Welcome back to our ongoing series about trends that will impact the future of healthcare! So far we’ve heard about the six trends that are going to change the future of healthcare and discussed the changes affecting the future of the IDD, HHS, and behavioral science fields.

Today, we’re sharing our chat with Debi Damas, RN, Senior Product Manager of Senior Care here at Relias Learning. Damas, with more than 18 years of senior care clinical experience, has a certificate in legal nurse consulting and extensive regulatory compliance experience. Her hands-on and collaborative leadership style empowers the Relias’ Senior Care Team to achieve quality benchmarks for all of our senior care offerings.


How are services, specifically in post-acute care, changing? What’s driving these changes?

Debi: There are so many changes going on right now with the introduction of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), bundled payments, focus on hospital readmissions, pay-for-performance, and the shift away from the traditional pay-for-services model. We're seeing consolidation of organizations that is decreasing the number of smaller organizations that exist. The Affordable Care Act is the driver for these changes. Our healthcare system has traditionally been very costly, with a lack of focus on prevention and outcomes. However, the tides are shifting. There is a prediction that under the Five Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes, those organizations that are one-star performers will cease to exist over time.


How will providers need to adjust in response?

“This isn’t your grandma’s nursing home” can certainly be said of today’s organizations. In a healthcare market that is quickly changing focus on outcomes rather than just the provision of services, it’s imperative for providers to look at their outcome data to determine if they are walking the walk, not just saying they are providing real quality care. If they aren’t, why not? And more importantly, how can they turn it around? Organizations that are looking for opportunities to continually grow, learn, change, and produce high-level outcomes they can prove will be most successful. Are staff prepared to take on the higher acuity that they are seeing?


How does technology play a role in these changes?

Technology is a crucial aspect of an organization. It allows them to see, touch and feel their data in real time, and to be able to act on what they are seeing quickly.  Technology also makes it possible to train staff that may be not all be in one location, or who have work schedules that make it difficult to attend live training.  It is important to know the competency level of staff and be able to correct any inaccuracies in the provision of care before there is a negative impact on outcomes.  It is also important that every staff member receives the same message, something that is often lacking when presenting important information in multiple face-to-face encounters.


What types of development and training will organizations need to provide? What does the ideal staff member look like a couple years from now?

Organizations are going to need to look beyond compliance training and make ongoing learning part of their culture.  Learning and education are not “check-the-box” activities.  They are lifelong and changing experiences.  Learning isn’t just about knowing the didactic information, but in knowing how to apply it.

We are grooming people to be better clinicians, better leaders.  We need to give them the tools to adapt to the changing clinical and economic environment that will not only be rewarding for our organizations, but personally rewarding for our staff.

A newer approach to learning is the concept of a flipped classroom.  Courses taken online provide the framework or didactic information for a topic, then the classroom is used as the application setting of that knowledge.  Short, meaningful encounters for follow-up learning boost the knowledge level already received.  All of these changes lead to the necessity to keep learning at the heart of everything we do.  It is more important now than ever before.


What about you? We’d love to hear your perspectives on these and any changes you foresee for the Senior Care community. How are you and your organizations adjusting to the changes in guidelines and legislation? Tell us in the comments!


Learn more about our latest product release or read about The Seventh Trend: Workforce Shortages!