Why EHR Adoption is So Important for Long-Term Care
Residents of senior living communities and their families rely on the communities to provide a full spectrum of services, from meal plans to high-quality medical care to a robust activities calendar. This broad range of services makes senior living and long-term care communities complex data ecosystems. Managers need to ensure that all residents are healthy and safe and have access to appropriate services, which is a complicated responsibility.
Long-term care facilities need specialized solutions to manage information so that they can improve their decision-making and better meet resident needs. Collecting and updating resident information is critical for providing the best care to each individual. This data informs every aspect of the resident's needs, including health history, dietary preferences, medication schedules, and assistance with tasks of daily living.
Community managers can improve resident care and satisfaction by adopting electronic health records (EHRs) for comprehensive, streamlined data management and improved health services.
What Are Electronic Health Records?
Electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) are forms of health information technology: core tools for managing resident needs in a senior living community. EHRs, for instance, are digital files that contain all the relevant information about a resident's health history and current care needs.
The data in EHRs includes:
- Discharge instructions
- Laboratory results
- Referrals to specialists
- Treatment plans
- Vaccine records
- Vital signs
These records also contain insurance and billing information to ensure that services are billed correctly.
Complete Information at Staff Fingertips
The adoption of electronic health record systems has a demonstrable positive effect on the quality of care in residential communities. A study from 2020 revealed that EHR implementation led to improved workflow, reduction of medical errors, fewer duplicate tests, and more timely access to resident data.
EHRs are organized to make it as easy as possible for staff to find relevant medical information within the digital chart. The records clearly organized vital information such as medication lists, radiology images, test results, and laboratory results. Data is updated in real-time, with no delays in filing paperwork or separate data entry. Staff can be certain that the information is current, and they don't have to spend time hunting down missing notes or lab results.
Reducing Medication Errors
EHR software tracks prescriptions and dosing changes. It can also integrate with Electronic Medication Administration Records (EMAR) for comprehensive medication tracking and coordination with pharmacies. The comprehensive medication tracking systems can alert providers about potential medication interactions or let them know if a resident has a history of allergies or adverse reactions to a medication.
The use of EHR systems can also reduce medication errors by ensuring pharmacists receive the correct prescription. Staff can easily check dosing information to make sure there are no errors when dispensing meds to residents.
Sharing Across Providers
Many residents in senior living communities rely on outside healthcare providers for certain aspects of their care. Keeping lines of communication between outside providers and on-site clinical staff is critical. When outside providers have access to resident EHRs, they seamlessly transmit new treatment plans or medication changes to community staff. In addition, providers can see notes on health issues that may arise between appointments.
EHRs can be lifesaving in an emergency situation. Communities can instantly share EHR information with EMTs and hospital staff. Providing complete health information allows emergency medical staff to make informed decisions without delay. A study from 2019 shows that emergency departments that use EHRs report fewer medication errors.
Streamlining Financial Processes
EHR software serves as a real-time record of every healthcare service a resident receives. Each appointment or intervention is entered directly into the system, greatly reducing the chance of billable services being overlooked. The data from EHRs can provide comprehensive documentation, which streamlines reimbursement of billed services.
In addition to improving revenue capture, EHRs can contribute to administrative efficiency. Integrating EHRs with billing solutions can lead to reduced staffing costs, lower the risk of human error in billing, and improve workflow.
EHR systems add value that goes beyond simply improving medical outcomes. They can also become powerful marketing tools. Improving resident care improves the reputation of the community among medical professionals, increases resident satisfaction, and leads to more word-of-mouth recommendations.
Managers can leverage goodwill from residents and their families as testimonials on the websites and printed collaterals. In addition, positive comments about the quality of care on social media channels can draw attention from potential residents. A solid reputation for safety, quality medical care, and efficient administrative functions can boost your service's branding and increase your local market share.
Additionally, using a sophisticated EHR solution to share medication information across providers is a draw for medical professionals. The top physicians in your area will be more inclined to partner with your senior living community if the administrative systems, such as EHRs and billing reports, are easy to use. Managers can assure healthcare providers that the community has tools in place to improve collaboration, transmit data expeditiously, and integrate billing needs.
Relationships with top physicians are appealing to prospective residents and their families, thus increasing interest in the community. In addition, physicians who have a strong working relationship with a senior living community are more likely to refer their residents to the community when the need for long-term care arises.
More than Just an EHR: Eldermark
At Eldermark, we have years of experience creating software solutions for senior living support. We have helped our clients with EHR implementation so they can deliver the best care to their residents while also enjoying financial benefits and administrative improvements.
Our EHR system offers interoperability between long-term care facilities and nearby medical practices, physical and occupational therapy providers, hospitals, and a host of other healthcare professionals. The system facilitates the best possible treatment plans and medical care services for residents while ensuring that all providers have access to all the data they need for billing and record-keeping purposes. In addition, Eldermark offers comprehensive training to make your EHR adoption process as easy as possible. Our experienced team is on hand to provide friendly guidance and support, and our online training modules answer many common questions.
If you would like to learn more about EHR adoption, reach out today or sign up for a demo and discover how Eldermark can improve resident care, increase efficiency, and optimize revenue capture.