Streamlining Resident Communication for Bigger Impact—with Less Work
When it comes to healthcare, efficiency can be the difference between life and death. Even when the stakes are not as high, medical professionals must prioritize efficiency for every aspect of their role - even for communication. This allows us to focus on what’s most important at any given time.
I’ve been with Heritage Pointe of Fort Wayne for five years. Coming to Heritage Pointe was an easy choice for my career.
Heritage Pointe's Philosophy of Care
Led by our Christian faith, we founded our first community here in Warren over a century ago on the philosophy of helping seniors live life to its utmost potential. Today, as a not-for-profit organization, that same spirit guides everything we do at each of our three communities: Warren, Huntington and Fort Wayne. We believe retirement is all about living . . . and living life to the fullest.
A New Job with a Familiar Problem
I was excited about joining Heritage Pointe, but when I arrived, I was surprised that they still did many things on paper. They already had implemented PointClickCare to manage some of the workload, but I quickly realized that it was not being used to its full potential.
A lot of our resident families travel and have eventful schedules, so when we sent out information by mail, the families didn’t always receive their mail in a timely fashion.
Not only was the timing problematic, but traditional mail can be time consuming and expensive as ink, paper, and postage costs can quickly add up. Clearly, it wasn’t the most efficient method of communication. There was no way to ensure that the recipients of our mailings received the notices in a timely manner. We decided to take advantage of PointClickCare's Automated Care Messaging powered by Cliniconex.
PointClickCare offered us a trial period to explore the messaging service and see if it was a good fit for our needs. It quickly piqued my interest because of its flexibility. It’s a patient-engagement system designed to work with nearly any system and platform. We explored other messaging services, but nothing else was as efficient or as easy to learn. By the end of the trial period, we were sold on using it to automate our regular messages.
My administrator is always looking to make operations more efficient, and the process of implementing Cliniconex was easy. Since she called about 75 families daily, the automated communications would free up nearly all that time. After a brief tutorial—an hour at the most—we were ready to hit the ground running.
Other Benefits of Automated Care Messaging
Heritage Pointe has a lot of events and meetings that we invite families to join. We recently rolled out Resident Event Calendar with Automated Care Messaging capabilities, allowing us to schedule and invite families to the care plan meetings directly through the calendar. This is a huge time saver for us compared to our old way of mailing or emailing an invitation to various family members and waiting for their responses. We used a spreadsheet to keep track of the information sent, who replied, and whether invitees could attend. Then we would add the meeting to a separate email calendar. It's now a one-step process with the Resident Event Calendar. We can just go right to the resident's chart, enter the meeting into the calendar, and it sends the information out to the designated family member.
Automated Care Messaging provides a reliable way to send invitations while properly recording their responses. And with automated messaging, my administrator can see who received which notification. If they don’t respond, she can try another method to reach them. We've gone from spending two hours trying to manage our communications every day to dedicating just two minutes daily to complete the same amount of work. Now, our staff can help the nurses with other administrative tasks, enabling them to spend more time with residents.
A Worst-Case Scenario with the Right Solution
In 2020, we found out how vital an automated communication system could be to our operations. When we entered lockdown, Automated Care Messaging gave us a way to provide daily updates about COVID-19 quickly and reliably to our residents' family members and other contacts. When the pandemic began, we had to call all contacts for roughly 75 residents each day. But by recording a single message, we could send it to everyone at the same time. We no longer had to worry about anyone not receiving the message, recording the message and setting up the call in the system is quick and easy.
The pandemic has been a stark reminder of why we need a streamlined approach to managing our communication. Even though much of what we do is to ensure people have everything they need to enjoy their retirement, we are still a healthcare facility. That means when there are serious health risks, we want residents and families to stay informed so they can take the necessary precautions, wherever they happen to be.
Online Community Discoveries
We’ve also come to rely on Pulse, PointClickCare’s online customer community. The platform has a lot of peer-sourced information that we can use to improve our services. When we first started using Automated Care Messaging, the receipts from sending daily messages went directly into a resident’s chart. But those quickly piled up, and because they were the first thing someone saw when they opened a resident file, it was difficult to find details in an emergency.
On Pulse, we learned about a solution. We discovered we could send receipts just to the administration module of the chart. This way, when a clinician needs to find important information pertaining to hospital visits or other care, they no longer need to sift through all the non-critical information. Now, our medical staff sees pertinent medical information when they open a resident’s chart to quickly assess the situation and start reacting to emergencies.
Everyone Is Feeling the Love
Our residents' families love getting the updates. They can choose to receive communications in the method that works best for them, whether that's text, voice or email. Then, when they want to check the message, they can easily access the latest news and updates—and we know they’ve seen it.
Everyone likes human connection, but it is time consuming to make 75 calls every day. Healthcare professionals rarely have time to spare, so we need easily accessible data to best decide where to spend our efforts.
With Automated Care Messaging, the staff at Heritage Pointe in Fort Wayne have created a more efficient process. We have built stronger relationships with family members, even when they can’t be in the building with their loved ones.