In recent years, software for assisted living facilities has improved remarkably. An example of the technological advancements in this arena is the introduction of Electronic Health Records (EHR), which have modernized the long term care industry by transitioning it from paper to electronic records, thus improving how data is obtained, stored, and accessed.
Benefits of assisted living management software include:
- Workflow efficiencies like updating notes and documenting care plans on the spot, so caregivers have more time to care for residents
- Staff training with streamlined processes that allow for maximum compliance with state and federal requirements
- Staff retention thanks to efficient processes like the entering med passes, so caregivers spend less time behind a computer
- Accurate billing that complies with federal regulations and PDPM-specific reimbursement payments.
One particularly revolutionary tool is the electronic Kardex system, which allows for real-time clinical updates, making charting easier and more accurate. The Kardex improves communication between clinical staff, CNAs, and other healthcare providers by allowing access to resident records without disrupting workflow. This is possible because the data is stored in a centralized location, which can only be accessed by authorized personnel.
Meanwhile, efficient analytical tools are how the top organizations can stay ahead of the game. This component of software for assisted living displays valuable data to clinical and financial teams, enabling them to analyze relevant data, interpret it, and make data-driven decisions. The result is automating processes that allow caregivers to provide a higher quality of care and tailor services according to their residents’ needs.
These are only some of the features of software for assisted living facilities that have caused it to explode in popularity, a trend that promises to continue as the industry grows to accommodate an aging Baby Boomer population.
The Rising Demand for Software for Assisted Living Facilities
The market for long term care software for assisted living facilities is predicted to expected to increase to $463.7 million by 2029 with an 8.9 percent growth at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Key factors include:
- An aging geriatric population: Retirees, military veterans, and Baby Boomers are rapidly increasing the need for long term care services due to longer life expectancy. A 2019 U.S Census Bureau report estimates there were approximately 54.1 million seniors in the U.S. aged 65 and over, accounting for 16 percent of the country’s population. Studies show this number is expected to increase to an estimated 85.7 million seniors—approximately 20 percent of the population by 2050.
- A growing number of chronic illnesses: Chronic illnesses—such as dementia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases—are also driving global growth in the demand for long term care services. Even now, the Alzheimer’s Association notes that there are currently approximately six million seniors in America living with dementia.
- An increase in nuclear families and micro-living: Adult children are increasingly less likely to have the time to care for their elderly parents, especially if around-the-clock care is needed. In such cases, seniors and their families are turning to more innovative facilities that offer personalized care by using long term care software for assisted living facilities, as they can provide care specifically tailored to their needs.
- The rapid development of technological devices: Technological advancements like Point of Care (POC) software improve efficiencies by allowing caregivers to use handheld portable devices for point of care documentation, which is conducted while beside a resident. The development of such sophisticated and intuitive software allows caregivers to monitor and track residents remotely and more accurately, giving the popularity and use of software for assisted living facilities a big boost.
- The adoption of telehealth applications: Healthcare and long term care providers are increasingly turning to telehealth applications, such as remote patient monitoring, that enable physicians to review real-time data with patients or residents, reducing the number of physical appointments and emergency hospital admissions. This has attracted the interest of investors and entrepreneurs who see the advantages of using integrated technology services to reduce the financial burdens typically associated with medical procedures while decreasing the need for institutional care.
- The normalization of long term care insurance: More modern employers are taking the initiative to provide long term care insurance for their employees. The most common forms of employer long term care insurance are “true group” policies, which apply to companies with 500 employees or more. Smaller companies tend to offer “multi-life” coverage for employees with discounts for long term care services. The discount is usually between five to ten percent and often covers spouses, children, and potentially even parents. These insurance policies aim to protect employees from paying high long term care costs, and they usually cover home health services, community care and assisted living facility costs.
Contact us here if you want to learn more about the capabilities of long term care software and how it can benefit your facility.
5 Barriers to Transitioning to Assisted Living Scheduling Software
While assisted living scheduling software has become instrumental in improving efficiency, facilities must also take into account the barriers they face in making the transition to long term care software, which include:
1. A Lack of Information
According to research from the Polisher Research Institute, many healthcare providers often lack the required technical knowledge to evaluate software for assisted living options. Many don’t know where to find the best software for assisted living, how to compare their capabilities, where to find information about the software vendor, or how to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the nursing home software.
2. Insufficient Financial Resources
The reality is that the initial costs for software for assisted living facilities requires a lot of funding, and many facilities have tight budgets. One way to save money is to enter into an agreement with one of the long term care software vendors that offers value-based pricing, which enabes them to only pay for the services and features they need. By using the Per Patient Day (PPD) system, facilities are charged based on census numbers and save money when beds remain empty.
3. Inability to Keep Pace with Regulatory Processes
The long term care industry is highly regulated, so facilities must keep pace with the regulatory process. If facilities fall behind with outdated regulations, it can hinder the implementation of new scheduling software for assisted living facilities or limit the full capabilities of the LTC software.
However, innovative software vendors will also offer free online training for facilities and staff to stay updated with the latest standards and codes to ensure maximum compliance.
4. Lack of Integration Between Providers
A lack of integration and communication between healthcare providers causes medical errors when it results in caregivers not having the relevant data to treat a patient or resident properly. For instance, some users have expressed frustration over electronic Medical Records (EMR) not being transferred to another facility after a resident moves outside their current healthcare provider’s network. This is why it is important to research the EHR provider to see how the product integrates with third-party applications.
5. Insufficient Technical Knowledge
Caregivers are hardworking individuals with refined communication skills. Technical knowledge, though, is not always their forte, especially something as advanced as nursing home EHRs. Older nurses and CNAs may be more resistant to change and averse to modern technologies like long term care EHR and using portable, handheld devices.
One way to work around this obstacle is to rely on Super Users, or, those who have excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and an aptitude for picking up new technology quickly. When facilities decide to implement software for assisted living facilities, they can turn to those individuals who understand the ins and outs of the nursing home management software and can help train other staff members to smooth the transition.
The Future of Software for Assisted Living Facilities
Despite recent world events like the COVID-19 pandemic, the long term care software for assisted living market is forecast to increase, especially as the American population ages. A report published by Technavio predicts that the global assisted living software market will increase to $396.41 million during 2021-2025.
The report also indicates that post-pandemic, many long term care facilities are going through a response, recovery, and renewal phase, leading them to adopt senior living software technology. This is to help the business build resilience and allow more agility to adapt and evolve out of the crisis. Such research only further confirms that that the future of software for assisted living is bright.