Guest Blog By Kane Caswell, Marketing Manager at NurseBuddy (ARCH Industry Member)

Global warming; ice caps melting; the Dead Sea drying up. We’re constantly reminded that the earth is changing, and that it’s man made. Whether you are a believer of man’s impact on the environment or not, it is unquestionable that we should all do our best to save where we can.

Nearly 4 billion trees or 35 percent of the total trees cut down around the world are used in paper industries. That equates to about 2.47 million trees cut down every day. (Global Forest Resource Assessment, 2015), It was also estimated that the Earth lost around 60,000 square kilometers of trees globally in 2015 alone.

The Health Industry’s love of paper.

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The health industry is one of the largest users of paper worldwide. Everyone involved needs and uses some form of paper, whether it be doctors notes, care plans, timesheets, or medicine prescriptions. Our processes have not caught up with the supercomputers that we each hold in our pockets.

There are plenty of examples of where paper could be replaced. Particularly within home care, a carer may have their schedule printed out for them, requiring a collection at the office, before heading out for the day. Care plans, duties and tasks and reports are all written out, which can lead to loss, and have to be returned to the office to be clarified. There are extra phone calls between care managers, carers and families, and a lot of extra communication that could easily be managed using dedicated technologies. By going Paperless, we all can all reduce the carbon footprint of managing care at home.

Getting to Paperless Care

One of NurseBuddy’s goals is to completely remove paperwork from the home care process, as there are a number of issues that using paper inherently have. Paperwork often gets forgotten about, can be filled in incorrectly, and could even be lost or misplaced. Having everything digitised is the way forward for the world, for several reasons; we reduce the stress associated with paperwork, we can remove extra trips for carers and care managers moving paper around, and we can reduce the overall carbon footprint by reducing the amount of paper used. By delivering the basics in a digital fashion, and going paperless, care rosters, care plans, prescriptions, etc, we can establish a better platform and a better environment for all involved. While I specify care, this is applicable for all elements of healthcare. Digital patient records for hospitals, wearable technologies, telemedicine are all clear ways to remove paper and extra travel.

Strategise.

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In home care, implementing a strategy that removes the need for paper and phone calls, and having a mobile workforce will also remove unnecessary trips to collect rosters, care notes and client information. By digitally communicating all updates, including rotas, locations of visits with calculated routes, notes and care plans, carers save time that would otherwise be spent commuting into an office at least once a week. Communication platforms that stores important client data, including a location, also removes the need for meetings or phone calls about new or existing clients.

Analyse.

Having access to data can tell you a lot. Cloud based software can allow for many managers to synchronise their information and data, resulting in powerful reporting and analytics, which then also enables real time decision making. This is one of the biggest benefits of going paperless. Digital analytics can reveal a lot of information. It can show where issues arise, inefficiencies are present, and where improvements can be made. For the home care industry, you can analyse care hours worked, store and be reminded of certification requirements, monitor any late or missed visits, and therefore identify where there may be problems or issues inside the workforce.

Technology also gives peace of mind to those that are involved in remote based health care, such as emergency personal, home carers, tracking particular devices such as fall monitors, and so on. Having a ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ functionality, whether through GPS or another form of check in, lets a manager know that a carer is where they need to be, and that they are on time. Communication also increases visibility, and having digital notes or tasks on a digital care plan can help other carers provide better care to a client.

Care Communication: Getting the information into a carer’s hands.

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Notes about a carer’s clients can greatly improve the quality of care being provided; by having a log of what actions are performed when (eg. medicine, food, activity, and even mood), note taking can help other carers that take care of the same client, and ensure that they are meeting their care plan goals. Carers need to keep a record of these details that are often not covered by a simple paper based format, and having it stored digitally allows for access for other carers, managers and potentially the client themselves and their families. This diary style entry can often be lost or misplaced when in paper format, or carers may not write extensive or good notes to benefit all involved. By digitising the process and having a mobile application on a carer’s smartphone to record these notes, a better profile of the client is created, making several opportunities to alter and improve quality of care.

NurseBuddy’s paperless experiences.

Practice what you preach! NurseBuddy have gone from being a paper based office ourselves to embracing technology when conducting our business through all departments. Storing all our work across Google Drive, we cannot lose any data, as everything of importance is stored here. Actions have been taken to make sure that information is sent through to the Drive system, and not stored locally, so that information is accessible to all essential staff in the company.

We also now completely travel paperlessly. Boarding cards and flight information is not printed out, using the likes of the Aer Lingus, Norwegian and RyanAir smartphone applications to manage all our flights. Maps are pre-downloaded for travel, saving on roaming data costs as well. So far with hotel bookings, having email confirmation on the phone has always been sufficient. We also use AirBnb quite often,, where often

There is still a requirement for leaflets, as we exhibit at shows across the UK & Ireland, but these are an essential part of the marketing strategy. On top of this, we’ve really worked on our website, so that any information can be easily attainable about what we do, how we improve home care processes and how we communicate with our customers. Extensive email campaigns from the marketing department across two languages (English and Finnish) develop leads and improve customer retention. Our sales teams have the ability to reach leads anywhere that is needed utilising our online communication processes, and CRM systems to capture every contact point along the sales set up.

If you’d like to find out about how to make your home care process paperless, book a demo with us using the link below. We offer an online demonstration (so location is never a factor!), so we can personally discuss and establish how NurseBuddy can help to make your care business more efficient.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Applied Research for Connected Health or UCD. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.