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Regulatory compliance in long-term care facilities is an important but complex matter. That is why the CMS designed the QAPI program (Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement program), which offers tools and techniques designed to bolster the quality of care delivered to long-term care residents each day.  

To make QAPI compliance easier, Experience Care has partnered with SNFQAPI to integrate its QAPI program into our EHR system and combine comprehensive care documentation with systematic quality assurance. Here we’ll explore how this partnership can help long-term care facilities stay compliant and also outline the most important features of both software systems. But first, let’s get a better understanding of CMS’ QAPI.

CMS QAPI Templates, Tools, and Resources

A nurse and a physician in a senior living facility that has successfully implemented a QAPI program.
Quality Assurance (QA) acts as the yardstick for excellence, defining the standards for quality of service and outcomes in nursing homes.

The QAPI program by the CMS is an initiative aimed at improving the quality of care provided by long-term care facilities. Its main objectives include the implementation and maintenance of a systematic, comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving the quality of care and life for nursing home residents. The CMS has provided a number of online resources to help organizations with QAPI. 

QAPI templates—available online—are designed to help nursing homes identify and correct quality deficiencies while also promoting best practices in resident care. QAPI not only facilitates understanding and adhering to regulatory standards but also encourages continuous learning, accountability, and proactive improvement in care delivery.

As a holistic initiative, the QAPI program intertwines two essential components of a quality management system:

  • Quality Assurance (QA): This acts as the yardstick for excellence, defining the standards for quality of service and outcomes in nursing homes. It ensures that healthcare delivery within healthcare facilities consistently meets or surpasses these standards, and it strives to uphold care at acceptable levels, anchoring the nursing home’s services firmly within the realm of professionalism and proficiency. 
  • Performance Improvement (PI): This is about enhancement, progression, and growth. It involves a relentless pursuit of betterment through the ongoing examination and improvement of processes, services, and outcomes. PI’s primary goal is to reduce the chances of problems arising in the first place, thereby ensuring a smooth, seamless service delivery process that caters to the needs of residents effectively.

There are five core elements of a QAPI program:

A nurse who has used and understood QAPI templates is caring for a resident.
QAPI represents a transformative shift in how nursing homes operate, encompassing all organizational levels.
  1. Design and scope: The first element focuses on establishing a comprehensive and customized QAPI program for each nursing home. The design and scope of the program should align with the unique needs, characteristics, and resident population of the facility. It encompasses all aspects of care and services provided, aiming for all residents to receive safe, effective, and quality care.
  2. Governance and leadership: The second element underscores the vital role of the facility’s leadership in driving the QAPI program. Leadership is responsible for allocating adequate resources, establishing clear expectations, and promoting a culture that supports staff participation in QAPI activities. The leadership’s commitment to QAPI helps ensure its successful implementation and ongoing operation.
  3. Feedback, data systems, and monitoring: This third element focuses on the implementation of systematic and proactive methods to collect and use data for monitoring the quality of care and services provided. Feedback systems should be established to capture information from various sources, such as resident and family reports, staff input, and other relevant performance indicators. This robust system of gathering and analyzing data facilitates ongoing monitoring and timely identification of issues that need attention.
  4. Performance Improvement Projects (PIPs): The fourth element revolves around conducting focused, systematic, and time-limited studies to investigate and improve the quality of care or resident quality of life issues. These PIPs provide a framework for identifying, studying, and addressing specific areas for improvement. By leveraging a data-driven approach, these projects ensure that the improvement efforts yield tangible, measurable results.
  5. Systematic analysis and systemic action: The fifth and final element of QAPI emphasizes the importance of investigating underlying systemic issues that contribute to poor outcomes or quality issues. This systemic analysis should lead to systematic actions that address root causes and prevent the re-occurrence of these issues. The goal is to transform potential problems into opportunities for improvement, fostering a resilient, proactive approach toward quality assurance and improvement.

QAPI represents a transformative shift in how nursing homes operate, encompassing all organizational levels. It is an ongoing method of conducting business that ensures the delivery of superior care to residents while simultaneously driving continuous improvements within the organization. In other words, QAPI instills a culture of quality and constant progress, pushing nursing homes to consistently strive for optimal results in all aspects of their service.

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How a QAPI Nurse Can Use SNFQAPI

A QAPI nurse using a PC.
SNFQAPI software offers tools and strategies that enhance star ratings and track resident satisfaction.

So what can a QAPI nurse do to improve regulatory compliance? He or she can utilize SNFQAPI , which offers tools and strategies that enhance star ratings and track resident satisfaction. SNFQAPI uses a multifaceted approach to assess the quality of resident care, combining Minimum Data Set (MDS) with assessments conducted by the management team throughout the month. The goal is to create a comprehensive picture of care delivery, facilitating the identification of strengths and areas that need improvement. 

This QAPI program (software program) has an impressive track record of improving regulatory compliance, as SNFQAPI client facilities have consistently had fewer deficiencies than the national average. And by using SNFQAPI’s online tools for a data-driven approach, long-term care facilities not only reduce their risk of litigation but also achieve a superior rating on the Nursing Home Compare Website, where 98% of SNFQAPI client facilities proudly displayed 5 Stars over the years 2013 to 2016.

Needless to say, Experience Care is proud to have partnered with SNFQAPI. By accessing SNFQAPI’s capabilities and its QAPI templates in their EHR, users benefit from performance improvement thanks to the key performance data from the EHR  being fed directly into SNFQAPI. The software uses the data to guide quality assurance audits and tasks for the facility staff conducting the audit. These focused audits ensure that actions and care are in place to prevent negative outcomes. 

Using a QAPI Program in Your EHR

A QAPI program like SNFQAPI, when combined with an EHR like Experience Care, gives your team access to the tools and insights needed to drive continuous improvement in resident care and outcomes. Experience Care is working hard to ensure a smooth transition and successful implementation for each facility that chooses to use these two systems and will provide support and guidance every step of the way.

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