WHY SHOULD JAILS USE ELECTRONIC MEDICAL MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?
It takes time, money and perhaps most importantly a new way of thinking, for a jail to implement software that will manage their medical process. This is an organizational change that will impact your medical and security staff as well as other departments such as finance. And unfortunately, despite any claims you may hear about “quick and painless setup”, implementing an EMR is a serious undertaking.
So why should jails put forth this effort?
The benefits may not start on Day 1, but will come after your implementation has had some time to “sink in.” When they do begin to accrue, they will be significant and lasting.
Software can reduce medical errors, but there is more to this than may be apparent at first.
Of course software helps simply because pieces of paper can get lost, handwriting can be misinterpreted, and different staff can sometimes do things “their own way”. Those problems go away with any well-designed medical software.
However, HealthSecure takes it one big step further with its design based on prevention. It has features to catch and flag problems at early stages so that automated processes can be set in motion. Addressing problems early is the easiest and best way to improve safety outcomes. The thought we have put into safety goes well beyond simply reducing clerical error.
HealthSecure also includes medication protocols and is currently developing a medical protocol builder: Your physician-providers, working with our Chief Medical Officer, an internal medicine physician with a decade of clinical experience, can set up standardized medical workflows that nursing staff can follow.
Following protocol is a well-established way to reduce more complex medical errors. With both basic and advanced features to improve safety, HealthSecure can be a major factor in lowering your liability risk and improving your jail environment.
While software can reduce errors, human error is still possible and is usually alleged in medical lawsuits. If an incident does occur, HealthSecure has detailed audits, reports and documentation to log exactly what happened. It can allow you to show that protocols were followed, that standard of care was provided, and that you operate a safe medical environment. This type of information might make the difference in whether you win a lawsuit or reduce the damages awarded, and may even help you avoid trial.
SICK CALL & OTHER COPAYS
Certain types of progress notes allow the provider/nurse to charge a copay. The system can be configured to have different progress notes offer this feature.
Of course, going “paperless” will lower your costs somewhat. Any good EMR software should do that. But that is not the only way that HealthSecure, designed specifically for jails, can help you contain costs.
First and foremost, is built with a prevention-oriented stance that is geared towards reducing the amount of medical care your jail has to provide. A detailed booking screening interview collects a wealth of medical information from the inmate that is fed into the rest of the system. This allows medical staff to identify, treat and prevent problems sooner rather than later.
So let’s forget about going “paperless” for a minute – what if the software eliminates even one physician visit? One hospital stay? What if it reduces daily staff time during pill pass, with a sophisticated “Keep On Person” process? What if it prevents a lawsuit because it makes sure you are regularly screening inmates in segregated holding areas? What if it allows you to safely manage medications brought in by the inmate’s family, so you don’t have to order them? What if it allows you to efficiently manage and return unused medications to your pharmacy for a refund?
And of course, if it lets you do all of that with less piles and stacks of paper, less dusty filing cabinets, less “boxes from hell” that everybody dreads going through, with less staff time?
So yes, you will save money on paper. But that just scratches the surface!
A BETTER JAIL ENVIRONMENT
If the inmates see that their care is being taken care of professionally and efficiently, if nursing and medical staff are spending less time pushing paper and more time getting their work done, if it’s easier for security staff to take inmates to sick call, if Finance is getting all the reports it needs, if Standards can easily verify that processes are in compliance, this is a healthier and happier jail environment, both for inmates and the many different people involved in their care during incarceration. This environment should lead to better staff retention.
Retention matters because retention leads to more experienced staff. When you have experienced staff working in a high-morale environment, intuitively that should result in improved safety, reduced liability, and cost containment. Jails have to compete with others for their staff just like anybody else, and HealthSecure can give you an edge in retention.
So, Let’s Do It!
While implementing a medical software system is a serious project, the potential benefits are substantial and long-lasting. The question then becomes “Where do we start?”
Contact us to learn more about the steps involved and our “white glove” implementation process, where we work with you every step of the way, from initial consultation, project plan to system launch.