Measuring health outcomes in the cloud
“In the past, all of the steps that our clients need to go through to take part in a class—including registration, enrollment, assessment and attendance records—were completed on paper, which meant that our people needed to carry large amounts of documentation around with them,” explains Nicole Hunter. “We wanted to automate the process of signing up for and assessing the results of our exercise classes as much as we could, and looked for a way to enroll clients and track their progress digitally using mobile devices.”
To help it to design the solution and transition to the new way of working, VON engaged its trusted partner, Armec Group.
“Armec Group have an excellent understanding of our organization, and really took the time to identify the goals of our reporting project,” comments Andrew Ward. “We worked with Armec Group to map out the processes in the exercise program, and design the underlying business logic. This was an important requirement because many of our funders have different definitions for similar key performance indicators, and we wanted to ensure that we could deliver the right information to support their decision-making.”
Today, VON manages the documentation for its exercise classes in the cloud via tablets—enabling it to capture valuable data on attendance, assessments and outcomes directly into a centralized reporting platform.
“Today, all that our people need to carry with them to run an exercise class is a tablet and a Bluetooth speaker—the device even holds all the music we use in the session,” says Nicole Hunter. “At the beginning of the class, our people take attendance and guide any new attendees through the registration and enrollment process via a series of online forms, delivered via our partner’s private cloud. At the end of the class, we assess and record each client’s progress, which means the latest data on client outcomes is available for analysis almost immediately.”
She continues: “Because we loaded the solution with our clients’ electronic medical record data, it’s easier than ever for people to sign up for a class—most of the fields for names, dates of birth and address are already pre-populated. And because all our data resides in the cloud and not on the device itself, we can ensure our compliance with rigorous data protection requirements. In the unlikely event that a tablet went missing, we even have the option to wipe the device remotely."
Demonstrating results, securing funding
By capturing data on healthcare outcomes VON is able to clearly track the effect of its exercise programs on seniors’ health and their ER admittance rates.
“Based on initial analysis of six months of data, we discovered that our classes are consistently helping to improve our clients’ strength and balance,” says Nicole Hunter. “In fact, some of our data indicates we have reduced the number of falls by a dramatic 72 percent—proving that they have an enormously positive impact on our clients’ health.
“Better still, we can now calculate the expected rate of improvement for each client based on the number of classes they have attended, and how regularly they participate in the program. This means that if we see that an assessment score drop unexpectedly, we can proactively alert that client’s director of care to find out the cause.”
She adds: “By reducing the number of falls, we are achieving our government mandate to reduce the rate of ER visits and hospital admissions, which is particularly important considering the strain that Canada’s aging population is putting on front-line care services. By helping our clients to stay healthy, we can relieve some of the pressure on the healthcare network, which contributes to improved care experiences.”
Andrew Ward continues: “Community support dollars are limited, and competition for them is intense. Proving that our classes are delivering results will make it much easier to secure the funding we need to continue to run the program in the future. Our accurate, granular reporting capabilities may also open up the possibility of applying for new sources funding, enabling us to extend the reach of our services.”
By moving to a cloud-based solution, VON can reduce its operational costs and channel a higher proportion of its funding into initiatives such as the exercise program.
“In the past, we spent significant amounts of time and effort in the back office managing large numbers of records on paper,” says Nicole Hunter. “Moving to a paperless solution isn’t just better for the environment—it enables us to work more cost-effectively, and to ensure that more of our funding is directed toward healthcare services.”
Andrew Ward concludes: “By proving that our exercise programs reduce seniors’ falls, we can fulfill our healthcare mandate and safeguard future funding for our exercise classes. Our journey with healthcare outcome reporting is just beginning, but by continuing our close partnership with Armec Group, we plan to dig deeper into our data to find new ways to improve care outcomes for our clients.”