Managing and Tracking Documentation in an Aged Care Environment

May 2021
Mins read
Managing and Tracking Documentation in an Aged Care Environment

While other industries are only just now starting to feel the weight of swimming in data, in Aged Care environments the data trail has always been significant. With record keeping going back many many years, across hundreds to thousands of people, Aged Care providers know just how much paperwork can be involved in running a business.

However, this glut of documentation can be difficult to easily manage and navigate. How long does it take you to find files, track certain incidents across multiple care recipients, or check how many people in your facility have had a vaccination? What about if that file is five years old?

2020’s audits by the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission found that the third most failed standards requirement by residential Aged Care sites (after personal and clinical care) was Effective Governance Systems. Introducing better document management can help with this significant requirement for quality care.

To navigate a huge amount of documentation quickly and with modern search tactics, you need an enterprise file management solution that is up to the task.

Record keeping and documentation for Aged Care providers - difficulties faced

Extensive records across care recipients, staff, volunteers, and vaccinations - and more

No matter whether you run a residential center or meals on wheels service, you’re private or public, whether you’re part of a larger group or a sole operator, as an Aged Care provider, you will have records upon records upon records.

Aged Care providers are required by law to keep extensive and up-to-date records on care recipients, staff, volunteers, and vaccinations. This is not even to mention other record-keeping.

In Australia, this includes facility certificates, advice on aids and equipment, care plans and management, progress notes, performance monitoring, patient transport, support services for carers, visitor registration, and grounds maintenance. For a full list, take a look at the Record Retention Guide for organisations funded under the Service Agreement (2019).

Healthcare industry records

Aged Care providers can often be classified as healthcare organizations, too, or at the least provide some healthcare services, which is important for record keeping regulations.

In Australia, providers are required to keep records on patient care recipients who received a health service for no less than seven years, and up to even 25 years. In the US, it’s a recommended five years for patient file document retention. This can be difficult when records are across different systems (i.e. paper-based as well as digital).

Data security requirements

Data security in patient information must be guaranteed by law. In the US, healthcare facilities and providers and specifically nursing homes much comply with nationwide HIPAA patient privacy policy alongside local laws. Australian healthcare providers, and by extension Aged Care providers, are bound by a number of laws and legislations including the Privacy Act 1988, and various state and territory privacy laws. When you store patient information, it needs to follow specific rules.

Different authorities to report to for record-keeping

Most providers will need to keep different types of records for a number of different regulatory bodies. Knowing the right records to keep for the right auditing can be confusing.

May still rely on paper-based systems

Better funded and more modern Aged Care providers will likely have digitized all their systems. However, those who are a bit behind the times, or simply don’t know how to convert paper-based records to reliable, secure digital copies, will still rely - at least somewhat - on paper files.

Check-in, check-out filing system

With paper-based filing systems, this means that only one person can access files at a time. For legacy electronic medical records, you may not be able to have multiple users accessing and editing the same file at the one time.

The solution to managing and tracking documentation

An enterprise file management solution is the answer to the documentation difficulties faced in Aged Care. With the right solution, you’ll save a significant amount of time, storage space, training, and navigation complexity. 

You’ll be able to: 

  • Surface files quickly
  • Access the same file simultaneously from different users
  • Search more efficiently across all records
  • Organize files to a more granular degree using metadata
  • Reduce paper-based storage overheads
  • Reply to compliance requests quickly
  • Improve information security

But choosing the right solution requires taking a serious look at both your needs, as well as the capabilities of current technologies.

CentricMinds enterprise file management has been designed with Aged Care providers in mind. We’ve consulted within the industry to uncover the most wanted features in a solution. 

Here’s what we developed - and what you should look for in a document management system.

Native enterprise file management solution

Make sure that your files are kept secure, with zero-touch from outside software or locations. A native enterprise document management solution like CentricMinds is deployed in your own cloud and does not share data outside of this zone. This means all the management and organization is done only within your cloud space.

This helps with privacy compliance, as well as ensuring data is not exposed to outsider attacks.

Search file content, not just filenames

If Google only returned results that had the search words in the link, we wouldn’t be able to find what we wanted very easily. The same goes with enterprise search functionality. 

Say, for instance, we wanted to find a care recipient that really enjoyed the floral arrangement class performed by a particular volunteer. We could search for the volunteer’s name, and/or floral arrangement, and hopefully the care recipient’s name would pop up, with a note on their file saying how much they enjoyed the class. You need to be able to search within files to get this greater depth of information discovery that’s essential in a modern Aged Care environment.

Our enterprise search capability, CentricMinds Search, will search inside the content of Office and PDF documents and highlight keywords and phrases for the user. This way, you’ll be able to find what you need quickly.

Regulatory compliance file management

You want your file systems to be automatically compliant with existing healthcare rules and regulations for data storage. File management for healthcare and Aged Care providers requires heightened security and configuration to stay within the law. 

CentricMinds supports regulatory compliance by conforming to an AWS HIPAA-approved cloud stack. The platform must be run in standard or high availability mode to remain compliant.

Other security features include multi-factor authentication, a granular security model, and session timeouts. If you choose for us to manage your CentricMinds infrastructure, we can take care of security audits, penetration testing, and antivirus.

Metadata tagging

To be able to sort and categorize documents more efficiently, CentricMinds uses a metadata tagging system that allows for detailed, heirarchical taxonomy. This way, files can be organized, surfaced, and categorized quickly, easily, and by anyone within your organization. Add tags such as care recipient’s primary caregiver, facility, level of care needed, and more. 

Get started with CentricMinds

Explore our enterprise file sharing and management software for yourself, to see whether it will be the right fit for your organization. We offer a 14 day free trial so that you can see the features in action for yourself across your data. Please contact us if you are interested in chatting with with one of our team for a more detailed breakdown or demo of the CentricMinds platform in action.

Need a little more knowledge? 

Check out the Glossary to help you understand industry jargon and ideas