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HTM Speaks with Isabel Sum, Director for Home Support Operations at Community Home Support Services Association

Community Home Support Services Association (CHSSA), commenced operations in 1938 as a division of Family Services, and is Vancouver’s oldest provider of home support service. The agency has a tradition of high quality service and a reputation for being at the ‘cutting edge’ regarding the development and delivery of new services. Community Home Support Services Association is one of B.C.’s largest freestanding non-profit providers of in-home health care services to the elderly and individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The services maintain vulnerable people in their homes or home-like environments in the community and provide a more meaningful and cost-effective solution than institutionalization. The mission of CHSSA is to provide a range of in-home health support services which promote independent living through client–centered practices that reflect sensitivity, innovation and flexibility.

HTM: Please introduce yourself, your background and your current role within CHSSA

My name is Isabel Sum, Director of Home Support Operations at Community Home Support Services Association (CHSSA) based in Vancouver, Canada. I am responsible for the operational management of CHSSA’s home support service delivery system. I have worked in this organization for over 12 years.I started out as a field supervisor and have worked my way up to my current position.

HTM: Who is CHSSA and where did it all begin?

CHSSA commenced operations in 1938 and is Vancouver’s oldest provider of home support service. The agency has a tradition of high quality service and a reputation for being at the ‘cutting edge’ regarding the development and delivery of new services. Today, CHSSA is one of B.C.’s largest freestanding non-profit provider of in-home health care services to the elderly and individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities. CHSSA employs over 600 community health workers who provide service in over 40 languages to approximately 2,200 clients in Vancouver and Burnaby.

HTM: What do your clients want, need and desire?

Our clients want a range of in-home health support services which promote independent living through client–centered practices that reflect sensitivity, innovation and flexibility. They want continuity of quality care from certified and well trained Community Health Workers (CHWs).Typical services include personal assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, assistance with medications and assistance with mobilization.

HTM: The Canadian market for wireless home-based healthcare applications and services will grow. Why did CHSSA become a leader in this area and move forward with CellTrak’s mobile application and platform in 2009?

In the last few years there has been a focus on technological advances in home care application and we wanted to take advantage of the capabilities they can offer to facilitate our operational needs. Through our scheduling software provider Procura, we were introduced to CellTrak. In 2008, we started to explore how CellTrak could enhance our operational workflow and found that CellTrak had the best product on the market for our needs.We were then able to work together with CellTrak to put together a package that met our operational and budget requirements. CellTrak allowed us to have a competitive edge during a recent tender process.

HTM: How does CellTrak’s mobile technology help the clients and the business needs at CHSSA?

CHSSA provides a variety of health care services during in-home client visits by our CHWs. We used to schedule these visits and communicate them to the CHWs by voice mail. The CHWs would keep their own paper records.Bi-monthly these paper records would be collected and matched and recorded into the payroll and support systems. This was time-consuming and inefficient for both administrative and field staff and left room for communication breakdowns and more importantly, missed appointments. We found that CellTrak running on mobile devices on a wireless network was an efficient, secure, easy-to-use, point-of-care mobile data solution that replaces most of our paper and manual processes. The results for CHSSA are better communication, faster processing times, reduced paperwork, improved data accuracy, increased compliance and delivery of better client care.

HTM: Explain a typical day in the life of a home care agency using CellTrak technologies:

Our administrative staff input visit and care plan information and update any changes in our scheduling software, which sends this information to CellTrak which in turn transmits it to the CHWs’ mobile devices. Our CHWs now have all their daily information delivered in real time to their mobile devices.When each visit is completed, the CHWs update the visit and input their transportation information.This information is transmitted via CellTrak back to the administrative staff which allows them to keep up to date information on every client visit.

HTM: Many healthcare technology and IT organizations talk about change management during many new technology roll outs, and how “people”, not “technology”, can be the major reason implementations are unsuccessful or delivered over budget or not on time. How did it all go when CHSSA implemented CellTrak?

Once we made the decision to purchase CellTrak, we put together an implementation team to ensure that all aspects of the project were addressed.The key to a smooth roll out is to eliminate as many of the unpredictable factors as you can with advance planning. Learning from other companies which had already implemented CellTrak was important to having a successful rollout. CellTrak also worked closely with us through weekly meetings and onsite visits, providing suggestions and training sessions.

HTM: Explain your Canadian home healthcare market, and the core products and services that are in demand from home healthcare providers today:

As the population ages, there will be increasing pressure on the publicly funded health care system to fund home healthcare services. The core services that home health care provides are assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, toileting and grooming as well as certain types of clinical assistance.These home healthcare services allow people to return home sooner from hospital or remain in their homes for as long as possible and provide more meaningful and cost effective solutions than institutionalization.

HTM: How will your business expand in the coming 5 years and will CellTrak play a roll in that expansion?

We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective with our resources. CellTrak has listened to our needs and suggestions and have worked with us to develop solutions and enhancements for the specific needs of our organization. We fully expect this cooperative relationship to continue.

Last modified onThursday, 27 June 2013 09:27

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