Integrated infrastructure offers providers a brighter future

Single sign-on and interoperability will give care providers valuable capabilities to strengthen levels of care, write Jonathan Papworth and Tammy Sherwood.

Single sign-on and interoperability will give care providers valuable capabilities to strengthen levels of care, write Jonathan Papworth and Tammy Sherwood.

There is no doubt that technology improves the delivery of social care services. It can streamline processes, improve quality of care, reduce workload, give care staff more time to spend with residents and deliver better resident outcomes.

Care providers are using numerous business and clinical systems in the current climate to manage and monitor:

  • workforce, finances, occupancy, policies and procedures, incidents and assets
  • care planning and recording, medication, movement, falls, fluid, wounds, continence, nurse call, meals and dining
  • visitors and family communications.

Different care settings may not need all these systems. Some may have additional systems not listed above, but the scope of all the systems together in one solution is vast.

Whilst some suppliers can provide a few of these systems – either in a single integrated product or from multiple products – the probability of any single supplier providing all the technology care providers will end up using is effectively zero.

No one supplier can provide the best solution for every care provider. There is logically no alternative other than to accept that care providers will be using systems from multiple providers.

The current practice of users having to remember multiple username and password combinations is unrealistic in a busy care setting, and so the base requirement for the future is a process called single sign-on, where each user has one strong username and password with two-factor authentication.

In larger organisations, this will be provided by the IT infrastructure so that logging into any computer will control access to all the systems the user then operates. In smaller organisations, this process can be provided by cloud services like Google or by one of the products providing user authentication to all other products.

Any user will predominantly interact with a small subset of the products as remembering all the different user interfaces will be unrealistic, so the next requirement will be that every product in the care setting, has the capability to communicate information to any other product that would benefit from this information.

A simple example of this is with aged care residents. When a new person arrives at a care setting then the systems managing or monitoring occupancy, care planning and recording, falls, fluids, wounds and continence all need to be informed automatically about the new resident based on their care needs.

This will require all products to have the capability of being aware of the other products. This is usually achieved through open application programming interfaces, more commonly know as APIs.

While care providers may be able to connect up their products themselves, most will have limited interest in doing so, making products that have built-in interoperability features more beneficial to providers.

With single sign-on and interoperability as part of the equation care providers will have two valuable capabilities.

The first is to be able to select the best product for their particular care setting, irrespective of the supplier of each product. This offers a true pick and mix opportunity.

The second is that any selected product will be able to be swapped out should needs change in the future, without needing to replace other products used by the business. This approach helps to future-proof the overall solution.

Jonathan Papworth is founder of Person Centred Software, and Tammy Sherwood is CEO of Person Centred Software Australia & New Zealand

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Tags: jonathan papworth, Person Centred Software, tammy shwerood,

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