For many aged care providers, taking advantage of today’s technology-based solutions offers countless benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity and quality of care. It’s hard to read an article or attend a presentation about technology and its impact on aged care without the topic quickly transitioning to driving efficiencies and return on investment.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. The aged care sector is facing unprecedented challenges and in the current climate, it is critical that providers of residential and community care are operating efficiently. Technology advancements will continue to play the lead role in helping aged care providers to improve efficiencies, streamline processes, enable staff to work smarter and boost productivity, maximise funding, reducing compliance and safety risks, enhance the quality of care services, and the list goes on.
Over the past few years, there have also been numerous studies that have quantified these financial drivers for implementing electronic systems within the aged care industry.
However, if we focus too heavily on the measurable benefits of technology in aged care – namely, the ROI prize – we risk discounting the intrinsic value that innovative systems can also offer to those working within the aged care sector.
So beyond the reports and dashboards, here are five of the less obvious ways that technology can deliver value to an aged care organisation and its staff.
Technology can greatly improve the aged care experience for staff
Aged care professionals are celebrated for their tireless commitment to providing high quality care and support to elderly people. The challenge for nursing and care staff is that administration within the sector has become increasingly complex over the years along with the documentation and paperwork associated with care plans, assessments, progress notes and funding.
Technology greatly improves the experience of modern day aged care for staff by enabling them to focus more of their time on doing what they do best – delivering care in compassionate and considerate ways. With simplified and automated processes in place, your staff will spend substantially less time on arduous paperwork and administrative tasks, and more time on delivering better care.
Technology can enhance communication between staff, residents, clients and their families
Technology applications are providing unprecedented scope for nursing and care staff to conduct more regular and convenient online interactions with the families of elderly clients and residents. These interactions will help staff in bridging the communication gap, as well as provide reassurance to families and advocates in the level of care and support that is being delivered to their loved ones.
Over time, new residents, clients and their families will become increasingly computer literate. While they may not widely be requesting to communicate with your staff online at the moment, it won’t be long before societal expectations change and the demands for technology-based communication will soar.
Technology can improve staff engagement and boost company morale
There is a wide range of technology-based solutions designed exclusively for the aged care sector, many of which sit between different functions within the organisation. For many aged care organisations, the introduction of new technology systems is a process that requires input from the majority of internal stakeholders.
The implementation process is a rare opportunity to collaborate with staff from every corner or the organisation. It gives staff an opportunity to share with one another, work together, embrace, debate, learn and overcome challenges. Engaging staff throughout the transition will improve morale, reduce frustration and help to foster a culture where nursing and care staff understand that their opinions matter and will be listened to.
An investment technology is also an investment in staff
It is widely recognised that the aged care sector has often avoided adopting electronic systems, based on a fear of applications being too complicated or not suitable to the practical needs of nursing and care staff.
However, when IT training is included as part of an organisation’s professional development or dedicated change management approach, the level of confidence that staff feel towards working with technology quickly increases. An investment in IT training not only enables staff to make the best use of an electronic system, it also provides them with the confidence to embrace technology in their own lives for the purposes of communication, shopping, entertainment and other interests.
Providing staff access to modern, easy to use technology and the appropriate training also goes a long way in helping to increase staff retention and the attraction of skilled employees.
Benefits of technology can encourage a flow-on effect throughout the organisation
You may also discover that as an efficient, technology-based system works to improve efficiency and productivity within your organisation, it will also prompt your staff to look at how they complete other tasks and responsibilities with a fresh perspective. If ideas and suggestions are encouraged, additional benefits will be realised as staff come to see the potential for improvements across their areas of influence and responsibility.
In what other ways have you seen technology provide additional value to your organisation – whether they have been measurable or not? Please share these with us in the comments section below.
(Image credit: Adamr)