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Point of Care technology is an innovative way to improve the efficiency of your nursing staff’s charting. From computers, tablets, or even smartphones, nurses can now enter resident data in real-time, which reduces the hours it takes to complete charts and allows for a greater dedication to providing quality care. In addition, login information and passwords must be entered into these devices in order to access health records, which means that there is less risk of sensitive information being compromised. 

What is Point of Care Charting?

Point of Care charting is the use of stationary devices, computers, tablets, and even cell phones to enter nursing data conveniently. While some PoCs are limited to bedside use, others are entirely mobile and allow nursing staff to document resident nursing notes on the move, at the same time as they are providing care within the nursing home. 

Nursing electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) systems are fast becoming the norm—instead of the exception—in nursing homes. This is due to nursing home owners understanding the advantages of electronic nursing documentation.

The best Point of Care systems: 

  • Give visual and textual cues for what has and has not been completed and documented
  • Provide alerts and warning pop-ups
  • Allow for customized data and preferences
  • Integrate seamlessly into other parts of your long term care software systems
  • Speed up the process by which residents receive care and arrive at the proper nursing station
  • Minimize risk
  • Maximize compliance

The Key Benefits of Point of Care Documentation:  

elderly patient lying in hospital bed looking at results
Electronic Point of Care documentation allows for more time with residents.
  • Faster charting – Many tasks can be documented during meetings instead of after the team disperses.This means that an MDS nurse or DON will save two to three hours a day. And dietitians can save an hour to two hours a day. With the most advanced PoC technology, you will be able to seamlessly collect data related to all care activities, including restorative nursing, therapy, and mood observation. You will also have the option to record multiple occurrences in one shift. Your worklist will be far easier to interpret thanks to easy-to-understand cues that indicate which items have not been documented during a session or shift.
  • More time spent on resident care – Less time on paperwork means nurses can walk around and check in on residents more often. Nursing homes will also be able to utilize the services of nursing assistants in other areas of nursing homes. A number of studies have shown that nurses spend 25-50% of their shifts on documentation, most of which is done using a pencil and paper. 
  • Security – Sensitive information is password-encoded on devices. This can help prevent access to private medical records and reduces the likelihood of Medicaid fraud.  
  • Greater profits – Nursing homes can hire fewer nursing assistants, which, in turn, lowers their payroll budget. Further, nursing assistants can be relied upon to perform the tasks of nursing staff, which also reduces costs. 
  • Increased accuracyPoint of Care technology helps make charting more accurate because nursing notes are immediately entered into nursing home EHRs. This minimizes the chance for error. 
  • Remote access – Physicians can now access the medical records of patients or residents from afar and prescribe medication or make changes as necessary. This speeds up the process of care, as nurses no longer have to wait until a physician enters the building, which may not be for days. 

One of the greatest advancements to Point of Care technology is the introduction of an electronic Kardex, an alert system that gives CNAs alerts for the most urgent matters concerning residents, including activities of daily living (ADLs), fluid restrictions, fall interventions, and incontinence maintenance. An alert function triggers pop-ups that nurses must acknowledge and a history tab will let you see who has acknowledged what. The Kardex’s convenient summary page allows you to view all of a resident’s information in one place and even print that information by using a reader-friendly PDF. For more, click here

The Drawbacks to Using Point of Care Technology in Clinical Settings

There are a few drawbacks to using Point of Care technology related to the challenges of using advanced technology in the context of nursing homes, where many will not have experience with computers. Some of the biggest issues articulated are that: 

senior woman and nurse using digital tablet at home
Point of Care charting can now be done using EHRs.
  • The nursing staff may lack proficiency in using nursing documentation technology and nursing home EMRs and EHRs. That means time and money must be spent on training staff. With the current rate of nursing staff turnover, this can be costly. 

Fortunately, there are now cost-efficient solutions available, like Experience Care’s new LevelUp training, which is free and accessible at the fingertips of users at any time and in any setting. This means that new staff members can simply participate in online training for using EHRs at no extra cost to your facility. 

  • Electronic health records may discourage patient or resident participation, something that has been shown to improve the quality of care provided. This is because patient/resident participation means shared decision-making about nursing care, plans that are more in keeping with the personal wishes of patients/residents, and potentially greater accuracy of documentation. The problem, as articulated in BMC Nursing, is that electronic documentation can discourage participation due to technical challenges and a lack of trust on account of less communication with nurses. 

However, as the authors—Kim De Groot, Elisah B. Sneep, Wolter Paans, and Anneke L. Francke—suggest, nurses can compensate for these challenges by verbally discussing the needs and concerns of patients and residents with them. Further, the technical issues will become less of a problem with newer generations of elders, who will be far more familiar with the use of computers.  

In short, drawbacks for EHR that exist can be resolved, and they are far outweighed by the many benefits that come from time and staff efficiency. 

The Future of Point of Care Technology

Point of Care technology is rapidly expanding and becoming increasingly cutting edge. It is a massive industry with a bright future. Impelsys reports that the global diagnostic market of Point of Care technology is in the tens of billions of dollars. And Point of Care devices, the staff at Impelsys writes, are becoming significantly more sophisticated as: 

… the lab-on-a-chip capabilities of the latest generation point-of-care tests offer on-time patient care, and even analysis of human and pathogen genomic data to accelerate more appropriate and personalized therapies. Combined with the appropriate strategies for clinical needs assessment, validation, and implementation, these and future POCTs may significantly affect healthcare and associated outcomes and costs. 

analyzing data
Point of Care technology is advancing rapidly.

Advances in genomics and precision medicine have also made it possible to personalize Point of Care tools and devices for individual residents, which helps improve outcomes. These encouraging results have elevated expectations in the industry and helped researchers make greater progress. 

Meanwhile, according to a study in Clinical Chemistry, the impact of Point of Care technology has grown over the last decade as the fields of population health and chronic disease management continue to trend upwards. One great resource is a Point of Care Research Network, developed by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which drives the development of Point of Care diagnostic technologies through collaborative efforts that merge scientific and technological capabilities with clinical needs. 

Point of Care technology has future implications for: 

  • Facility owners: By increasing efficiency, they will be able to more heavily rely more on nursing assistants, as opposed to nurses. It is, of course, less expensive to hire a nursing assistant than a full-time nurse, which allows for wider profit margins and the opportunity to improve the facility in other areas. 
  • Caregivers: They can spend more time providing care for residents and even assist in other tasks such as cleaning rooms and preparing meals.
  • Residents: They will receive better and more personalized care, as nurses will be able to interact and engage with them on a more human level. And electronic nursing documentation will only continue to increase the speed at which nursing home care is provided and push the boundaries of what it means to make residents feel at home. 

Summary

Point of Care charting allows health care providers to document and communicate their findings more efficiently, which leads to better resident outcomes. This technology has helped facilities save money and improve operational efficiency and will only continue to do so to a greater degree as it is advanced further. The benefits—greater efficiency, higher security, and an elevated standard of care—far outweigh the drawbacks related to the learning curve of less tech-savvy nurses. 

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