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Care management software is used in conjunction with long term care EHR software to deliver care to residents in long term care facilities. It refers to a set of organized, goal-oriented, logical steps that nurses and other long term care staff follow to ensure a resident receives the best care during their stay. The goal of care management in long term care facilities is to improve patient or resident health by individualizing care and meeting the unique needs of patients and residents.

Skilled nursing facilities and other long term care facilities often use care management software to fill in any gaps in resident care, thus improving the quality of care to patients and residents. Additionally, long term care software reduces healthcare costs and the risk of failing to be in compliance for facilities. The components of care management include:

  • Patient or resident education
  • Medication management
  • Risk stratification
  • Population management
  • Coordination of care transitions
  • Care planning

The Benefits of Care Management Software Solutions

So what are the benefits of care management software solutions, and why should a nursing home and other long term care facility administrators consider them? Thorough Care notes that some of the greatest advantages of using care management software solutions are: 

Nurse engaging with nursing home resident
The best care management software improves communication with residents.
  • The Consolidation of Resident Information – Although Congress has passed laws  requiring healthcare providers to move from paper records to electronic records, information documented digitally is not always well-organized or accessible to nurses and physicians. The best care management software solutions consolidate a resident’s medical information in an organized manner and store it in a single, centralized place.
  • Improved Care Coordination – Care management software can enhance communication between the care manager, the physician, and the resident. This leads to better care plan creation, reporting, flagging, and ultimately better care outcomes for the resident.
  • More Patient and Resident Engagement – The best care management software solutions use a patient-centered care approach that improves communication with residents, makes them feel heard, allows care information to be shared more easily, and encourages a more active role in improving their health. When care management software is built with a resident-first approach in mind, patient and resident engagement increases. According to NCBI, patient-centered care improves higher levels of patient satisfaction, better care outcomes, cost-effectiveness, and patient adherence to physician-recommended lifestyle changes and prescribed treatments.
  • Improved Efficiency – Care management software can improve the efficiency of a skilled nursing facility by automating processes in a long term care EHR system that would otherwise be done manually. Maintaining resident records is time-consuming for nurses, as is coordinating multiple nursing schedules within the same facility. Care management software solutions can streamline these tasks by enabling the quick retrieval of resident records, communication between nurses for followup tasks, and easier schedule management.
  • Improved Accuracy The documentation of claims, billing, and services must entered into a long term care software system that allows an organization to remain compliant with CMS regulations. Care coordination software can automate the documentation and reporting process, making nursing homes and SNFs better prepared for audits. 

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10 Tips for Choosing Care Management Software Vendors

There are several care management software vendors in the market. Therefore, nursing home administrators have to determine which care management software best serves their needs while not being too expensive. Through Care recommends the following tips that can help administrators pick the best care management software for their facilities:

1.   Establish Your Facility’s Goals

Before selecting a care management software, one should always be clear on the purpose behind adding a care management program. This goal could be something as simple as improving care for those most at risk. Once a goal is established, nurses can orientate their actions toward achieving the specified goal. And when that goal is clearly defined and noted, it will make choosing a care management software easier.

2.   Review the Tools and Features

There are a number of free care management software available online. However, they may not have all the tools or features that a long term care facility is looking for. Hence, a facility administrator should look for complete lists of software features when comparing care management software vendors. They can then determine whether the features are necessary and will help them achieve their care management goals or not.

Physician demoing care management software
A demo enables nurses to sample the software and determine whether or not it would be a good fit.

3.   Try a Demo First

Once an administrator has identified a care management software of interest, the next step is to demo the software. A demo enables nurses and other long term care staff in the facility to sample the software and determine whether or not it would be a good fit. During the demo stage, administrators should analyze the nursing home software by collecting feedback from nursing home staff concerning its ability to help them achieve their care management goals.

It is worth noting that some care management software vendors offer a free demo, while others do not. Hence, long term care administrators should always check the website and talk to a sales representative to verify that the demo is free.

4.   Consider the Pricing

Care management software vendors  do not always charge the same amount. It is, thus, worth asking about the cost of the software before making a decision. It is also common for long term care software systems to have optional features that result in an additional fee. Hence, administrators should always be mindful of their budgets.

5.   Review Its Reporting Capabilities

Documentation and reports how long term care facilities stay on top of their countless tasks and in compliance with federal regulations. That is why decision makers should always look for nursing home software with extensive reporting capabilities. This includes reporting features such as:

  • Time logs
  • Enrollment info
  • Claims and billing reports
  • Care plan review and summaries
  • Care manager activity reports

6.   Review Its Compliance and Security Measures

All long term care software—including care management software—should be HIPAA compliant. Administrators should always ask the software customer support if their software meets all regulatory requirements. Additionally, security features—such as firewalls, data encryption, data backup, and recovery—should come standard in all nursing home software.

7.   Review Its Ease of Use

Demoing care management software is an opportunity to see how user-friendly it really is. Nursing home administrators should involve nurses and physicians during the demo and ask them to try using the software in order to get their feedback on its intuitiveness, ease of documentation, and any other opinions or preferences they may be willing to articulate. 

8.   Analyze Its Clinical Content

A quality care management software should ease the care plan creation process by providing clinical templates as well as a guided approach to the creation of resident care plans. A nursing care plan consists of the following components:

  • Nursing diagnosis
  • Goals and outcomes
  • Interventions
  • Evaluation

9.   Test Its EHR Integration Capability

Care management software is meant to be used in conjunction with a certified long term care EHR. Therefore, administrators should always check if the software is stand-alone yet compatible with their long term care software or if the care management software comes in a package with the EHR, ensuring seamless integration.

Elderly resident using a smartphone
Care management software should ease the care plan creation process.

10.   Review the Available Customer Support and Training

Successfully implementing and utilizing care management software requires sufficient support and attention from the long term care software provider. Therefore, administrators need to determine whether the provider has:

The Importance of Care Management Software

Long term care facilities must constantly strive to work more efficiently and effectively. That is why care management software and its automation tools are such a major component of success in the industry today. Long term care software systems that come equipped with care management software help strengthen the coordination of care and ease the process for nurses to create care plans. When picking a care management software for their facility, administrators should keep the following features in mind:

  • User-friendliness of the interface
  • EHR compatibility
  • Reporting and billing tools
  • Customer support
  • Data security and
  • HIPAA compliance

For more on recent trends in long term care, read our blog and subscribe to the LTC Heroes podcast.

Elijah Oling Wanga