As the senior healthcare market continually evolves to meet increasing demand, care providers are looking for solutions to help them succeed in the future.

What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated urgent transitions in and out of care settings. These rapid transitions have highlighted even further the importance of the flow of data. Whether it’s a hospital caring for a long-term care resident with COVID, or a senior previously in the hospital transitioning to a long-term care facility to protect them from COVID in the hospital, up-to-date medical history is a must for the new care team.

Technology can help in making sure all parties involved in an individual’s care have the right information quickly and easily to provide the best care each step of the way. 

Here are three ways providers can prepare:

1. Implement a cloud‐based infrastructure that streamlines secure data exchange between all patient care providers


When the physician has the right information, the care team can work together to make sure the resident gets the appropriate treatment to prevent hospitalization. Once the decision is made that the resident needs to be transferred, staff must send the right documentation to make sure proper care is maintained. Communication technology allows providers to connect electronically with other care providers and exchange information securely.

2. Use health data exchange to improve communication and data transparency


We live in a siloed system, where communication among hospitals and their skilled nursing partners is neither standardized nor coordinated. It’s common for patients to be transferred from one setting without the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure these transitions will result in positive outcomes for patients.


We have now entered into a new normal in senior care and providers simply need to share data in order to drive better health outcomes.


Integrated care is already out there. So is care coordination. But pursuing one without the other is like walking instead of running — you’ll still get where you are going, but there is a faster, and more efficient way.


By bringing together two important aspects of patient care, providers can offer seamless, patient-centered care, regardless of the resident’s location. It allows clinicians to determine and offer the right care to the right patient at the right place in time. 

3. Educate staff and healthcare providers about the benefits of information exchange


The patient’s experience within a facility, the simplicity of the transition and the family members’ ability to be a part of that process — as well as any other caregivers’ ability to focus on care rather than on documentation and document management — are all major factors impacted by the amount of paper and the amount of broken processes or broken communication throughout the transition.


What slows down transitions of care most often? Searching for a resident’s medical history, or repeatedly entering the same set of data multiple times. Providers should lean on technology to expedite the admissions process by accessing complete medical histories of your incoming residents. Implementing these types of solutions means staff will no longer be burdened with manual transcriptions. The relevant clinical documents are imported electronically, for the speed and accuracy clinicians need when moving a resident from one care setting to another. 


Care teams will have fewer paper records, more visibility into incoming residents, and be able to efficiently reconcile their medications. The resident will experience a smoother transition process – and so will your providers.

Travis Palmquist is vice president and general manager of Senior Living at PointClickCare.