As a previous care home manager, our Head of Customer Experience, Dan, knows first-hand what impact electronic care planning has on care and the teams who provide it. We asked Dan to give us his thoughts on something we get asked a lot – is electronic really that much quicker than paper?
We all know care is a very busy world to work in.
Visitors, GP’s, hairdressers, chiropodists, maintenance operatives, CQC can be around at any time of the day. Then we think about all of the support we provide throughout the day, how things rarely go according to plan and the notes that we need to record to show what care we’ve been providing.
Often teams are so busy that all of their notes are ‘remembered’ until the end of the shift – a full days notes for a range of different people with varying degrees of support. We see at Nourish that the average provider completes 600 records per day – 600. That is an awful lot of information to be remembered and it’s no wonder that people can quickly forget to write something down.
How many times have you had the following situations in your service:
Electronic platforms help us to tackle all of that.
With platforms like Nourish that can be used on mobile devices, care records can be recorded at the point of care. Recording as something happens means that what we record is more accurate, live and always available to the rest of the team. This not only helps to make sure everyone is informed throughout the day, but it ensures that important tasks or targets are not missed.
It also means that records take less time. With dropdown options, checkboxes, pre-determined fields and free text, carers can record a lot more detail in a lot less time.
Also, for staff members where written records can be difficult to complete, they can take advantage of the speech-to-text option. This allows you to speak into the device and have your notes typed out in text for you.
Interestingly, recent research from Standford University found that speech-to-text is three times as fast as texting, and even more so than writing. The study found the following average words per minute:
What previously might have been recorded as “All ok” or “joined in with…”, soon becomes a more natural in-depth report of conversations, enjoyment and participation; all in a lot less time than they could achieve on paper.
Another way electronic care planning can save you time is in assessments. Scored assessments in particular are a great tool, but there is a lot of room for error when they become complicated, you have to complete calculations and you’re trying to do all of that at speed.
Electronically, these scored assessments can be created to automatically calculate for you. You simply have to put in the answers and the score will self-generate. Not only is that quicker for you, but it also reduces the chances of errors in your records.
One assessment that we find can be significantly faster to complete is the MUST (weight records). The self-calculating MUST assessment can work out the BMI, percentage weight loss and create a score using historical records, whilst pulling that information straight into a graph for you to see. Alone, that’s a saving of at least five minutes per assessment. Combine that with other assessments and those saved minutes soon start to add up.
The ability to personalise forms can also really cut down the time taken to complete. With paper, all options need to be present for the team to be able to fill in, whether they are relevant to the person or not. With the ability to remove non-applicable questions, we can speed up form completion by around 30%.
Without a doubt, the area where electronic recording really results in time being saved is during audits, reviews and inspections.
All of your information is recorded in one place and can be pulled at the touch of a button. Regardless of whether that’s information for what happened yesterday or three years ago, that information is easily recorded and quickly retrieved should you need it.
Ffion Roberts from Jewish Care noted herself in a recent webinar: “It’s only when you get your first complaint or investigation and you need to find historical information that you realise what would’ve taken me all day now takes me only ten minutes to locate. And it’s only taken as long as that because it was my first time”
Having all of your information accessible at all times, recorded accurately and stored in the correct location saves you invaluable time. We know from experience that care providers look back on their days of paper and can’t quite believe how much time they spent looking for information and preparing for inspections.
Another time-saving aspect of electronic records is if you manage more than one care location, and need the visibility of information across services. Without even accounting for the time-saved not having to travel to each service, being able to group together key records across services (i.e. accident records for group analysis) means that you quickly and simply see the information you need to submit provider information returns and complete audits.
Head office and management can have instant access to the type of information they need to see, without any extra time or effort from other members of the team. Quicker access, but also more efficient and sustainable.
So, answering the question of whether electronic is really quicker than paper? It absolutely is.
However, as you’ve no doubt picked up by now, it’s also about a lot more than just speed of recording. It’s having all of your information in one place, ensuring your whole team has the information they need to provide the care they’re giving and allowing you to be prepared and ready for any audits or inspections.
Now working with over 500 care providers across the UK, we’ve been lucky to meet with so many fantastic organisations that are looking to go electronic with their care management.
Coming into 2019, we know that many more organisations are looking to make the same change, particularly with the latest NHS Long Term Plan’s focus on a better, more connected relationship with social care through the use of integrated technology. We thought we’d share with you the answers to the 5 top questions we’re asked as an digital care management provider:
Nourish was designed to be simple to learn.
When the development process started at Nourish, we made the conscious decision of giving extra weight to the design behind the solution rather than purely thinking of adding features. The thought behind this was simple but essential: if a system is too complex, it’ll demand too much time, cause frustration in the user and ultimately, not be used.
Our care management system was created to be used by the frontline care team – which is why we created the innovative concept of the Nourish Timeline. This is a daily log of care interactions for each person you support, which allows you to have better visibility over what care is being provided, what care needs an individual has and how they would like to be supported.
A very important aspect of this user focus has to do with the connection between care plans and the timeline. Instead of purely converting paper data to digital, Nourish links the relevant care plan information according to the care interaction; this means that care plans can be accessed at the point of care.
For example, you can learn an individual’s likes, dislikes and outcome plans for their nutrition when providing breakfast. Or an agency staff member can read someone’s shared personal biography before they start caring for them; not only allowing for a richer social experience but also ensuring they provide care in line with the individual’s preferences.
Frontline Care Teams are trained to use the timelines in small group sessions, which typically last up to an hour. This allows time for people to learn the 3-step process of using the timeline, understand where they can find important information and have a ‘test play’ to start building confidence. The basic, 3-step process of the timeline can be taught in 10-minutes for agency staff who are simply coming in to use the timeline for the day and record information. This ensures that there is minimal disruption to a busy care service day.
As with all new technology, confidence develops over time from consistent use. Recording care information electronically at the point of care becomes a natural aspect of the carer’s workload and they are supported with better access to important care information; notes are recorded to inform better care, rather than simply to be compliant.
“It’s better than sitting down with paperwork. I thought it would be hard, but it’s like using your own phone,” “It’s very easy. You find all the information that you want, it’s there. Now we have time to talk to residents” – comments from a recent CQC report.
When presenting Nourish for the first time, training and the implementation process can be a key concern. Understandably, this is mostly because moving to an electronic system is a considerable change in an often otherwise paper-based environment. There is also concern regarding staff who may have little to no experience with digital technology – which is considered and prioritised in our training process.
The implementation process usually takes two months and goes as follows:
Firstly, you as the care provider decide whether you would like to use our standardised templates, which have been built specifically for different types of care, or whether you would like to continue with your current documents and templates.
Should you choose to use your own, we will ask that you send us blank copies of all of your documentation – forms, assessments, care plans – and we will build these into the platform so they’re ready to use on day one.
Secondly, is training for you and your team. We break down our training into two separate sections; the timeline training and the care plan training.
Timeline training comes first and this is where you get 80% of the return for 20% of the effort. In small group sessions, we teach your team how to use and get the most from the timelines, where you will record your daily notes.
Care plan training takes place four to six weeks later, to provide you with the opportunity to familiarise and gain confidence in using the timelines and ask any questions that arise. The care plan training is a more in-depth training that is provided to key members of your team who will be involved in care plan writing and reviews and the administration and upkeep of the system.
From this point onwards you will be able to fully switch to digital, should that suit your service. Some care providers choose to gradually move from paper to digital and we are happy to support whichever approach you choose.
We continuously monitor your usage of the system remotely to keep an eye on progress, but also to ensure you’re using the system to the best of its ability. We are always releasing new client-led developments and we want to make sure you’re aware of, and using, these new features.
You’ll have ongoing access to our awesome support team and you can drop us a message on the Nourish Support at any time, should you have any questions. We focus on continuous improvement, to stay fresh and dynamic, so we believe that going digital is not the end goal, but an ongoing process for which we are here to support.
The time it takes to move information can vary greatly depending on a number of different factors. For instance, the amount of information you choose to move over, how far back you move information over and who you assign to be involved in the transition.
We have worked with a number of care organisations who approach this is in different ways, so we would be more than happy to discuss the different options with you, to find the approach that suits your environment best.
The simple answer is that we offer both.
One of our key focus points is the ability to be flexible and customisable. No individuals or care providers are the same and that means our software needs to be able to support a variety of different ways of working.
We can and do offer templates based on best practice, past research and experience and direction from industry consultants. These can support care organisations who are looking for a starting template or a standard template they can build on.
On the other side, care providers can build their own templates and care plan structures into Nourish – from the beginning, it has been designed to support how you already work, rather than forcing you to work in a different way.
Whichever approach you take, Nourish still offers in-depth granularity on individualising the recording of care. For example, you can personalise at group level (e.g. policies and procedures), at service or home level (e.g. a community service within a group of care homes), at the individual level (e.g. unique care plan format for someone in palliative care), daily level (e.g. Maggie prefers to only have showers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), and even interaction level (e.g. each resident can have the interaction ‘Breakfast’, but Frank prefers his toast with extra butter).
There is a reason CQC doesn’t enforce specific templates, but rather focuses on the KLOE approach; care needs to be evidenced and documented, but it also needs to be unique to each organisation, the type of care they provide and the person they’re caring for. We work hard to make sure that can all be supported.
As a data handler of important, personal and medical records, our security has always been a critical focus. We have been registered with the ICO since 2014 and are fully GDPR compliant. All of our servers, including backups, are physically located in the UK and your data is encrypted both in transit and at rest in our AWS data servers. In 2018, we also received the Cyber Essentials accreditation.
One of the main advantages of going digital is the instant access to all of your data, simultaneously by different users. At the device level, we use Device Management to manage remote access for different roles. We also have access permissions which allows you as a care organisation to control who has access to what information. Through the Device Management System, we are able to geolocate individual devices, lock down handsets and remotely control and update them.
The care providers we work with understand that first and foremost we’re not a ‘tech’ company, but rather a company that understands how technology can be used to enhance the provision of care teams and empower care teams with better access to information, better use of information and less time on paperwork.
Our key differentiator lies in three areas: adaptability, ease-of-use and exceptional ongoing support.
As above, Nourish was designed to be flexible to how different people work. Each care provider we work with approaches their care records slightly differently, and we ensure we facilitate that. Whether that be different uses of terminology, different forms, assessments or specific care plan structures; all of these can be created in Nourish to reflect how your team or organisation works.
By focusing on user experience and design, we have created a system that is simple to use – but still has the incredible complexity and intelligence it needs to work in such a diverse sector. We strongly believe that technology should be enjoyable to use – we want care teams to want to use Nourish, so that they record better, more rich information and this leads to a better experience of care for the individual. We focus on electronic care planning and care recording and we’re experts in what we do – everything is done in house, from design to development all the way to training and support, so we always have the expertise on hand to answer questions or resolve new challenges.
We truly pride ourselves on our ongoing support and you really don’t have to take our word for it – check out some of the incredible feedback our support team had at the end of last year. Our approach to support is: “To provide our clients with a consistently premium experience. We want our clients to enjoy talking with us and to feel that their issue has been respected, acknowledged and dealt with promptly. At all times, we have to be patient, understanding and explain in as much detail as is needed.”
I hope these answers are helpful to you in making the decision to move to electronic care planning and if you have any other questions, book a personalised demo with our team today.
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At Nourish we’ve always been about developing better ways to care and empowering people who care, so they can provide the best outcomes possible. We believe that one of the fundamental ways that care providers can improve the way that they provide care is by adopting an electronic care planning system. We know that this can sometimes be a huge shift in established behaviours and ways of working, so we’ve put together our top ten reasons why we believe adopting an electronic system will help in your care setting.
What this means is that whenever you enter information, care records or notes into an electronic care management system its securely backed up to servers on the cloud. Although this does require an active internet connection to achieve, this can be done easily through most handheld devices or computers, automatically – without you having to worry.
By entering your care notes digitally, you’ll be able to make use of a whole host of different methods to speed your recording, such as voice to text and automatic time stamps – always helpful in evidencing the care you’ve provided.
Because all care notes and records are able to be accessed by those who need them, you are able to provide more effective handovers between staff & shifts. Gone are the days where the night shift would be unaware of every aspect of a person’s daily care notes. Care planning systems like Nourish give your staff access to the right information, no matter their shift pattern.
Because you’re entering information in an electronic format, some care management platforms are able to automatically calculate a person’s MUST score as soon as they have the required data saving you time and enabling more one-to-one care for the people in your charge.
Most electronic care planning systems don’t automatically empower person-centred care; however, Nourish is unique as its built from the ground up to put the person in care at the heart of their care management.
When you’re managing care provision you need to immediately be aware of what is happening in your care settings as a whole. By offering a suite of different reports and overviews electronic care management systems like Nourish are able to help care managers and senior care staff instantly gain an overview of the care provided and help identify changes, which need to be made.
Nourish provides an instant messaging function to users of the system, this allows care team members to immediately communicate as long as they’re with their handheld device.
Overall the features that are available from electronic care planning systems like Nourish are there to help empower your care team to provide more effective care. All of the designs, inputs and reporting are structured in such a way to provide your care teams with the information they need, when they need it.
My care team are always aware of the issues that are currently at hand. By having all devices setup to receive warnings when certain tasks aren’t completed we are able to prioritise actions and work more effectively.
We’ve designed Nourish from the ground up to support those who provide and receive care. At the touch of a button you can bring up a person’s full care record enabling carers to provide truly person-centred and positive care, with the most minimal amount of administration.
If you would like to find out more about adopting the benefits of an electronic care planning system into your care setting, then please don’t hesitate to book a demonstration or give us a call on 02380 00 22 33. It really is very simple and as our previous post, “how quickly can a care provider go online with Nourish?” can help give you an idea.