A year-old white paper by the CIO Consortium & Nurse Executive Council remains relevant to senior living operators trying to navigate various technology systems, panelists noted at a recent Long Term and Post Acute Care Health IT Summit. 

In a session on what CIOs and nurses have learned since the paper’s release, panelists spoke about how “Electronic Health Record Solutions LTPAC Providers Need Today,” can lead to better caregiving. The June summit was held in Baltimore. 

The paper posits that senior living organizations should have systems “built on the foundation of a single integrated EHR engine within which any real consumer/patient has a single identity against which structured, document, and social (interaction/conversation) information is recorded.” When information is recorded it should “obviate prior processes and downstream redundancies.” 

Many clinicians try to “fit” their care delivery process or workflow into the EMR modules, such as putting assessment components beyond the MDS in different modules. 

“This lack of alignment between clinical care delivery and the existing EMR modular configuration causes disruption in workflow and results in development of ‘work arounds,’ thus negatively impacting productivity and causing a myriad of unintended consequences,” the paper reads.

Over the past year, the document “has opened dialogue on the clinician side and allowed us to continue a more positive dialogue,” said panelist Debbie Jones, RN, LNHA, CEO of New Beginnings Care. Some vendors have seen the paper as a critique, but others have embraced it and used it as a motivator, Jones and other panelists noted. Providers need help from vendors to achieve interoperability and allow clinicians to have more control over viewing data, Jones said.

“The paper needs to evolve as we evolve, and should reflect your feedback,” noted Richard L. Castor, the senior vice president and chief information officer at Genesis Healthcare.

The bottom line is that technology needs to be easy for clinicians, reminded panelist Jillene N. Snow, RN, BSN, MBA, CHCC, the senior vice president of compliance and clinical information at Ethica Health and Retirement Communities.

“We forget that at the end of the day, it’s people taking care of people,” she told McKnight’s. “Nurses and nursing assistants want to take care of people. Technology has to be easy, and we try to help in making technology their friend.”

CFOs target Internet

Executives are typically allocating between 2% and 3% of their operating budgets for technology, according to a recent Ziegler survey. More assets are devoted within the capital budget, with an average of 12% of those blueprints devoted to technology. 

More than 130 chief financial officers participated in the survey, with 58% of them from single-site organizations.

Respondents said they are investing more in technology since the last poll in 2012. The largest proportion of organizations said they are investing in technology infrastructure, such as high-speed Internet or wireless networks, as well as increasing resident access to the Internet. 

One person wrote, “All of our buildings are situated in rural areas so in order to bring more technology into our buildings, we must have reliable/redundant Internet and fail-safe IT infrastructure.”  

Executives said those initiatives, as well as investing in electronic health and medical records, top their list of anticipated expenditures. One respondent noted that technology is becoming a large organizational operating expense, particularly with “the growing advent of EHR considerations.”

Facebook appeal fails

A former senior living worker fired for a Facebook status update has not succeeded in an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court. The language of the skilled nursing facility’s social media policy was an important factor in the ruling handed down in June. The worker wrote that he wanted to “slap the ever loving bat snot out of a patient” at the 60-bed Desert View Care Center in Buhl, the Twin Falls Times-News reported. 

Replacing passwords

Free-form gestures, such as sweeping fingers in shapes across the screen of a smartphone, may be a better way to protect personal or confidential information, according to a new Rutgers University study. The gestures are less likely than traditional passwords to be observed or reproduced, according to researchers in the School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The researchers planned to release their work around MobiSys ’14 in June, which is an international conference in mobile computing.

Toward better data

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) have asked providers for more transparency in healthcare-related data. The letter asked for comments by Aug. 12 on how to make the data “more useful and readily available.” Wyden and Grassley previously introduced the Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act (Medicare DATA Act) to make the Medicare claims database available to the public at no cost.