Self-managed work teams are ideal for providing resident-focused quality care. For communities utilizing self-managed care teams, one of the biggest challenges is facilitating communication effectively between team members who work on different shifts and different days of the week. Shift-to-shift communication books are challenging to keep up, and information oftentimes is quickly lost; team meetings are effective, but rarely can all team members attend. While unfortunately EMRs are far behind on collaboration features, several software solutions are available to help overcome communication obstacles, share documents and projects, and strengthen a community within teams.
Here are three of our favorites:
1) Confluence by Atlassian: A combination wiki, task management and enterprise social feed. With pricing that starts at $10/ 10 users, Confluence is a fantastic bargain. Information can be organized through separate wikis; for instance, each team or neighborhood can create their own with resident profiles, team agreements and workflows, while group spaces can be used for workgroups and departments. Policies and procedures can be developed and updated collaboratively, and then deployed for all to see. Because each space can be edited easily, it’s easy to create answers to common questions, and provide routine guidance that allows for greater decision making at the staff level.
2) Yammer: A private social network perfect for connecting teams. Think of it like Twitter and Facebook, but structured for a workplace. It allows for easy team discussion, facilitates document sharing and group announcements, and can be organized around multiple groups (by neighborhood, license type, department, etc.).
3) MangoApps: An enterprise social feed, project management, and wiki solution that also provides online meeting and event management support. Sharing documents is a snap, and it’s even easy to track page views and downloads, which can help ensure accountability within a team. Groups and projects can invite guests to either provide comments or participate fully, which expands opportunities to connect with vendors, providers and family members.
Enterprise social networking tools can dramatically improve communication and provide true empowerment opportunities to work teams. They can also expedite staff announcements and drive engagement on important workplace issues. Project management support can help integrate quality improvement activities, and social components can allow for better cross-shift and cross-functional relationships.
Whatever tool you utilize, it’s important to ensure policies and staff training address potential HIPAA concerns. Hosting software locally allows for tighter controls, but SAAS solutions can be appropriate with sufficient safeguards in place.
(For a great primer on self-managed work teams in long-term care, I highly suggest Empowered Work Teams in Long-Term Care: Strategies for Improving Outcomes for Residents and Staff By Dale Yeatts, Cynthia Cready, Linda Noelker.)