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Optiscan implemented Abakus HomeCare system to support homecare processes of the municipality of Imatra. "The entire homecare process is now visible with the available resources and clients in real time", says Anu Kotanen, Director of Home Care Technology.
In 2008 the Municipality of Imatra conducted a survey concerning its home care services. Through the survey it became apparent that the share of population pass the 75-year age mark will increase dramatically in the near future. To serve better the growing numbers of senior citizens without significant additional costs it is important to support their living at home for as long as possible.
The survey also revealed that the home care personnel spend most of their work time on indirect tasks, such as reporting on the statistics and the procedures done during the visits. Indirect tasks eat up the time meant for more important work - visiting clients at home. Home care personnel manage on average to visit two clients a day, which is definitely not enough to maintain the required level of services also in the future. In view of the above the Municipality of Imatra decided to find a system that would help reduce the time spent on indirect tasks so that the 20 % efficiency growth in the actual home care work set as an objective would be achieved without putting extra pressure on the employees or the clients.
The Municipality of Imatra also faced serious challenges in managing the work. The work management did not have the full visibility of homecare visits, nor had they the access to the information on home care visits, suspended home care visits or employee absences, whether the work was supervised timely or left completely unsupervised. Distributing workload fairly between the carers was also a challenge. Some employees took up clients that were easiest to care for, whereas others were left with the heavier work load. This naturally has lead to inequality amongst the employees which was apparent to the management, too.
The Municipality set up a project team to find possible options as well as the impact of different options. Directors of Home Care Technology, Anu Kotanen and Marko Lakanen, were appointed into the project team. They started the work from scratch with the intention to find the system that would meet the needs of the Municipality of Imatra Home Care Service Division. It was noticed early enough that to find a system to fulfil all the needs is simply unrealistic, however the Optiscan Abakus service platform offered a solution that can be as flexible as required. It was considered particularly important to make sure the field workers could use normal smart phones as their primary device. "Without the knowledge brought by Optiscan we could not have found a solution to tackle all the problems typical for our work", said Anu Kotanen. "The visibility to planning for the work management would have been really challenging to implement without Optiscan´s solid experience", Anu continued.
In field work a carer signs into the Abakus HomeCare system in the beginning of the work shift and the list of clients for the day is downloaded straight into the smart phone without requiring additional actions. The client list includes full information on the clients, the procedures done during the previous care visits and those planned for coming visits. The client-specific care plan includes procedures that require acknowledgement to make sure that all planned procedures have been done, e.g. walking the stairs planned for the client. A carer enters the time upon arriving and leaving a client. This automatically generates timestamps in the system to be used, for example, in invoicing. Without such features it would be impossible to switch to a time-based invoicing of home care in the future.
From the point of view of the work management, supervising field work becomes easier. The work managers have information on the available carers in a shift and the clients in the visit list with all the care procedures they required. "The entire homecare process is now visible with the available resources and clients in real time", says Anu Kotanen. Homecare visits are now managed through work calendars that are both real-time and easy to use. Such as, with just a move of a mouse a new urgent homecare visit can be assigned to a carer whose work calendar it fits most. Exceptional situations such as cancelled home care visits or requests for additional visits can be handled without problems. (The time tracking of home care visits enables the work management to make changes to the client lists if e.g. the time booked for a visit is repeatedly exceeded for the same client or in case of other irregularities.)
For clients the Abakus HomeCare system is a better service because the care is more planned than before and home visits are usually done by the same carer. The client care plan downloaded into the smart phone of the carer shows the details of procedures planned for every client and the comments and memos regarding the treatment left during previous visits. Carers don´t need to waste time on clarifying the details of their tasks. Home care clients can trust the professional competence of the care personnel even more than before.
The Abakus system is comprehensive as it is, however the project members have a clear vision of how the functionality will be improved in future. To help minimize any indirect work and concentrate on home care visits, the solution will be possibly linked to an electronic key management system. The client service will be further improved when the families of home care clients will get access to a client web portal. This way the families of the clients will have a more comprehensive picture of the health of their loved ones. The families can also update the portal with their own visits to their loved ones or check if the clients have had home care visits and the right and timely procedures. The same client interface can be used to incorporate other services provided to home care clients such as catering, pharmacy or shopping.
With the Abakus system we know that we have the right resources in the right place at the right time.
- Kati Homanen, Manager of Home Care Services Division.
Once the system has been fully deployed in production the number of home care visits has increased by nearly 20%, the major factor in such growth has been the efficiency brought by the system along with the reduction of time spent on indirect tasks.
Managing homecare work is easier now and it has become possible to change work shift schedules and home care visit plans at short notice.
The job satisfaction of home carers have improved and they feel more in control of the work load even though the number of client visits has increased.
Pdf file of Imatra case