For many individuals–the elderly, the disabled, or those with special needs–it’s an amazing benefit to find a living situation where residence and health care services converge. Because those who stand to benefit from this type of living arrangement vary widely in terms of the level of service required, there’s also an enormous variety of living options. Wherever your company falls on the spectrum of services offered, there is one thing that is certain: You face a major business management challenge day in and day out. To help run an efficient and profitable organization, there are many business and financial management software tools available that bear consideration. Read on to find out more about software designed for assisted-living providers and how it can benefit your organization.
The Unique Requirements of Assisted-Living Organizations
The business management of assisted-living organizations entails a number of operational dimensions. Not only are your residents typically tenants, they’re very often also your patients. This unique blend of health care and property management requires specific software functionality to create the financial management efficiency that companies in other industries may find easier to accomplish with more basic tools.
Comprehensive systems for the assisted living industry typically include financial management, property/tenant management, and health care functionality. Choosing the right software can help dramatically increase your ability to meet the wide-ranging business challenges that face companies in your industry.
Software for Tenant and Property Management
When it comes to residential care, one of the major challenges is managing the data processing related to both the residence and the residents. Tenant and property management oriented functionality offers a suite of tools designed to make the task easier:
- Lease creation. Creating lease agreements with each tenant is one of the most important aspects of your relationship with the tenant as it lays out all of the terms of the lease. After you create the lease in the software, you can track the terms of that lease including start date and lease expiration, rental amount, and any other details about the unit.
- Rental income recognition. Effective property management requires a clear picture of income and expenses by unit. In some instances, especially retirement communities offering care services, there may be varying ownership by property to track. A solid assisted-living solution should allow you the ability to not only recognize income received and the tenant it came from, but also identify property and ownership relationships.
- Manage maintenance requests. Facilities maintenance requires the management of ongoing service work and job tracking. Work order modules, scheduling applications, equipment inventory tools, and other applications can help lighten the facilities maintenance burden your company carries.
- Activities management. More and more organizations sponsor activities to keep their residents active and sharp. Scheduling and resource allocation tools can help simplify the challenge of providing activities to your residents.
Health Care Specific Software
One of the most complex aspects to residential care and assisted living management is the health care component of the business. Having the right software in place will allow you to properly invoice the appropriate parties as well as properly track medical records. Below are some more details of the features you will find in the health care modules.
Electronic medical records (EMR). Health care work presents an enormous data challenge. A major part of the data of course arises in the form of patient medical records. Electronic medical records software (EMR) provides an automated, digital method of managing patient records designed to improve clinical workflows. An EMR module handles everything from the basics (contact info, for instance) to the complex (SOAP notes, medications, lab results, and beyond). The ability to have a consolidated repository for medical records provides a number of advantages including access control and security (HIPAA compliance), improved ability to reference medical histories, and an efficient method for allowing quicker and more accurate diagnoses and treatment resolutions.
Medical billing. Managing for multiple payers and the insurance claims process is not easy. Handling coding, approvals and rejections, 3rd party clearing houses, and eligibility verifications only raises the stakes. A strong medical billing module provides an invaluable asset in terms of billing Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies, and patients. Medical billing automation is not solely a matter of increasing efficiencies. It’s also a critical part of improving cash flow and the overall patient experience.
Financial Management Software for the Assisted Living Company
Every company needs a solution to manage their finances. Common application needs for your industry include:
- Accounts payable. The accounts payable module allows you to easily pay your vendors and suppliers in a timely manner. By scanning invoices into the software, you will be able to associate the invoices and supporting documents with specific payables transactions. This allows you to quickly pay your vendors and suppliers ensuring timely delivery of services. Additionally, you will have better visibility into the bills you are paying by department, location, facility, and company.
- Accounts receivable. Your accounts receivable module will allow you to track and age your outstanding payments. As with any AR package that handles receivables for payments that may include medical billing, the ability to access advanced features allowing payment from multiple pay sources is critically important. Tight integration between your billing systems an can speed the collections process, ensuring more timely payments and improving your cash flow.
- General ledger. Whether you have a single entity or multiple companies, the general ledger allows you to consolidate financial data to create financial reports. You can create financial statements by location and consolidate as needed but also create financial reports based on your type of organization (public, private or non-profit).
- Business intelligence and reporting. Often, the standard reports offered on a module by module basis are not enough. When you need to create more complex reports, report writer modules allow you to directly query the database. Business intelligence management dashboards will allow members of management to track key performance indicators.
- Payroll and Human Resources. Your employees are just as important as your customers and one way to keep your employees happy is to pay them on time. The payroll software will allow you track the employee hours and process payroll for those employees. Additionally, the HR system will allow you to track employee information including benefits, certifications and PTO.
A Closer Look at the Needs of Different Types of Assisted Living Organizations
Because there is a wide range of services offered by assisted living companies, it’s worth considering some of the differences between the various options and how they can affect the software requirements.
- Independent living. Independent living options are characterized by community living that offers some measure of assistance or management of social or health services, but a lesser degree than either managed care facilities or nursing homes. Common software tools that are more typical for independent living facilities and communities include functionality designed to track activities, recurring dues (such as association or condo), and government subsidization of residence expenses (HUD).
- Managed care. Managed care communities provide a broader array of social and health care services than the basic options that may be offered by independent living choices. While residents typically maintain their own living space, they generally are able to access community provided assistance for things like meals, housekeeping, and on-site health care. Some organizations offer bill-paying and financial management options and tools that support trust accounting become very important given these offerings.
- Nursing homes. The requirements of nursing homes are not dissimilar to those of hospitals. Modules that address medical materials management, staffing the right employees with the right care certifications, and provide other health care specific functionality represent specialized needs applicable to nursing homes.
Taking the Next Steps
Because of the variety of assisted-living organizations operating and because of the level of specialization required in the software, finding the right program for your organization can be a difficult and time consuming adventure. Whether you are looking for a complete ERP system or specific functionality to augment existing software, through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate the most relevant solutions for your requirements. Get started today!