In mobile integrated healthcare, the seemingly small things can make a big difference. Let’s discuss how software tools support mobile integrated healthcare and why inadequate software tools cause problems.
Software tools may seem inconsequential but they are crucial in community paramedicine and integrated healthcare. Below, we’ll talk about how software tools are integral to a program’s success and how bad tools or spreadsheets can cause real pain.
Even if you already have software tools, it’s worth it to reevaluate. Do they scale to your needs and work fast? Or do they offer constant headaches, communication lapses, and freeze-ups? Use this article to gauge whether your MIH-CP software tools are working for you (and not the other way around).
Three Benefits of Good Software for MIH-CP
Software tools usually do one of two things: solve problems or cause problems – the former is the desired effect.
What software programs are we talking about? ePCR tools, documentation platforms, data collection, billing tools, and any other program used for mobile integrated healthcare. These tools either help a program or hurt a program. For example, many MIH-CP programs are still using good ole Excel spreadsheets.
Let’s review a list of ways software can help your community paramedic program. As you read this list, ask yourself if your current software tools live up to these benefits.
Here are the three ways software can help a community paramedic program:
- Increasing speed and reducing errors
- Improves communication and reduces friction
- Allows for accurate data collection
Let’s talk about these in more depth.
Good Software tools Increase Speed and Reduce Errors.
Do your mobile integrated healthcare providers ever feel like the software or spreadsheet is slowing them down? Do you constantly have to reject documentation because someone made an error, leading to delays in reimbursement and more overtime costs? Are you searching through your ePCR for familiar faces that could be enrolled in your program?
Many people don’t realize that solid software is the glue that keeps their program organized. Below, we’ll discuss how good software should help your community paramedic program.
Here are a few ways good MIH-CP software can increase speed and reduce errors:
- Good interface
- Low errors and infrequent addendums
- Speed (without sacrificing accuracy)
Let’s look at these in more depth. You can also learn more in our article on EMS documentation: the Unique Needs of Community Paramedicine.
Crews Enjoy the User Interface
The providers should like the interface of the software. The interface is simple, such as where buttons are placed, how the software is designed, and how fast it works. However, some crews might need a lot of preselected questions or many written entries.
Managers might like the software’s interface, but it’s essential to figure out the experience of those working in the field. For example, does the software frequently freeze? Does it have intuitive features that allow for autosaves? Does it allow for referrals to other community providers? Does it interface with your ePCR?
These are all things to keep in mind. So now, let’s talk about reducing errors.
Infrequent Errors and Addendums
Software is often used for documentation, whether for a patient care report or a community paramedic’s patient encounter. Of course, any type of documentation in any field must be accurate, but there is an even greater need in healthcare. If documentation is incorrect, it can lead to many problems, including delayed reimbursement, legal issues, and improper care.
The healthcare network relies on good information from each branch of providers, making errors unacceptable.
If a community paramedic manager or coordinator finds that they’re frequently asking crews for addendums, then it might be wise to evaluate the integrity of the software. Yes, the healthcare provider is responsible for getting the documentation correct; however, poorly designed software can worsen a situation.
Sometimes, a person makes some mistakes during documentation, but it’s wise to take a second look at the software if this begins to feel like an organizational issue. So here’s an article on the top 10 EMS documentation mistakes.
Good Documentation Software offers Accuracy and Speed.
Some software can take too long to complete. Again, there are incidents when a person takes too long to complete a report, but for the most part, people should be able to submit an accurate and detailed report in a reasonable amount of time.
Good software keeps the day moving and allows healthcare providers to complete reports as they go. Why is this so important? Two reasons.
First, crews will be happy to complete their reports or documentation as they move throughout the day if it feels like the software is too dense and the process too long, many will procrastinate, pushing off documentation until the end of the day – which leads to the second issue.
Some crew members will sit down at the end of the shift to perform all their documentation. If the software and platform aren’t user-friendly, and they had a busy day, this might be necessary – however, it presents a few problems.
For one, they aren’t completing the documentation as the patient care unfolds, leading to the possibility of inaccurate data. For two, it leaves companies paying a significant amount in overtime – just so crew members can document their patient encounters. Indeed, staying late for documentation will sometimes happen, but it shouldn’t be the norm.
To learn more, check out this article on five reasons for better EMS documentation.
Software Tools Improve Mobile Integrated Healthcare Connections
We’ve discussed how good software tools support mobile integrated healthcare and improves the providers’ day, reduces errors, and reduces overtime. Now, let’s talk about how software tools can improve connections – which is critical to community paramedicine.
Good software tools support mobile integrated healthcare and allows for easy collaboration with other departments. For example, if a mobile integrated health paramedic is working with a mental health institution, they will need to share information with each other. But how do they do this when both use different software for their work? Well, in many cases, they don’t.
Sometimes, two different departments use word of mouth to communicate. Other times they will print off large amounts of paperwork. However, both of these methods could be better. When relying on non-standardized forms of communication, there is often miscommunication, things are said to one person, and a different thing is communicated to the other. We can all think of a time this has happened.
The biggest problem with this communication style is that it doesn’t foster good relationships between institutions. Instead, it frustrates people when one side forgets or doesn’t follow through on a promise. Good software will allow easy cross-communication. How does this happen?
Often, the software is cloud-based and built for interoperability. This means it can conform to a different system without that institution needing to change its current software. In addition, it means that the community paramedic program can share information with the mental health department and vice versa –they can add to a common patient record, reading and reacting to notes from both sides.
Let’s discuss another thing good software can do for mobile integrated healthcare.
Good Software Tools Allow for Accurate Data collection
Mobile integrated healthcare and community paramedicine are relative newcomers to healthcare. While they have already been scrupulously tested (and found true), there is still a need to compile and share data within the system – indeed, forward-thinking health communities never give up on good data collection.
In the case of community paramedicine, good data collection has several benefits:
- First, it can show them what they are doing right. This will help with making internal adjustments and ensuring that the ship is headed in the right direction.
- Second, it can help gain new partners. When a community paramedic program is pitching its ideas to hospitals, police departments, and mental health institutions, it can essentially show them their work: “Look, our program reduced hospital readmissions last year by 30%” – these are the kind of numbers that talk.
- Finally, numbers don’t just talk, they sell. When you’re looking for funding and partners who may help financially, they will want to know that your program really works. They want to know that when they provide funds, it will make a difference in their community.
How does all this relate to software? First, you need software to compile and show this data easily. For example, if your program worked to reduce overdose relapses, you need to be able to pull the data that shows how your patients faired. Ideally, your software can find and pull this data without much technical work on your part.
Please read our article on costly data collection mistakes for more information.
Conclusion: Choose the Best Software for MIH-CP
You aim to find the best software for mobile integrated healthcare community paramedicine. It would be best to have software that allows day-to-day work to be smooth with minimal errors. It would be best if you had software to help build community connections. And it would be best if you had software that easily collects data, showing that the program is working.
If you’re interested in the award-winning software for mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedicine, then contact Julota to talk with a representative. We will assess your program’s needs and demonstrate how Julota’s software can strengthen your MIH-CP program.