Not A Gnarly Assessment – Understanding the Critical Role of an “Integrated Electronic Evaluation” in Assisted Living
Despite making massive strides towards going more electronic, assisted living communities are still grappling with the concept of electronic evaluations/assessments. Some communities avoid electronic evaluations because they resemble the MDS assessment used by skilled nursing facilities, while others are just trying to understand the value of an electronic tool in their less regulated setting.
Specifically, for ALFs – a good electronic assessment can ensure a consistent approach that amplifies a company’s competitive advantage in a tight market. There are way fewer restrictions on the types of questions that can be included in an assisted living assessment (as opposed to the MDS). This allows you to solidify your company’s uniqueness during the one interaction that most singularly defines and sets the track for a resident’s care and financial relationship with your community – the evaluation.
Now let’s break each part down…
An electronic evaluation is very simple – it is an assessment that can be done on a laptop, desktop, or tablet usually by clicking boxes or selecting from dropdown menus. Electronic assessments are available wherever, whenever, as long as you have access to your device. That said, just making something electronic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better than doing things the old-fashioned way. A standalone electronic evaluation probably isn’t going to provide that many benefits to your team. To truly see the value of an electronic assessment it must be integrated with other pieces of the puzzle.
Note on “electronic”: You will still need to print paper evaluations from time to time (some seniors do not like having a tablet or laptop around when being interviewed about their health) so make sure that any system you use allows for easy printing and uploading of evaluations.
Now this is the fun part. The definition of “integrated” means something “with various parts or aspects linked or coordinated”. Exactly. You want your evaluation to be linked to your care planning and charting on the clinical side, as well as coordinated with the financial side of the house. This integration can happen through streamlining workflows, alerts, prompts, and simple information sharing (without post it notes). The key here is having tools built specifically for each group, communicating information to each other and updating in real-time.
Note on “integrated”: An well thought through integrated electronic evaluation is a wonderful thing. It will save staff time, enhance resident experience, and can significantly increase your communities’ revenue thought accurately assessing a resident’s acuity and sharing that information real time with the business office to be timely approved by the family and invoiced.
Singular. There is absolutely no need for the the 10+ separate paper assessments floating around (BIMMS, SLUMS, other mini-mentals, fall risk evaluation, elopement evaluation, smoking assessment, self-medication administration evaluation, and so on and so on and so on.) One all-encompassing evaluation that spans everything from pre-admission through change of condition will result in the most accurate picture of a resident’s stay in a community and creates a positive cycle of consistent information . A software partner should help you figure out ways to condense, combine, and create a singular holistic assessment.
Note on “evaluation”: These countless paper documents have incredibly repetitive information, are time consuming, operate off of different expiration dates, and in no way communicate with each other. Given the speed at which our society is moving, that last flaw is fatal. Expecting nurses to do their day job and to track a dozen different forms and expiration dates does not promote accuracy and takes precious time away focusing on what they do best: caring for your residents.
A comprehensive integrated electronic evaluation can bring tremendous value on a corporate level as well to individual communities by saving nurse time, capturing additional revenue, and enhancing the staff and ultimately the resident experience through real time sharing of accurate resident information.
To learn more about ALIS’s evaluation tool email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.404.ALIS (2547).