Measuring the success of technology supports put in place is an important step in the implementation process. When measuring, providers should not only consider the greater independence level of the person supported, but the financial impact as well.
Measurement should occur often enough that adjustments may be easily made, but not so frequently that the process becomes overwhelming. Within the first year, measurement may occur every three months, and then move to every six months or once a year as the plan is fine-tuned to the individual.
Review the Plan, Goals, and Objectives
As a key member of the support team, providers should lead the review and follow through with the end decisions. Helping to define the expected outcomes, short and long term, is important.
Considerations for review:
- Review the Care Plan/Community Support Plan goals and objectives
- Determine if the technology is being used how it was proposed
- Discuss/decide whether those goals and objectives have been met
- Determine whether the current technology and plan continues to be relevant to ongoing goals
Once an initial review has been completed, assess if the critical needs are being addressed and if additional training/re-training is needed. Providers should also identify short term outcomes to discern if they were met and ask if the technology has made a difference—in both the independence of the person supported and in staffing or additional resources. If there are additional outcomes that could not be measured that validate use, make sure to include those in the review as well.
Assess Outcomes and Identify Opportunities
Check-in with team
Providers should ask family, self-advocates, and case managers their opinions about the implementation process so far, including the outcomes. Opinions may be collected either through a formal/informal interview or survey.
- How do family/persons served feel about the new technology supports?
- What do family/persons served like about it?
- What are family/persons served uncomfortable with?
- How does the staff feel about the new procedures and using technology?
- Are they comfortable with it?
- Have they noticed any strengths or weaknesses?
- Does the case manager have additional thoughts on the plan or changes/recommendations?
Review any data collected
To identify if the technology is working as expected (or identify areas for improvement), review any statistical data collected and discuss the qualitative findings. The data collected for review will vary depending on the technology supports in place but will allow the team to identify patterns and trends. These patterns may be useful when discussing the overall workability of the plan, show areas for improvement, or opportunities for increased independence. For example, were response times longer or shorter with technology supports? Were there more or less errors when administering medication? Did the time spent doing a lifestyle task increase or decrease?, etc.
The overall well-being and increased independence level of persons served is certainly the most important factor when measuring the success of the technology supports put in place, though other success measures should be looked into as well to determine the overall success of the technology strategy. Once the outcomes have been identified and weighed against the initial support plan, providers should review the financial output and associated benefits to determine cost effectiveness.
Providers should identify and calculate any changes in revenue or income including rate changes and/or new revenue related to technology use, all direct cost reductions (reduced employee wages, reduced overtime, avoided cost of recruiting and training new employees if turnover reduced or staff hours reduced, etc.), as well as the provider out of pocket cost (cost to rent, purchase and installation of equipment, tech vendor support costs, etc.). The calculation of these numbers gives a surface look at cost effectiveness.
It is also important to consider the financial impact the addition of technology supports has had on occupancy, such as enabling a provider to continue to serve individuals they otherwise would not be able to, the ability to accept someone with needs not previously able to be served by the organization, and new individuals attracted by the technology enhanced services.
Calculating time saved by management by having the ability to check on information remotely is also an important factor to consider during measurement. Review the full list of savings/benefits providers may realize through the addition of technology supports on the ARRM Technology News blog.
Make Recommendations or Alterations
Measuring the success of a technology support plan is important to ensure everything is working as expected and that the self-advocate is happy with the results. Upon measuring and reviewing the plan, it is a good time to explore if any technology supports in place can be eliminated (if no longer needed), augmented or used in a different way, or if adding additional technology supports makes sense to achieve better results or increase independence and privacy.
Based on the review, providers should be able to answer the following:
- Can anything be simplified?
- Is there too much technology for one outcome?
- Can anything be expanded?
- In areas where success has been achieved, is it possible to take the results even further?
- Are there additional duties that technology supports can assist with to further achieve the desired outcomes?
Additionally, from an organizational perspective, this process is unlikely to be a one time event. Hopefully, with the success of the first implementation you and your organization are ready to implement additional technology supports. Reviewing the entire process from beginning to end will help to pinpoint areas for improvement and/or any existing knowledge gaps to seek further insight on.
Some steps may be shortened or simplified, but essentially each new plan addition should follow the same process: have a conversation to determine the desired outcome, find and create a plan to put the new technology in place, obtain funding, implement the technology supports, and finally review and measure the success of that technology.
For additional questions regarding utilizing technology supports in care plans and how to implement them successfully, find a mentor to get the answers you need.