providers (MSPs) offer a lot more than just evaluating your systems, processes, and procedures. Other services include:
- Setting up industry-standards software and operating systems
- Ensuring you utilize business-class text messaging and email
- Ensuring your networks and systems remain HIPAA-compliant
- Setting up business-grade firewalls and other security solutions
- Performing risk analysis to help your facility remain eligible for the highest Medicare Reimbursement Rates
- Encrypting your data and files for additional security
- Employee security awareness training
- 24/7 desk help services and support to ensure your technology solutions work well to keep your business running as it should
The IT support company you choose should also provide you with a signed Business Associate Agreement, a requirement for HIPAA compliance. Remember that as your LTC facility continues to access evolving technology solutions, IT support is crucial to help you keep up with security, reliability, and compliance. This way, you will also witness an improvement in your residents’ health outcomes.
Veltec Networks: IT Support For Long Term Healthcare
Finding a reliable IT support company to help you achieve all this can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. At Veltec Networks, we provide IT support services to retirement and long-term care facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact us today for a free initial consultation session on IT support and services for your LTC facility.