Lessons from beyond home care
Laying the foundation to take care to the next level
Home care is all about people –connecting those in need with the essential supports they deserve, in their communities where they feel most comfortable. Lately, good people have spent too much time correcting and managing administrative tasks – payroll, invoices, or schedules, often in bulky Excel spreadsheets. Canada’s health care system has slowly begun to ‘axe the fax’ by not just literally removing fax machines from doctors’ offices, but by giving the entire system an IT overhaul. In home care, we are doing our part as well. By investing in best-in-class IT software and other digital support tools, our goal is to make it easier for team members to do what they do best – providing compassionate, high-quality home health care services – so they have more time to focus on the people who rely on them.
Establishing an integrated infrastructure
At ParaMed, we have invested in Workday, [i] an industry-leading employee experience support platform, to help us to integrate payroll, finance, and human resources tasks, and simplify and improve our back-office systems. All team members, from frontline staff to administrative personnel, will be able to quickly complete tasks such as requesting vacation, applying for internal job opportunities, viewing important personal documents such as paystubs, and quickly identifying the right collaborators to answer questions. The integrated data structure of Workday will let us improve our ability to retrieve and analyze our information and use those metrics to adapt processes to better respond to our teams’ needs and achieve organizational goals.
Imagine the day when the recruitment and onboarding process is seamless, where all forms and orientation materials are in one place accessible to the entire team – from HR to the local branch office, to our newest team members. This investment in world-class technology infrastructure and systems that will enable our team members to spend more time on care.
In tandem with Workday, we have replaced traditional telephones with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), technology that enables smoother communication via voice, fax, and text, using the internet instead of telephone systems. Day-to-day challenges to the conditions facing any team (such as weather and travel complications, falling ill) necessitate flexibility in how and where we work, and the ability to easily access records regardless of where we are, has strengthened the resilience of our communications foundation.
Remembering the fundamentals
In the past year, we’ve made accessing different tools for different tasks easier. We’ve heard from our teams that signing into each tool individually – for example, email, clinical documentation, policies, IT and HR support – takes time away from care. In response, we implemented single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA) so that team members’ user experience is improved, by authenticating their identity once, and gaining access to multiple tools. MFA provides an added layer of cybersecurity to keep information protected. With a personal email account, employees can get important and relevant company information directly, at a time that is convenient for them.
We have also made it easier to access IT support, with self-service online tools – cutting out the time previously spent in the queue to speak with a live IT Helpdesk agent.
The future of home health care across Canada, and the patients and dedicated caregivers who partner together within it, deserve far more than improvements to outdated processes. As pandemic recovery continues to take shape in the broader health system around us, enhancing quality of care and improving patient experiences must be at the forefront of any actions taken by providers, health partners and governments alike.
Major investments like these, overhauling the systems our team members rely on and improving the foundations that support them, is an essential tool in the toolbox as we work together to build a stronger home health care system, both now and in the future.
[i] About Workday: https://www.workday.com/en-us/why-workday/our-technology/overview.html