Nursing software programs are nursing home software designed to assist nurses in performing their duties. They are used to record and track patient or resident information, schedule appointments, and perform other tasks like providing point-of-care services. This software can be used by individual nurses or entire nursing teams and can be accessed on PCs or hand-held portable devices like tablets.
Thanks to the passing of the HITECH Act in 2009, hospitals and other healthcare facilities were incentivized to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other related nursing software programs. Although long term care facilities were not reimbursed for adopting EHRs under the HITECH Act, many long term care providers saw the benefits that EHRs could bring to their organizations and decided to make the switch from paper to electronic health records.
With nurses now turning to technology to help them perform their duties more effectively, some nursing curricula are now offering Electronic Health Records for Nursing Education (EHRNE). These programs on EHRs offer patient care simulation experiences and provide a real-world environment for practicing nurses to document patient encounters. In addition, EHRNEs can teach nursing students about the different types of software used in the healthcare industry and how to use them effectively.
Even after undergoing EHRNE, though, nurses will need to stay up-to-date on the EHR used at their facility. Fortunately, some nursing home software vendors offer free EHR training that allows staff to enroll and learn at their own pace. Additionally, teams should be aware of the most recent features in long term care software, such as EHR data integration, staff and facility management, and medical diagnostic tools. As the needs of nursing homes continue to evolve, so will the software they use.
7 Biggest Advancements in LTC Software
The LTC software market is driven by the need to reduce healthcare costs, increase operational efficiency, and improve the quality of care. According to research by Market Data Forecast, the nursing software programs market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2022 to 2027. This means one can expect the LTC software market to grow to $3.73 billion by 2027 from $2.07 billion in 2022.
In an effort to stay competitive, long term care software vendors have made numerous software advancements. These technological advancements, listed below, can be highly beneficial to nursing home staff and residents.
1. Electronic Health Records
The electronic health record (EHR) has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. In those early days, a health record was nothing more than a paper chart that was used to store patient information. Over time, the EHR has evolved and become much more sophisticated.
One of the most important advancements in LTC software is the integration of electronic health records (EHRs) with other nursing software programs. EHR integration allows nurses quick and easy access to a resident’s complete medical history. Nurses can then use this information to make better-informed decisions about a resident’s care.
2. Resident and Family Portals
Nursing software programs are becoming more user-friendly, allowing residents and their families to access information about their care. Additionally, by using a secure login, staff can easily communicate with residents’ family members through these portals.
This technology is essential for nursing staff to provide quality care to residents in a nursing home while staying in open communication with families. Some helpful features of these long term care portals include:
- The ability to view health information such as test results, medications, and immunizations
- Direct messaging
- Email notifications
- ADT data is displayed
These portals are secure, confidential, and offer a convenient way for residents and families to stay involved in their care.
3. ePrescribing Software Modules
ePrescribing is the process of sending prescription orders electronically from a clinician to a pharmacy. ePrescribing nursing software programs help streamline this process, making it more efficient and accurate. For instance, the e-prescribing software integrates with an EHR, so patient or resident details can be automatically sent to a pharmacy. It also reduces medication errors by issuing warnings for drug interactions to avoid errors that can have severe consequences for residents.
Some of the benefits of ePrescribing software include:
- Reduced medication errors
- Improved communication between clinicians and pharmacies
- Quicker turnaround time for prescriptions
- Ability to check for drug interactions
4. Diagnostic Tools
One of the latest advancements in LTC software are resident diagnostic tools, such as Experience Care’s PDPM Maximizer. The PDPM Maximizer is an advanced tool that helps MDS coordinators and others by suggesting diagnoses after scanning documentation provided during transfer. This gives caregivers complete confidence that they are getting the most out of their facility’s PDPM reimbursements.
The PDPM Maximizer works by using artificial intelligence (AI) to scan for keywords closely related to relevant diagnoses and then recommend any missing diagnoses. This shortens a process that would typically take two to three hours down to 30 minutes or less per patient. If a facility averages 30 admissions per month, this nursing home software will save up to 75 hours per month. This means a facility not only saves itself time but can also potentially increase reimbursement by thousands of dollars per patient each month.
5. Billing and Financial Software Modules
Billing and financial software modules have also made important advancements recently, including the integration of these modules with other nursing software programs, allowing for a seamless transfer of data between different nursing home software— which can help to improve efficiency and accuracy. Some of the benefits of billing and financial software modules in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) include:
- Improved data accuracy
- Reduced billing errors
- Improved cash flow
- Faster auditing
6. Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Software
The goal of any business is to generate revenue, and nursing homes are no different. To do this, they need to have efficient systems in place to manage their finances and operations. This is where Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) software comes in. These nursing software programs help track the facility’s income and expenses as well as streamline their claims and collections process.
In the past, RCM software was not particularly user-friendly or efficient. However, there have been major advancements in RCM software in recent years and it has been made far more user-friendly. RCM software is now indispensable for nursing homes, as it allows them to easily track their income and expenses and see where they are losing money. This information is presented in an easy-to-understand format, so nursing homes can identify quickly where they need to make changes.
Another major advantage of RCM software is its improved efficiency. Nursing homes can now automate their claims and collections process so they don’t have to waste time on these tasks manually. This means staff can focus on providing care for their residents rather than worrying about their finances.
Finally, modern RCM software is much more flexible than older versions. For example, nursing homes can now integrate their RCM software with other systems, such as their EHR, allowing them to share data between systems, making their workflows more efficient.
7. Operations and Management Software
Operations and management software helps nursing homes run their day-to-day operations more efficiently. These programs can automate many tasks, such as resource scheduling and managing nurse employee shifts. This allows staff to spend more time caring for residents and less time on paperwork.
Operations and management software can also help nursing homes to track their performance data. Administrators can use this information to identify areas where the facility is losing money and make changes to improve efficiency. One example of LTC software advancement in this area is the introduction of analytics tools, most prominently CareMetrics by Experience Care.
CareMetrics is an advanced analytics tool that not only displays valuable data on your long term care software dashboards but also represents it in the form of dynamic and visually-stunning graphs. That means that nursing home teams can make data-driven decisions and save time on collecting, formatting, and analyzing actionable data.
By using a series of visualization techniques, this analytics tool gives long term care organizations a financial chart that will tie together technological sources on one screen. As a result, both clinicians and financial managers will be able to access and use the relevant analytics from a centralized location.
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Benefits of Implementing an LTC Charting System
The technological advancements in LTC software probably already made clear the benefits of an LTC charting system in a nursing home. Documentation is an essential aspect of nursing software programs, and it is the responsibility of the long term care administrator to ensure that the nursing home software that they choose for their facility is not only HIPPA compliant but also meets the documentation requirements of that particular organization.
Some of the benefits of implementing LTC software with effective charting capabilities include:
- Automated documentation processes: This makes work easier and more efficient for nurses
- Cost savings: Data is stored electronically rather than on paper—which is expensive to maintain
- Improved quality of care for residents: Entering and updating documentation can easily be carried out at the point of care delivery.
- Enhanced communication: Resident medical information can be quickly retrieved and shared between the facility and external service providers.
It is also worth mentioning that implementing an LTC charting system together with nursing home management software can significantly increase staff efficiency and reduce staff burnout and employee turnover.
The Future of Nursing Software Programs
Nursing software programs have come a long way in recent years and continue to evolve as technology advances. The future of nursing software programs looks bright, and we can expect to see even more technological innovations in the future, including:
- Robotics in nursing
- AI use in an increasing number of nursing software programs
- The widespread adoption of wearable devices
Nursing is a demanding profession that is constantly evolving. As our population ages and the healthcare system becomes more complex, nurses will need to be able to rely on software programs that can help them provide the best care possible. Nursing software programs of the future will need to be able to meet these challenges and help nurses provide the best care possible.
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