Excellent care for the elderly, whether it be in a home health, assisted living, long-term or hospice setting, can be achieved through strong communication, information gathering and streamlined medication capabilities.
Many medical solution providers offer the functionality necessary to provide this level of care—these options give you a wide variety of choices, but finding the best system to fit your specific needs can be a challenge.
This buyer's guide is designed to help with that search, and will cover features, benefits and trends you should keep in mind while considering software.
Here's what we'll cover:
Geriatric software is any solution designed to assist long-term or post-acute, home health or hospice senior care professionals. These systems may be used in senior assisted-living communities, rehabilitation centers, home health or skilled nursing settings.
A patient encounter screen in NueMD allows easy data entry
Similar to other medical software, geriatric software helps doctors, nurses and staff members manage clinical tasks and automate billing, scheduling of patients, tracking patient records, storing documents and prescribing medication.
The following functional areas contain several individual features to assist geriatric care professionals.
Practice management functionality within geriatric care software can include:
|Medical billing||Automates medical billing and verifies insurance coverage in real time.|
|Integration with EHR||Enables a connection with an existing electronic health records system to provide enhanced record management.|
|Code sets||Facilitates the use of universal medical codes, such as Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), Common Procedure Coding (CPT) system and International Classification of Diseases (ICD).|
|Patient scheduling||Users can create color-coded schedules for patients with details about the time, date, location, patient history and needs and the health care provider.|
Electronic medical records (EMR) systems function as the centralized location for patients' medical histories, storing important documents and images. This may also be referred to as electronic health records (EHR)—these terms are often used interchangeably.
E-prescribing features in geriatric software may include:
|Medication selection||Allows the prescriber to choose from multiple options, such as name brands or generic versions, when using the system to search for medications.|
|Prescription creation||Users can create prescriptions directly from the system and send them to the pharmacy, often using order management tools to group prescriptions together and ensure pharmacies receive them.|
|Refill requests||Users can send refill requests to health care providers, who can approve them through the system.|
Successful implementation and training around a geriatric care solution can result in the following benefits:
Easier, quicker access to patient records and documents. With a repository of important documents in the EMR system, nurses and doctors can focus on long-term care of geriatric patients in their rehab centers, hospices or nursing homes instead of searching for paper documents.
Integration makes data sharing simpler. A primary benefit of any integrated software solution is the ease of moving data among users, avoiding time-consuming tasks of exporting or printing documents. Integration also allows the data to be utilized in various functional areas of the system—for example, billing records can easily be analyzed to generate reports.
Faster insurance reimbursement and collections. Using the EMR in geriatric software, practitioners can produce the appropriate claim documents necessary for working with insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.
Overall streamlined operations management. Automation in any industry makes daily tasks easier and quicker, and geriatric software is no different. In addition to the efficiencies mentioned above, the process of making notes during patient visits allows doctors and nurses to use codes to document the encounter more accurately.
Two main methods are commonly used to deploy medical, or most other, types of software: on-premise or cloud-based, also known as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Each have pros and cons that long-term care providers should evaluate before investing in a solution:
On-premise deployment refers to software that is installed on computers locally within a medical office. This traditional deployment model gives users direct access to the system without the need for an online connection.
An on-premise deployment stores documents and images on the practice's own systems and any upgrades to the software must be done there as well. While the upfront cost for on-premise software is generally higher than cloud-based, the ongoing costs tend to be lower.
Cloud-based or SaaS deployment is the more commonly implemented type of software available today. In a cloud-based implementation, the system is accessed through a browser and no software is installed on local machines.
This offers a couple key advantages:
It's also important to consider that cloud-based deployments usually require a smaller upfront cost, but may include additional maintenance or upgrade costs in the future.
Mobile devices add significant efficiency. Smartphones and tablets are used in several industries today, and medical software vendors are making mobile support a common feature.
These devices add significant value to the geriatric health care setting by freeing doctors and nurses from their desktop computer to consult with residents and patients wherever they are using a tablet in the facility, while maintaining the same capabilities of the full system.
Baby boomers are your newest patients. According to the AARP, 2.5 million baby boomers turned 70 in 2016, and on average, these seniors can still expect about 15 more years of life. And while medical advances will keep them healthier at this age than ever, risks such as Alzheimer's become a more likely condition as they grow older.
This new influx of patients will test the efficiency of geriatric care professionals, but new health care solutions are streamlining daily tasks to enable better care. Finding the best system for your practice can make all the difference.
Elderly care providers' hiring challenge. As a new group of elders reach the age where they need more intensive health care, industry leaders are struggling to meet the demand with enough qualified nurses and home health aides.
In addition, turnover rates of health care employees were about 20 to 25 percent on average. One aspect of the job that shouldn't be frustrating is entering patient information into an EMR or retrieving documents—modern software vendors work hard to offer a user-friendly experience so each task is simplified.
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