COVID-19 brought many challenges to the world of healthcare. One challenge is protecting patients and residents in healthcare facilities.
The federal government recognizes that protecting individuals during the pandemic will require funding. In a recently proposed pandemic relief package, House lawmakers allocated nearly half a billion dollars in funding to help nursing facilities to both prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19. The package was approved by the House on February 27 and has moved to the Senate for further debate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expects the package to be signed into law sometime this month.
In the meantime, there have been some steps taken to help support the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now requires all healthcare facilities and providers to effectively manage the identification, reporting, investigating and control of infectious and communicable diseases applicable to residents, staff, volunteers, and visitors. This requirement is good step forward. However, the addition of regular reporting easily can become a time-consuming process. With large amounts of manual paperwork and variables such as staffing availability and reporting accuracy, it’s easy to make errors or fall behind. Having the proper reporting solution in place can help facilities avoid pitfalls, meet regulatory compliance requirements and empower them to improve quality outcomes with greater efficiency and confidence.
In times like these, healthcare facilities have to work smarter, not harder.
Technology Can Help
In 2020, Inovalon announced the launch of InfectionWatch™. This tool is an infection surveillance and reporting solution that provides healthcare facilities with data-driven insights to empower real-time identification of infections demonstrating antibiotic resistance and virus outbreaks such as COVID-19.
This type of software solution can eliminate administrative burden as long as it:
- Leverages real-time electronic health record (EHR) data and predictive analytics to enable seamless monitoring and tracking of infections.
- Provides detailed evaluations of infection trends, as well as predictive insights into patient-specific and infection-specific progressions and risk rates.
This type of analytical insight allows facilities to establish more effective infection control measures and remain complaint with CMS requirements.
Software Solution in Action
Check out this example of how software like InfectionWatch™ can make a difference.
Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, a current InfectionWatch™ user, owns and operates four skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) across the state. Before this tool, they struggled to manage infection control, tracking data and reporting manually which required significant time and energy.
The Senior Clinical Director shared that since implementing InfectionWatch™ their facilities have not only saved time, but they have improved their entire infection control and surveillance program.
“The time saved in tracking, monitoring and reporting infections is now better spent caring for patients.”
In addition to their improved infection control process, Lutheran homes earned a deficiency free survey, a huge accomplishment for any SNF.
“We had an Infection Control Survey in our facilities and were deficiency free thanks to InfectionWatch™,” said Lutheran Homes of S.C. Senior Clinical Director. “This was the perfect time to utilize the solution given COVID-19.”
COVID-19 presented a brand new set of challenges for the industry. Healthcare providers were, and still are, being pushed to their limits. The pressure is on, but providers are rising to the occasion to combat the pandemic and protect their most vulnerable patients. Incorporating software solutions eases the burdens of administrative tasks and most importantly, allows facilities to spend more time caring for those who need it most.