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CMS: Invention and Assessments

Posted by Erica Maity | Monday, September 28, 2015

Technology can also help seniors through invention. The new proposed rules add a lot of common-sense clarifications and requirements that adaptive technology be made available to those who need it. Many communities already do a fantastic job providing accommodations to those with vision and hearing impairments, for example – these rules just codify the necessity for all seniors to have equal access to information. New invention continues all the time both publically (like the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a forum for sharing 3D printing schematics for healthcare such as patterns for low-cost prosthetics) and privately (like Liftware, a California organization that has created silverware that self-balances and allows those with Parkinson’s to eat far more easily). 

Even outside the three points we’ve discussed in the past few weeks, it is clear to me that one of the fundamental requirements of the new proposal, would be difficult if not impossible to complete and maintain without technology. A facility-wide assessment would be required to be updated annually – imagine maintaining that on paper! To be clear, CMS has not clearly defined the requirements of this assessment, mentioning only that much of this information should already be available from capital plans, blueprints, and other existing documents. Those of you that have put together capital plans, for example, without the aid of a dedicated tool – well, you know what those spreadsheets look like, and you know that they’re out of date as soon as you replace an asset or encounter an unforeseen failure.

This document would require, among other things, quite a bit of information about the facility’s physical environment, including lists and descriptions of buildings, vehicles, and medical and non-medical equipment. Hospitals are already required to keep many of these inventories, but many of the LTC organizations that I speak to on a daily basis do not have such a formalized list. If these proposed regulations get passed, a system that allows you to keep and update these records in real time (like a CMMS or a capital planning tool) could mean the difference between simply printing out a report and spending a week compiling a document.

In short, technology is going to become a more and more integral part of managing and supporting senior living communities. Residents and their families are going to demand it, and ever-busier staff members are going to require it to get their jobs done efficiently. The government isn’t telling you to move away from filing cabinets, binders, spreadsheets, and whiteboards, but as we all know, healthcare in general isn’t getting any less regulated, and filing cabinets aren’t getting any smaller. Especially if these new proposed rules are approved, the smart choice for administrations is going to be to move in the direction of automating and digitizing as much as possible sooner rather than later.

Erica Maity Erica Maity is a healthcare solutions expert who has been with Dude Solutions for three years. She has a passion for making sure that operations teams get the tools, insight, and respect they need to get the job done.