Why Aged Care Software Integration is so Important
I feel that terms such as integration and best practice fall victim to being part of a collection of over used business jargon. Unfortunately, when terms like this are thrown around too much we can become numb to instances of legitimate use.
Hopefully that hasn’t happened to a level that has you ignoring the importance of aged care software integration, because doing so can have significant impacts. Let me explain why.
Unconnected, separate, and segregated
To help me highlight the deficiency of not using truly integrated solutions, I conducted a Google search for the antonym for integrated. The results included words like unconnected, separate, and segregated. Modern business is not synonymous with any of these terms.
If you’re using software platforms that are by definition an antonym for integrated, then terms such as frustrating, time consuming, manual, and duplication, are also likely to be relevant.
The benefits of aged care software integration
If you read my blog last week about why your software should comply with aged care legislation, you know my position on the importance of software for organisational growth.
A recent survey by Epicor and MORAR Consulting indicates that 45% of business leaders worry that as a result of growth, they might take on large or complex projects that they lack the technology and skillset to deliver effectively.
Without the right people, operating with the right technology, you are unlikely to reach your full potential. For example, if your operating environment requires the use of of duplicated systems, the pressure on internal resources to keep up with information management tasks can be stressful. In the cut and thrust of a busy environment, data entry can be seen as a lower priority task and be left for completion in a time frame which lends itself to errors. When this occurs, a lack of trust in data integrity is the likely outcome. This can stifle the development of valuable business intelligence.
Even if your organisation manages to experience growth in such an environment, these problems aren’t likely to decrease, or go away. They are likely to increase as your processes, staff, customers, and operations do, limiting your ability to generate the optimum value from such growth.
Disconnected aged care software systems have a number of direct and indirect impacts on your organisation that need to be explored and understood. Doing so can help in quantifying the cost of ownership of the operating environment, so you can more effectively weigh up the benefits of migrating to a truly integrated, single solution.
By way of an example into what you could expect from integrated aged care software, here is the functionality we provide in the Epicor SLS:
- Resident Management
- Performance Management
- Project Management
- Billing, Funding, and Claiming
- Financial Management
- Facilities Management
- Workforce Management
Operating with a centralised system that includes this type of functionality can really open the door for growth.
For one, you can save time on duplicated administrative efforts, managing and supporting multiple systems, staff training, and reporting. The time you save can be spent on more strategic tasks, and if you have confidence in your system, your attitude towards planning is likely to change for the better as well.
Your aged care software should also extend beyond providing integration for your internal departments and business functions. It should also allow for you to integrate with third-party clinical care solutions.
For example, when recording incidents, observations, and progress notes on a client in your aged care software, you could generate significant benefits from being able to use this data in your care plans and then export the data to a third-party clinical care system for charting.
There are likely to be a number of arduous, inefficient practices you are undertaking right now that can be streamlined if you had the right platform.
Making the change
If your resistance to change is due to the perceived complexity or cost, then as we have discussed above, you should truly weigh up the cost and complexity of not making the change.
I am not trying to be dismissive of the magnitude of such a decision–quite the opposite. It really is a significant choice to make as the impacts in both cases, to change or not to change, can be immense–so you have to be diligent.
While you are likely to know your business better than those on the outside, you should still look for opportunities to learn from others that have made a similar shift. Therefore, speak to other aged care organisations, search for case studies, and consult with your current software vendors and others in the marketplace. You may be surprised to find how many other organisations have shared similar challenges to you and are willing to provide valuable insights into their experiences.
Finally, remember that integration should not be confined to a few small functions, it should be far reaching and generate numerous cumulative benefits that save time and improve the user experience.
Operating in this manner helps enhance the valuable combination of people and technology working together assisting you in achieving the growth you are looking for.
Posted by Lee Robbins, Senior Product Manager, Senior Living Solutions, Epicor Software