Exploring the efficiency benefits of document management technology in aged care

The Future of Customer Documentation

The aged care industry is going through unprecedented change in Australia. The confluence of current reforms, technological disruptions, and business model transformation is reshaping multiple areas of its ecosystem. Customers are no longer taking a back seat, instead occupying the centre of these changes.

Technology has the potential to make living for people receiving services and support from aged care organisations more positive and radically change the way they access them. This reflects the rapid and continuous growth of new technologies that have integrated into everyday living. As jobs become automated, new communication methods that break downtime and distance barriers are truly supporting positive living.

Recent aged care reforms support the continued expansion of care in the community that is more aligned with customer preferences. Independence, good care, security, and continued participation in family and society are important indicators of consumer satisfaction. Aged care organisations that operate effectively in a technology-enabled environment could harness substantial resource efficiencies from automated business and operational systems.

Moreover, effective care would be delivered based on sensitive databases that identify consumer needs holistically and support tailored responses based on individual needs and preferences. It is vital that aged care organisations work closely with technology vendors and developers to create a range of bespoke systems that could meet these business demands.

One of the key areas that could see rapid improvement is electronic record-keeping replacing most paper-based systems. This provides greater accuracy of customer clinical records and quick access to those records by service providers. Simultaneous use of mobile devices provides community care workers with better access to information while they are travelling or in a customer's home, thus enabling them to update records at the point of care.

The move away from paper-based records to comprehensive electronic records also facilitates communication within the aged care sector and the health care ecosystem. Enhanced digital data collection supports the linking of aged care databases to external ones such as health and disability services to support a more complete care while avoiding unnecessary duplication. Furthermore, there are plenty of other benefits for aged care organisations:

AVOIDING WASTAGE

There are plenty of advantages of a paperless adoption. A key gain is that it saves time for staff and care workers. Filing documents no longer means slowly printing them out, then having to file, organise, and search for them manually later. Digital storage can be done in seconds, and retrieval is merely a quick computer search. The reduction in staff work hours spent on menial tasks is significant that could be diverted to customer care.

SAVING SPACE AND MONEY

Previously, many organisations lacked the opportunity to reduce boxes of paper files that have accumulated over time, which demanded filing cabinets and special rooms to secure these documents. Freeing up space from forgoing the need to invest in on-site storage facilities and other printing and postage costs add up over the long term.

STRENGTHEN DATA SECURITY AND MANAGEMENT

Security remains a vital topic when it comes to customer data. Paperless data management means aged care organisations have the option to take their data across a private cloud, or on-site server with tailored restricted access. Digital files are not as vulnerable as printed or physical ones of being destroyed in a fire or stolen.

Initially, it is vital to get the buy-in from all divisions linked to customer care. Everyone needs to understand the reasons behind this change in records management with the new accompanying protocols. Going paperless demands an understanding of digital technologies that some parts of the workforce may not be familiar with, hence workshops and training are a good idea.

The next step is to dispose of any outdated documents, which requires multi-teams’ consultation to categorise which document or content types need to be kept. These will be the remaining documents that require to be scanned in, which takes a lot of effort. This could be addressed with using scanners that come with optical character recognition (OCR) software that can scan documents automatically into searchable PDF or other preferred file formats. These digital files will have to be dated and categorised for simple retrieval. Remaining documents, once scanned, should follow a thoroughly consulted disposal process that usually stages out the shredding workflow depending on the document's expiry. Other best practices include educating staff and workforce to adopt a “paper-less” practice that is tailored to meet the individual aged care organisation's requirements.

The concept of paperless could be daunting in the beginning. It is fine to believe that some forms of paper still have an important role to play, meaning that aged care organisations take as many of their operations as possible online. There is still a middle-of-the-road approach which organisations can go towards becoming paper-free without having to abandon print altogether. The adoption towards this new practice can still save resources, speed up transformation processes for better care, and make it easier to back-up data.

INTEGRATION OF PRINT AND TECHNOLOGY

There is an array of technologies available to support this transformation, as well as provide a digital alternative to paper to allow more concurrent work on a document, irrespective of location or time. Using these digital applications can help aged care organisations to work towards their paperless roadmap. When technology allied with careful planning, all organisations can set out with confidence towards a more resource-effective future. If you like to find out more, contact us today for a discovery call.

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