Technology payoffs such as automation and electronic health records are allowing healthcare providers to better manage care and information. But these new tools are also forcing operators to reconsider how they do their day jobs, according to a top industry expert.
“When you apply automation to any process, an organization’s workflow will be affected,” said Majd Alwan, Ph.D., the Senior Vice President of Technology and Executive Director of the Center for Aging Services Technologies.
During an interview at the recent LeadingAge convention in Denver, Alwan said the industry’s shift to EHRs will force operators to reexamine workflows with an eye toward better efficiency and greater competence. He added that operators need to pounce on “the opportunities that automation and the EHR system can bring — where you can enter data once, and it’s available across multiple sites or multiple operations.”
Alwan, who has been with CAST for five and a half years, said that operators are increasingly willing to invest in technology tools. Vendors have helped this progression by offering more advanced features, adding interoperability standards and pursuing certification programs, he said.
The initial payoffs include the use of EHRs to improve the accuracy and timeliness of care documentation. More importantly, EHRs are helping operators improve care quality and document better outcomes. These skills will become more important as operators seek partnerships with hospitals.
In the short term, that will require long-term care operators to help acute care settings minimize rehospitalizations. As accountable care organizations take hold, such partnerships can mean the difference between success and failure, Alwan said.