I recently had the opportunity to attend PointClickCare’s annual user summit held in Orlando. Though the senior care market is not one I’ve spent a great deal of time covering, senior and long-term care are deeply interesting to me. There are several reasons for this interest: Seniors are becoming the largest population segment in the US and that has serious ramifications ranging from politics to economics, and because I’m interested in alternative care models. And, in some way, senior care effects all of us.
There are a number of differences between senior care and ambulatory or in patient, but the technology needs are still overwhelming and great. Senior care facilities across the US face tight budgets, extremely high levels of employee turnover and technology challenges, but the care they provide is still important, as is how the information they collect on behalf of their patients is similar to other sectors.
According to Mike Wessinger, CEO and co-founder, “PointClickCare’s goal is to enrich the lives of care providers through technology that will help them better care for their residents in ways that are effective and efficient.”Dave Wessinger
PointClickCare’s primary reason for being is to deliver electronic health record and practice management solutions, but the company has an eye on mobile delivery, where both Mike and brother David Wessingner, CTO and co-founder, feel the future of health IT lies.
Mobile is king for its ability to deliver health data quickly and where needed, as well as to alleviate stress and confusion of overwhelmed healthcare employees.
Hospitals, too, are overwhelmed. Data flowing in from various systems often goes unnoticed or unpackaged, a particular troubling problem for the senior population. When there’s a patient transferring in from a senior home to a hospital for emergency care, a health record of some kind may accompany them. A fully loaded paper chart may only be shuffled through and details lost.
According to the Wessingers, people want data, but they don’t want to be data aggregators. The solution, they say, is allowing clinicians to get out of the documentation business. Without these tools and solutions, people will find a way to bring or create their own.
And there will come a day shortly where the patient shows up with a record of their own at the point of care – the most progressive form of mobile information delivery. And while better patient care is the goal, the true North, greater efficiencies should not be a path to least resistance. Better workflows need to be developed that work for each organization respectively. EHRs and technology, those developed by innovators like PointClickCare and others, will change workflows, but, in the end, this technology must live up to its billing and help deliver better care.
Mobile solutions are an important component to this, Dave Wessinger says. During all of this, however, organizations’ margins continually grow thinner. An inhibitor to this, a specific example of in the senior care space anyway, is lack of wireless capabilities throughout the care facilities. Without a doubt this hinders flow of information and stifles the mobile movement.
There are other issues, too, of course. Facilities are not always tech savvy and some allow employees to operate BYOD without BYOD policies, which can lead to a breaches, breaks and breakdowns. Lack of monitored hand-held devices and lack of high-quality wireless networks is a big hurdle, Mike says.
Despite the market served, the PointClickCare observation makes sense on a broad scale. Something so simple – lack of quality wireless networks – impacts mobile advancement at hundreds of care facilities through the US. Thus, efficiencies created by technology are impacted and users of the solutions suffer, as do the patients.
When the technology provider identifies one of the biggest problems inhibiting better workflows and patient care (lack of quality wireless networks) there’s much more the technology provider can do to serve its clients so they can serve their patients. Perhaps even find additional ways to serve those it serves by offering alternative solutions or support for these identified problems.
This, in fact, is something that others could possibly learn something from, whether they’re in senior care or not.
Not to be taken lightly, PointClickCare is a cloud-based software platform based in Canada, but serves more than 900,000 patients throughout more than 10,000 senior care facilities. The company was recently named one of Canada’s fastest growing technology companies in the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards, the company’s seventh consecutive year on the list, and also was ranked 313 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, a ninth time on this list.
Recently, too, it was recognized as the 2014 #1 long-term care software vendor by KLAS Research.