PerfectForms, a company that enables anyone to create custom workflow applications online, and the State of Oregon's Office of Long -Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO), today announced the statewide roll-out of an online reporting process that will save time and result in better care for residents of the state's long term care facilities.
Oregon's LTCO Program is charged by statute to investigate problems and complaints at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult care homes, and to advocate on behalf of residents to improve their quality of life and quality of care. Currently, over 125 trained and Certified Ombudsmen Volunteers are tasked with investigating and resolving complaints at more than 4,000 long-term care facilities, working with agency staff to report results to state and federal authorities.
"Our volunteer ombudsmen do a tremendous job and we couldn't achieve our mission without them, but until now they've been challenged by the paper system used for the required reporting of case details," said Mary Jaeger, the Oregon State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. "Replacing paper forms with electronic processes will save time and simplify tasks, but the transition also supports our goal of increasing volunteers , who will serve more elders in need. "
Ombudsmen formerly relied on a paper-based process for tracking complaints and resolutions wherein they would record cases on carbonized, legal-size forms. The forms would later be delivered to agency support staff to be manually entered into the Federal database. The lack of consistency in the use of 132 codes printed on the back of these forms contributed to a complex and potentially error -prone process. These codes are used to categorize issues such as resident care, medications, billing, lost property, meal quality, evictions, guardianships, dignity and respect, and care plans.
Using Web-based "smart forms" from PerfectForms makes entering, submitting and reporting much quicker and reduces errors by implementing drop-down menus and check boxes that only allow for an appropriate combination of codes to be selected. Moreover, the electronic process provides ombudsmen with a better understanding of the codes they choose as full definitions are now only a mouse click away.
The Perfect Solution at the Perfect Price
With falling state revenue over the past few years, agencies including Oregon's Office of Long Term Care Ombudsman have been forced to do more with less. The combination of experience that Certified Ombudsman volunteer Bill Bard brought to the agency – as a retired IT executive in the airline industry and a volunteer for other healthcare organizations – made a significant impact.
"Through volunteer work for a healthcare organization in the private sector, I witnessed the introduction of a similar online reporting process that made the job much more efficient, but it probably cost them many thousands of dollars and a year to build," said Bard. "Cost is obviously an issue for a government agency, but if we could build something similar for the Office of the Long- Term Care Ombudsman that would bring even a fraction of the benefits, it would be worth it."
Bard began investigating low-cost options and in December 2009 discovered PerfectForms. In a few short weeks, he had developed an online form and automated the workflow behind it, and began piloting the process in three of Oregon's counties. Now, four months later, the program is being rolled-out statewide. The new system – which meets all state and federal guidelines for security and privacy – will cost the state less than $1,500 annually and can be maintained on an ongoing basis by agency staff.
"The ease-of-use, security, scalability and customer support that PerfectForms provides is truly amazing – especially at that price point," continued Bard. "I could probably run a small airline on PerfectForms."
In addition to the benefits for volunteers, the new system lets agency staff access data easily using automated reports that provide insight into things like open cases, most active volunteers or most frequent complaints. For more information about Oregon's Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman, visit www.oregon.gov/ltco.
PerfectForms provides a totally new way of managing business tasks for millions of businesses around the world. Our goal is to enable organizations to manage information in a way that is usable, affordable, looks great and gets rid of the need for programming. PerfectForms is a completely new approach to information management, collaboration and communication and it will weave itself into the fabric of the Internet. For more information, visit www.PerfectForms.com.