VHA improves access to data for staff and clients using cloud
March 31, 2022
The transition to cloud-based information management software couldn’t come soon enough for Alistair Forsyth, chief information officer for VHA HomeHealthCare, an Ontario-based service provider caring for hundreds of thousands of clients in the Toronto, London and Ottawa regions.
VHA’s transition from GoldCare’s on-premise solution to its new CloudCare 2.0 version is an integral part of the organization’s digital transformation journey that will improve performance and security, facilitate integrations with third party systems, and allow easier access to the software by VHA’s 2,700 mobile healthcare staff.
It will also provide a client portal for clients and their family members.
A provider of healthcare information management software for home and community care, children’s services and long-term care organizations, Waterloo, Ontario-based GoldCare, introduced CloudCare 2.0 in 2020 and plans to have all of its customers in Canada, Australia and New Zealand upgraded by the end of this year.
“Previously, when we had our on-premise solution, we had to make sure our server infrastructure could scale to the demand,” said Forsyth. “During peak times, things would slow down, so it was less reliable. We have better security now, as well, because we’re able to take advantage of all of the safeguards available through the Microsoft Azurecloud service.”
Personal support workers, nurses and allied healthcare providers had some mobile access to GoldCare’s on-premise solution, but now that they’re able to access the system on a browser, it’s “much faster and easier,” said Forsyth.
The browser-based access made possible by CloudCare 2.0 offers PSWs, nurses and allied healthcare professionals all the information they need for a home care visit, including any past notes and who’s coming next to a client’s home.
“They’ll be better informed and can be more proactive and personal,” said Paula Hucko, president of GoldCare. “And the role-based dashboards built into our software display only the information relevant to a care provider because if I’m a PSW, the information that’s relevant to me is quite different than if I’m a nurse or the CEO of a service provider.
Integrations with other information systems are now much simpler with the fully API-enabled CloudCare 2.0, allowing VHA to connect with a broad range of systems both internally and externally. Forsyth cites the example of an integration with one of its Ontario Health Team (OHT) partners that identifies clients the two organizations share and rosters them to the OHT.
“We also have an integrated care program with the University Health Network that allows their providers to log into our system,” said Forsyth. “Because GoldCare is now web-based, we can provision access to other providers so they can go in and look at a client’s care plan.”
Internally, VHA was able to integrate CloudCare 2.0 with its phone system. When a client or family member calls, GoldCare recognizes the phone number and opens the client file, so call centre agents know who’s calling and have all the information they require in front of them.
One of the most exciting additions to CloudCare 2.0 is a new client portal that will provide clients and family members with access to home care schedules and online tools for communicating with VHA care co-ordinators.
“One of the biggest challenges we have,” said Forsyth, “is the volume of calls coming into our call centre either inquiring about a family member’s service or requesting a change in the schedule.” Instead of calling VHA, clients and family members will be able log on to the client portal. They’ll also be able to message their care co-ordinator if they have a question or provide feedback on the quality of service.
GoldCare has invited service providers like VHA, and even clients and family members to help shape the functionality of the portal. “By 2040, a quarter of Canadians will be over 65,” said Hucko. That’s a smart, tech-savvy demographic that is going to want information at their fingertips.”
The client portal will streamline the onboarding process for new clients by doing away with hard copy forms that family members have to fill out. “That’s all done manually now,” said Forsyth. “We provide clients with documents to fill out and they need to either give them to the provider when they come to the home or mail them in. Using the client portal, they’ll be able to do it online.”
Forsyth is also lobbying to “uberize” the portal to, for example, transmit phone alerts to a client or family member when a PSW or nurse is 10 minutes away. “That’s important to a client because their day can sometimes revolve around when their provider is going to show up,” he said. Other notifications can inform clients and family members about cancellations and plans to send a different provider.
An integration with the EMR that VHA nurses and allied healthcare providers use for clinical documentation is planned, that will populate the client portal with information about a client’s health status.
“It’s just a matter of understanding what information family members want to see,” said Forsyth. Health status updates will continue to be available by calling a client’s care co-ordinator, but an integration with the EMR has the potential to share the latest nursing report, a client’s pain score or other information through the client portal.
“Another nice thing about CloudCare 2.0 is that – like the on-premise version – we’re able to tailor it to our workflow,” said Forsyth. “That’s hugely important to us.”
“With a lot of cloud-based software, you get what you get,” agreed Hucko. “That’s not the case with CloudCare 2.0 and it’s important because one size doesn’t fit all for many of the large providers.
“Technology,” she conceded, “will never replace the importance of the human touch but it can assist organizations, care workers, families and clients with a much more comfortable and safer environment for aging at home.”
About GoldCare: GoldCare is a leading healthcare technology software provider for community, home, and residential care sectors. An integrated approach to care management and support, and dedication to industry-advancing solutions are just some of the reasons why GoldCare is used by hundreds of organizations across Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. To learn more, please visit www.mygoldcare.com.