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A document manager is usually one of many functions that are integrated into an efficient long term care software system. A document manager is used for managing all forms of documentation in a long term care facility. Traditionally, a document manager was an employee in an organization. However, with the rise of modern technology, document management can be done by a software system with automated processes. 

In a long term care facility, the type of documentation managed varies depending on the department; admissions and discharge, financials and billing, and clinical all have unique documentation needs. One of the critical functions of a document manager system is to ensure that all documentation is secure from prying eyes. This means that safe documentation processes are needed to protect the facility from potential security breaches. However, the software also needs to allow access to authorized personnel, as and when required, so staff can fulfill their roles and responsibilities. 

Therefore, an efficient document management system will have built-in automotive processes that address and balance the needs of the facility’s personnel. Overall, facilities will see improvements in their documentation processes, the accuracy of the content, and the accessibility of information. 

The Important Features of a Document Manager App 

Due to the large quantities of data that each department produces, modern-day healthcare providers now opt to use a  long term care EHR software system with an efficient documentation manager app rather than paper documentation. Paper documentation is typically inefficient and error-prone due to the lack of consistency, inaccurate data entries, and illegible handwritten details. These drawbacks of paper records could easily lead to litigation due to incorrect documentation, medical errors, and fatalities. This is why paper documentation is being phased out in long term care.

A long term care software system allows a document manager to automate processes and track and organize essential data. Furthermore, the built-in functions of a document manager enable facilities to add relevant files directly to a resident’s electronic medical record, all of which are stored in a centralized location to provide maximum efficiency and security. 

Choosing an efficient eMAR software system and document manager should not be taken lightly due to the financial implications and required staff training.

Facilities generate a lot of data, so it is essential that the long term care software is reliable, scalable, and can streamline and automate workflows, thus reducing documentation time while improving processes.

Some of the main capabilities of an efficient document manager app system include:

A physician using the documentation manager app.
A documentation manager app improves efficiency.
  • eDocuments – Due to the large amounts of data generated in a facility; it is important the data can be imported, viewed, and deleted without disrupting workflow. An efficient eDocuments process allows for quick and easy access to necessary documentation indexed to the resident. 
  • Easy Access From Multiple Devices – With the many departments in a long term care facility, it is essential that the document manager app can be accessed throughout the building and from multiple devices. This improves workflow efficiency, as it means various staff members can interact with resident files simultaneously.
  • Integrated System – Efficient document manager apps can be integrated with various departments, such as progress notes, physician orders, eMAR, and care plan interventions. These files are easily retrieved and displayed on the document manager app so staff can address issues when they arise. 
  • Continuity of Care – When residents move between healthcare providers, there is often a lack of communication about care and treatment. This results in medical errors, such as a lack of patient follow-ups and a failure to address chronic conditions. Meanwhile, when facilities use an effective document manager app, they can receive and send patient information more securely to other healthcare providers—like hospitals and physician offices—by sending data using an industry-standard XML format. This allows for a readable format and makes available relevant data about the patient’s medical condition and history.
  • eAssigning and Messaging – Medical errors often occur because there is a lack of communication between staff. However, an efficient document management app will include an integrated eAssigning and messaging feature that improves internal communication between individuals and groups. 

eMessaging improves the electronic communication to a facility’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Important messages intended for individuals or groups working in various departments or on different shifts can easily be alerted with automotive messages triggered by EMR events.

On the other hand, eAssigning is an effective tool to manage tasks so staff can stay updated with their to-do lists. Among the many advantages of an eAssigning function is that it allows facilities to assign and manage tasks, add task statuses, set due dates and times, and send real-time updates notifications of when someone updates or completes a task. Ultimately, this will improve documentation accuracy and improve the quality of care given to residents. 

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4 Tips to Remember When Choosing a Documentation Manager 

It is important for a facility to choose a digital documentation manager that ensures compliance with various governing bodies. It is not always easy to know which long term care software system has the best capabilities to effectively manage information while mitigating risk and assuring the best quality of care. Use the following four tips as a general guide to help your facility choose an effective documentation manager:

1. Compliance With Government Regulations

Highly sensitive resident information must be safeguarded. Failure to do so may result in significant litigation issues, financial difficulties, and other similar negative consequences. As a result, long term care facilities must make sure that all resident data is stored and aligned with the most up-to-date rules, such as the HIPAA privacy rule, which specifies how patient data should be protected

State and federal bodies that decide upon long term care regulations include:

When researching different long term care software systems, if the facility has employed a document manager, then they should assess which document management software can best be used to track and review all documents, all while adhering to the set regulations. 

2. Ensure Maximum Security 

As mentioned earlier, data privacy and security are critical for healthcare providers and long term care facilities. Therefore, the facility must choose a document manager app that protects resident data while preventing privacy breaches. Administrators must always remember to check what data protection measures the document manager software has before committing to its adoption.  

Facility staff being trained to use the documentation manager software.
It is essential to provide adequate training for using a documentation manager.

3. Provide Staff with Adequate Training

While it is crucial to choose a long term care EHR with an efficient documentation manager, it’s equally essential for the facility staff to understand how to use the LTC software and the document manager. Therefore, once a long term care software vendor has been chosen, facilities must provide adequate training in using the document manager so that workflows can be streamlined and information is accessible when needed. 

4. Adopt a Cloud-Based System

One of the many benefits of implementing a nursing home management software system with a document manager is storing all resident data in a centralized location. 

Moving onto a cloud-based system means that authorized facility staff can access resident data from multiple locations and devices. Rather than using paper documentation, email attachments, or printing out new policies, facilities can instead store new policies and resident information on the cloud-based server where everyone can find and access resident information. 

Furthermore, efficient long term care software systems are also compatible with different devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, wall-mounted PCs, and desktops. This improves documentation processes due to the increased reliability of documenting care beside the resident. 

The Importance of Implementing a Document Manager App

A physician using the document manager to assess the accuracy of documentation.
A document manager provides clarity and accuracy.

When a facility is researching different long term care EMR software systems that include a document manager, they first need to clarify the facility’s needs and current documentation failures. By understanding current documentation fail points, a facility can assess and determine which new document management software should be integrated via the long term care software to match their requirements. 

It is also important to mention that there will undoubtedly be adoption issues concerning the processes or document manager app with any new technological integration. Therefore, facilities must organize one-to-one sessions with the facility “superusers,” who are the more tech-savvy staff that the others can turn to for help. Superusers also have excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and an aptitude for quickly picking up new POC technology to aid the rest of the team and ensure seamless integration.

With the proper implementation and coordination of the nursing home EHR and documentation manager, facilities will visibly impact their workflow efficiencies and save a vast amount of time on documentation processes. 

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

Cindy Wong