The lockdowns and the impact on the care industry during this COVID crisis has meant providers need to look at new ways to minimise transmissions and also increase remote monitoring and the delivering staff training. Technology is one tool that helps providers in these areas, and the regulators who will be restarting visits soon, have also embraced technology in order to improve their efficiency.
Regulators are now expecting care providers to be using innovations to assist with care delivery, but they are not concerned with which platform you decide to use. Their main focus will be related to how your chosen technology helps you to measure quality!
For those of you that have not yet adopted any form of digitisation you may struggle to explain how you can easily track improvements in quality by going through your filing cabinet full of paperwork. Paper has its place but the regulatory expectation has moved from recording information and filing towards recording information, tracking and identifying trends, lessons learnt etc so improvements can be made.
For example, when care plans are recorded on paper it is difficult to quickly monitor the trends in a service user’s goal attainment over time. It can be done but it is a time consuming exercise going through paperwork or searching through word documents.
Using proven research led innovations such as INSPIRE from King’s College London that help services measure the quality of key working are the kind of practices the regulatory bodies will be looking for evidence of. We recently had the pleasure to hear from Professor Mike Slade from INSPIRE explaining how this unique tool, available exclusively on Care Consort, will help providers measure quality on this recent webinar also featuring @Jonathan Cunningham MBE.
Another area that is important to monitor is the quality of training and care delivery in terms of evidencing how competent your staff are. Having easy access to a range of accredited online care courses and having instant access to staff learning plans and competency checks are critical especially in the ‘new normal’ environment in which we operate. Systems with these features allow you to demonstrate how your service is measuring the ability of staff to carry out their roles effectively.
Measuring quality around medication management is always an area that the regulators focus on and if you are already using eMar (or considering it) you need to be aware of the following. Firstly, eMar alone is a good start but most systems do not go further than recording whether or medication is administered electronically.
What you really need is an EMM (electronic medication management) solution which is the next level up from eMar and allows you to measure the quality of your medication management easily through extensive reporting abilities. Good EMM systems also send alerts for late or missed medication, integrate with the pharmacy and send notifications when stock levels are running low.
One very important consideration is whether your chosen EMM system is flexible enough to enable you to adapt to the changing needs of service users. For instance, does it allow you to administer medication that requires vital signs checking before dispensing eg. pulse rates, blood sugar levels or ensuring ‘time critical’ medication is administered correctly.
If your medication solution does not have these EMM features you will have to revert to paper to record medication for some clients and could actually end up running two systems, which will limit your oversight and make it more difficult to measure overall effectiveness. If you are planning to go paperless with medication then you need to ensure the system you choose allows you to be fully paperless!
Finally, it is essential that any digitisation you undertake enables you to choose what aspects of quality you need to measure. Is your care management software flexible enough to enable you to create customisable audits and or get configurable reports, enabling you to choose which aspects of your service you want to have the ‘at a glance’ visibility that you require in order to effectively measure quality.
Please contact me if you would like to know more about how to implement innovations in care that help you to measure quality in your service.
All the best
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