Digital technology driving greater efficiency for care homes

by Spencer Garner

In care settings introducing digital solutions to replace manual paper-based auditing makes a lot of sense.

Digital processes can remove a potential infection risk, encourage staff to share best practice with colleagues, and empower them to take ownership of quality, removing the ‘them and us’ feeling of being judged.

Rose McNeill, Head of Strategy, at Perfect Ward explores the potential of today’s emerging technology.

Perfect Ward works in care homes

Life is challenging enough for care home staff without the pressures of inspections, especially during a pandemic. Unfortunately, the traditional picture of visiting regional teams or even the care home manager armed with clipboard and pen, is still very much in evidence. It can take weeks or months for the results to come back and when they do, often the frontline staff feel unsympathetically judged.

The care sector is a people business, one where treating staff with the same levels of care and empathy as residents, can boost staff morale and reduce labour churn. Automating the quality process with the latest technology is a quick and effective way to make life easier for staff. There are many additional benefits not apparent at first glance.

Low upfront costs & significant time saved

Mobile apps run on your existing infrastructure, and with the right security in place can even run on people’s own smartphones, so your upfront investment is kept to a minimum. Our own experience tells us that care homes who use apps to remove the paperwork, speed up the auditing process by at least 60%, valuable time that can be released back to resident care and fixing, rather than simply identifying issues.

Delivers you instant access to your data

Democratise the auditing process

Modern apps engage staff and support collaborative working by involving everyone. For example, if auditing Infection Prevention and Control is a top priority, domestic staff are often best placed to identify potential issues and make pragmatic suggestions for improvement because they have an eye for detail. This democratic approach encourages the whole team to own and actively participate in the quality agenda.

Reduce Infection Risk

Adopting technology that removes the need for paper creates a more COVID-secure care environment. The ability to take photos during the inspection and attach to a report means there is less need for external inspection teams, another good COVID measure.

Help staff to realise their full potential

Completing quality audits via a mobile app means there is no delay in getting the data into your system and offers immediate access to up-to-date information. Not only on the standards being met but also any additional key information you wish to share with staff, from the Government or the latest guidelines from the British Geriatric Society. This vital intelligence can help staff to excel at their jobs and make a real difference to resident care.

Freedom for you and your team

Enable continuous learning

Make ‘compliance for compliance sake’ a thing of the past. When staff see the immediate results of using digital technology, auditing is no longer viewed as a tick-box exercise for specific events like CQC visits. Modern technology encourages frontline staff to share knowledge and best-practice learning with colleagues and other care homes, essential to continuous improvement.

Birds-eye view for managers

The best emerging technology is highly tailorable to each care home’s unique requirements. This means that care organisations can run a centralised system with the flexibility to accommodate the audits and reports applicable to each site. With information all in one place, managers gain real-time visibility of quality standards across their care home or even their entire portfolio of homes. Critical quality data provides evidence to make quicker, more informed decisions, focus on key areas for improvement or support the homes that need it most. All without investing in expensive hardware or additional headcount.

Patients are assured of quality care

Faced with the current momentous challenges, care homes can save considerable time by streamlining audit and inspection processes. Mobile apps provide a seamless way to evidence that our most vulnerable members of society are receiving the best possible care and attention by professionals who are motivated, dedicated and proud to serve.

Going digital will enhance staff engagement and team collaboration while delivering the highest levels of care to residents as well as supporting a care home’s greatest asset – its people.