This blog is the second of our three-part series about digital transformation in long-term care (LTC), focusing on the profound benefits of better user experiences. In this article, we’ll explore the effects that digital transformation and innovative technology can have on LTC facilities and the care that providers can deliver.
For many years, the long-term care (LTC) sector has lagged behind other industries when it comes to digital technology. Research shows that both residents and staff lack access to modern IT, and many feel uncomfortable using it. And this affects the care that your teams can give to patients.
But this is starting to change. We are seeing a wide range of new hardware and software systems used in nursing homes, and an improved UX (user experience) in LTC technology.
So, how will digital transformation in LTC improve the resident experience?
The Power of Data
We are creating more data than ever before, and this can be very useful when it comes to providing your residents with the best care. Data in LTC facilities can cover everything from patient numbers to family visits to medication provided. By collecting and analyzing this data, you can use it to inform your policies and make better decisions.
And thanks to improved UX in LTC technology, your teams don’t need to be data scientists to make sense of this information! With a little training, anyone can read dashboards, generate reports and gain insights.
Example: Imagine a shared medication platform that allowed your frontline care staff to record all medicines your residents take. Being able to access this information digitally could provide multiple benefits – helping you filter the kinds of meds people are taking (oral vs. injection, for instance), spot patterns in medication demand, or manage your inventory in a more efficient way.
Improve Safety With IoT
Using Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as wearables (similar to the popular fitness trackers like Fitbit), LTC providers are now able to monitor patients more closely. Residents have the peace and privacy they desire, but can also be confident that help is at hand if they need it.
Location sensors in healthcare wearables can alert staff if care home residents have entered potentially hazardous areas such as stairwells, for instance, or if a patient with dementia is in danger of leaving the premises and becoming lost and/or at risk. With this kind of tracking, caregivers would only have to be alerted if something is amiss – rather than needing to use constant, active observation. Patients have a greater sense of privacy and independence, and staff can devote more attention to improving the standard of everyday care.
Example: One of the seniors at your facility has a fall in her bathroom and cannot reach the alarm button. However, because she is wearing a connected motion monitoring bracelet, the IoT device records her sudden movement. This sends an alert signal to your staff who can come and investigate.
More Personalized Care
Digital transformation in LTC allows your staff to offer residents much more personalized levels of care. Rather than having to rely on memory and paper files, digital systems allow you to easily access crucial information about your residents.
Digital technologies can support a variety of methods for personalizing care. You could, for example, use a residents’ database which contains all the crucial information about each individual – from their physical health conditions to their medical history to any of their special requests. Such a system could also contain an individual’s care notes.
Example: During the day shift, a resident named Robert has been suffering from discomfort in his back and has been given medication by one of the day staff. However, that employee was in a rush to leave and didn’t have time to speak through each case with the night shift employees.
Robert’s discomfort continues and so the night staff’s first instinct would be to provide additional medication. Fortunately, however, the day staff entered information about the amount of painkillers that Robert was given earlier in the day – and at what time – into a handheld tablet. This information is immediately accessible to the night shift staff and informs their judgment about what to do.
Improved UX in LTC technology means more time for residents
Modern digital technologies allow your staff to record data, file information and manage things like appointments much more efficiently. The improved UX in LTC technology gives them more time in their days to dedicate attention to their residents, get to know them better, and offer a more personal touch.
Example: Care home manager Amy used to spend several hours each week transferring handwritten notes from all her colleagues into a central database about patient care. However, now all of her colleagues record their notes digitally into their smartphones, and this information is pulled directly into a central database. With the extra hours she now has available, Amy can spend more time talking to patients and working with colleagues.
Ready for digital transformation in LTC?
The long-term care sector could benefit in multiple ways from using innovative digital technologies. And thanks to the improved UX in LTC technology, those IT tools are easier to use than ever before.
To find out how you could begin using digital technology at your care home, contact Worksighted today.