In 2017, there were 962 million people aged 60 or above, and by 2050 the number will rise to 2.1 billion. This is more than the number of people ages 10–24 (2.1 billion versus 2.0 billion). As the demand for quality long-term care grows exponentially, the facilities providing it experience significant pressure, not only because there are more patients but also because there are more administrative tasks to manage. In order to keep things organized and lessen the workload for medical workers, many long-term care facilities choose to employ specially designed software.
In this article, we’d like to share what we’ve learned about LTC systems in over 17 years of experience in healthcare software development. So keep reading to find out what long-term care software is, what functions it has, why you should use it, and what is worth knowing while creating LTC software solutions.
What Is a Long-Term Care Software?
Software solutions for long-term care are aimed at making long-term care easier and more efficient. They automate various essential activities related to treatment, management, finance, marketing, and more.
Long-term care software is designed specifically for the following institutions:
- nursing homes
- skilled nursing facilities
- assisted living facilities
- independent living facilities
- continuing care retirement communities
For example, such software helps to store and keep track of electronic medical records, schedule appointments with less effort, and lower the possibility of errors. As for matters not related to health, it also automates repetitive billing and helps facilities to establish clear communication and track leads.
Benefits of Creating LTC Software Solutions
Lower fertility rates and rising life expectancy cause a problem of population aging, meaning that more and more facilities will be in great need of LTC software solutions very soon. It’s no wonder that the global long-term care software market is valued at 1.84 billion USD in 2020 and is expected to reach 3.32 billion USD by 2025.
Now and in the future, LTC software is highly relevant to long-term care facilities. It has many benefits that neither managers nor employees can ignore.
Better Electronic Medical Records Management
Paper medical records have waned in popularity lately, with electronic medical records (EMRs) taking their place. EMRs are a popular solution because they do not require additional personnel to organize and manage records, or the physical space to store them. Also, they are more readable, reduce the possibility of error to a minimum, and are easier to share with parties who need them.
LTC software solutions help facilities maintain and manage EMRs. You can access data from remote locations, get reminders and clinical alerts, and send out e-prescriptions that will not be lost. The possibility of losing patient medical histories is minimal as well.
Less Administrative Work
A big part of the healthcare system seems to be paperwork and other administrative tasks. These daunting tasks make healthcare less about the patient and more about filling out forms and licking stamps.
Making it all worse is the fact that all of this administrative work is so repetitive. Time that doctors could have spent helping patients is instead spent doing the same thing over and over again.
Moreover, if a doctor makes a mistake in all this paperwork, she or he may have big problems.
With an LTC software solution, these administrative tasks get so much easier. The system defines all the tasks that can be completed more efficiently and offers ready-made solutions. It also automates repetitive tasks.
Thus, employees will have more time for actual care for the patients. Immediate benefits will be increased Productivity and efficiency.. Long term benefits will be that the facility will have a better reputation and will be more attractive for potential residents.
Easier Employee Management
There is a lot of staff in long-term care facilities, and a manager has to know the schedule of each employee in order to set up appointments and have at least the required minimum of staff on each shift.
However, it is quite exhausting to keep track of every single person. Sometimes appointments get canceled; some employees have to leave urgently, and others may need to change their schedules, and you could simply not notice.
This can lead to major problems at a facility, with patients getting irritated by the lack of organization and employees being required to take double shifts or additional tasks during their shifts.
LTC software solutions eliminate the risk of such situations. The schedule is updated in real-time, and you get notifications when the changes are being made.
Boost Customer Satisfaction Rate
LTC software is aimed at patient-centered healthcare (patient-centric healthcare refers to care that considers patient needs, preferences, and values).
Patient-centric demand, where patients actually expect you to provide service that is tailored to their needs, is estimated to value $391 million in 2021.
Previously, it was much harder to concentrate on individual patients because facilities had to spend so much time managing billing, marketing, administration, prescriptions, and other spheres. With LTC software, healthcare facilities can automate all these processes, which significantly reduces the time spent on these tasks and increases facility efficiency.
As a result, staff will have more time with patients and will communicate better with their families. Reduced stress due to a decrease in paperwork amount will also make room for kinder treatment. All of this matters for customer satisfaction. And since people tend to share their positive experiences with 6 people, one satisfied customer can positively influence your reputation in a big way.
How to Build Long-Term Care Software Solutions
Long-term care software comes in many different forms, and there are a lot of things to consider when you develop an LTC software solution. But don’t worry: in the following section, we’ll break it down to the essentials. So here is a list of things to consider while building long-term care software solutions.
Choose Between Standalone Application or Integrated Suite
The first thing to consider is which of the following two options to choose:
- A standalone application means that every specific task or area has its own application. For example, you may have an app specifically for billing; it will perform only this one function, and if you want to automate medical functionality, you need to build yet another app. You might want to choose such an approach if you only have one or two functions you need filled, so you don’t waste resources on developing functionality you don’t need.
- An integrated suite is a system that has multiple functions: you can access and control everything that happens in the facility in one place. You might choose this approach if you want to cover all areas of your facility’s operation from one convenient central system. If you opt out of an integrated suite, you can consider a multi-module architecture containing various submodules that can be removed or added to the system as needed. High flexibility and customization potential are its main benefits.
We would recommend an integrated suite because it allows you to monitor all of the processes in one place and modify or improve them at any time. Even if you choose to partly automate your LTC, you can pick and choose the functionality of the software and elect not to include some parts.
Integrate Must-Have Features in Your Long-Term Care Software Solution
This feature allows you to create schedules that will work for all employees. As soon as someone updates their availability, everyone else will see the change immediately.
You can also keep track of all the overtime workers and days-off requests.
With this feature, you’ll find it is easier to evaluate your staff situation: you can quickly take a look at what qualifications the employees have and whether there are enough caregivers for residents.
Therefore, this feature is a must for managers who have trouble creating schedules that suit both employees and patients and who want to have a clear vision of staff profiles.
There are a lot of rules and guidelines created by national and local governments that long-term care facilities must follow, and it can be hard to keep track of all of them.
LTC software solutions can help in this area; for instance, they can guide employees through regulations while they are filling out forms. Employees will be less likely to forget information because the software guides them step-by-step, showing necessary fields and providing examples.
This feature is very useful when there are new staff members, because you do not need to put effort into explaining how regulations work and what they have to follow. Basically, you can just skip this daunting part of onboarding.
It will also save you money because errors in documents can cause quite a bit of trouble with governmental structures.
The main purpose of regulations is unified forms, which will reduce the time spent studying the case by other caregivers, doctors, or managers.
Finally, the software can also analyze incident reports and show you trends that point at problems you should take care of. It will give you an opportunity to prevent problems before residents move from just filing complaints to actually sharing their bad experiences with everyone they know.
Point-of-care helps medical staff to organize treatment better. It is usually a mobile app that they can access from any point in the facility.
There, employees can build treatment plans, as well as track the health of residents with their medication intake, weight, water balance, etc. Caregivers can file real-time reports and share them with the team; any issues can instantly be discussed in the chat.
Staff can also manage medications and make e-prescriptions in the app.
Modern LTC software solutions should provide facilities with easier and more organized billing. They consider external and internal appointments, monthly fees, and other expenses. At the end of the month, they automatically calculate the total. They can even manage the finances of residents, if needed.
This feature eliminates the possibility of human-caused billing errors and eases the pressure on the finance team.
Long-term care software should have an eligibility check feature that automatically detects whether a patient has valid insurance coverage. In order to monitor and report changes in various insurance providers, such as HMO, Medicare, and Medicaid, the software should be able to access and retrieve the needed information from various data sources.
Marketing and Customer Relations
Long-term care facilities are monetized like any business, and they live off the money paid by their residents. Therefore, it is extremely important that they attract new residents.
You can use the LTC software solution for keeping track of your leads and their data, sending them follow-ups, and answering their most asked questions automatically.
After residents decide to use your facility, the software helps you take them through the onboarding process in as stress-free a manner as possible. It will show all the tasks that they still have to do and their progress so far.
LTC software development is a complex task that requires deep expertise in healthcare development and relevant technical skills. Langate has more than 17 years of experience in the healthcare industry, which gives us the expertise and skills required to develop a long-term care software.
We also know about the importance of compliance to all the numerous regulations that affect long-term care facilities. We have our own HIPAA-compliant centers that help us make a long-term care software that is not only innovative but also corresponds to all legal requirements.
One of our clients was creating a long-term care management software solution and needed our expertise for the project. The client provides back-office services to more than 300 nursing facilities nationwide, so they needed a system that is capable of handling a massive amount of data.
A team of over 20 professionals from Langate has been working to create a system that simplifies the life of workers at LTC facilities. We’ve changed the HR and payroll services of the client with the help of Employee Change Management to help them manage over 15,000 employees.
The system developed by Langate also contains an eligibility check module, which automatically verifies patient’s insurance coverage and reduces mistakes associated with insurance.
Our custom solution has brought together all the departments on one platform, resulting in an increase in productivity and growth of revenue in the client’s business. And our document management solution reduced their operating and storage costs and delivered all the key functionalities of modern document management systems.
After successful implementation of the solution developed by Langate, the client has been able to grow its customer base by 45% compared to the previous year. Moreover, the average duration of the client’s cooperation with the healthcare facility has reached 6 years.
LTC software solutions will be a must in the future; for now, they could give you a significant competitive advantage. With a great variety of features, these solutions manage all the sides of the healthcare facility: staff, schedules, regulation compliance, patient treatment, billing, and even marketing and customer relations.
Building LTC management software solutions means that you can manage EMR better, free your staff of administrative work, and boost customer satisfaction by making healthcare patient-centric.
If you need a reliable technology vendor to develop a custom solution that will benefit the facility, its employees, and its patients, contact Langate now.