For quite some time, a close relative worked as the admissions and marketing director for a prominent rehabilitation hospital for seniors in the Capital area. The hospital was one of many parts of the continuum of resources that help ensure health, community, care, and housing for the elderly in the region. During her time there, she learned the intricacies of client admissions and financial obligations; varying scenarios of healthcare and “assisted living” requirements; and so much more. She gives a lot of credit to the sons and daughters of parents who are thrust into the often distressing process of moving a loved one to a new home with the support and care they need — often unexpectedly.
Part of that challenge arises from typically very-involved admissions processes. Documents are required from the family and a range of third parties, related to health and financial data. Adding to the complexity is the involvement of paperwork and processes related to government programs including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security Disability.
The end result was that each patient or resident had a rapidly filling folder with an amalgam of paperwork coupled with sometimes entrenched workflows. For example, a clinician filled out the goldenrod questionnaire and the social worker filled out the “pink sheet” as they came to be known over the years, and so on, and so forth. Once a client is admitted, as potentially-auditable records of care subject, the files for each patient grow and grow with inputs from across departments.
Making sense of this array of sometimes dis-contiguous records can be daunting for a senior housing facility to manage on their own. For independent living, assisted living, dementia care, Alzheimer’s facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, and newer, continuum of care facilities, each has unique document management challenges. Unfortunately, for many, most if not all of a client’s record is still managed with paper documents.
Tom Bourke, Image Data CEO and co-founder, talks about how he helps senior housing facilities, “We have discovered that paper-based document management can affect productivity and cost-efficiencies at senior housing sites by 5-8%. Think about it, over the course of a year, is an administration spending upwards of a month’s equivalent of time creating, storing, retrieving, copying, and updating paper records, or compensating for a poorly coordinated combination of paper and electronic? And, are costs compounded by third party vendors for off-site paper records management?”
Bourke offers a different view: “There is a solution that can drastically improve the efficiency, accuracy and effectiveness of how files for both clients and operations/administration are handled. Today’s document management solutions transform access to existing records and make it easier than ever to integrate them with related records that are constantly-created — both paper and electronic — from various parts of an organization in real time. Browser-based access means there is no need for special software. Browser-based access means administrators can access records on the go via smartphone, iPad, or tablet.”
As the pressure mounts to be more cost-effective, it pays to have a solution in place that ensures no delays in billing or care arise from a lost or misdirected document. And, at audit time, having an online resource for all essential documents that is searchable and indexed helps you provide answers more quickly and easily.
And for members of clients’ families, the more organized approach makes a positive impression — whether it is in a prompt response to an email from a client’s daughter with a PDF of a needed document, or in an easier, better organized admissions process (when compared to a competing site) . They can feel confident they’re entrusting a loved one to an organization that is committed to operating efficiently so that the focus remains on care.