Healthcare

Get The Wi-Fi Advantage For Skilled Nursing Facilities

By February 27, 2017 No Comments

Although providing excellent patient care remains the top priority, more and more skilled nursing facilities are offering additional benefits and harnessing technology to raise the living experience of their residents. In a highly competitive market, and with many of these facilities providing top-class medical care to their residents, what sets the successful ones apart is the focus on the experience and satisfaction levels of their residents. In a survey conducted by McKinsey & Co., 63 percent of the respondents said that they would change nursing facilities if offered better food and entertainment options.

Of all the amenities that nursing facilities are now offering their residents, high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity stands out. According to Pew Research Center, 90 percent of higher-income seniors use the Internet these days. They rely heavily on the Internet to stay in touch with their friends and family. Those with limited mobility but with a passion for travel can use the Internet to take a virtual tour of the world. The Internet also gives seniors the option of learning something new with hundreds of online websites offering courses across numerous topics.

Better Management and Compliance

High-speed secured Internet is a great tool for facility management such as staffing, planning duties, billing, etc. According to a survey by HIMSS, more than 80 percent of facilities using cloud servers offer facilities such as real-time monitoring of residents.

According to a recent survey of such facilities, 83 percent of physicians and 71 percent of nurses use mobile technology to care for their patients. This means that, using a smartphone or a mobile device, a caregiver can access a resident’s medical records, manage dosages of medicines, schedule therapy sessions, and write progress notes in real-time. Real-time monitoring of residents helps to keep a tab on their condition, which is important, especially for those who suffer from chronic ailments. Physicians can use e-prescribing tools and immediately transfer the prescription to the pharmacy in cases of emergency, so that the needed medicines can be delivered quickly.

Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) regulations is mandatory for all skilled nursing facilities. The provisions of these acts also make it imperative for all nursing facilities to provide quick access to the resident’s Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI). The HITECH Act says that any facility found willfully neglecting this provision can be fined between $250,000 and $1.5 million. This means that all health records must be available instantly and must remain secure. This will only be possible if Wi-Fi facilities are provided to the caregivers.

Wi-Fi Connection For All

Offering Wi-Fi services can also become a major factor that relatives consider when deciding on a facility. Offering Wi-Fi and high speed Internet to relatives and friends of residents while they are visiting could make all the difference. The visitors are able to check their emails, attend calls, or check on their kids while spending time with their loved ones. The facilities, on the other hand, are able to increase their revenue. A few nursing facilities offer these services for free while others charge an additional fee for the service. The price charged is based on the bandwidth and speed, providing the visitors a number of options to choose from.

A leading skilled nursing facility decided to step up its offering for seniors by recently launching a tech facility program offering mobile devices on rent apart from providing Wi-Fi connectivity. The residents of this particular facility are all seniors, and some of them don’t own mobile devices. Others are unable to handle their devices by themselves. Through such a program, residents can connect with their near and dear ones and see them virtually every day. Many ideas like this one become available when a facility decides to embrace Wi-Fi technology.

Wi-Fi in a senior care facility is no longer a luxury but is a necessity to keep seniors happy and satisfied, and their visitors connected—all this while enabling optimum utilization of resources for the facility itself.

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