An analytic approach to service needs assessment in elderly care
Merja Tepponen | South Karelia District of Social and Health Care (Eksote)
The objective of this paper is to introduce a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) for the service needs assessment process in elderly care. The CDSS was developed in the South Karelia District of Social and Health Care (Eksote) in Finland. Eksote is a forerunner in the development of health and social care services in Finland, and improving process efficiency through creation and utilization of CDSS has been one of the focus areas during the past few years.
The purpose of the service needs assessment process is to analyze and determine a person´s needs for care and various services. The service needs assessment process ensures that a person receives the right care and service in a timely manner. Service needs assessment is done as the first step in every contact between a patient/customer and an Eksote representative.
The focus of this paper is on the service needs assessment process in elderly care. The primary objective in elderly care is to allow the elderly persons live in their homes as long as possible. Thus, the service needs assessment process is needed to determine the level of home care services needed. If an elderly person cannot stay at home even with home care services, the right type of care in a nursing home or hospital needs to be defined.
The general objectives Eksote have set for the development and utilization of CDSS solutions are effective workflow management and standardization of tools. In the service needs assessment process in elderly care, the developed CDSS ensures that the assessment is done holistically and based on equal criteria and tools for each person. Furthermore, the CDSS supports in the management of the ever-increasing number of potential customers in elderly care.
The developed CDSS has been in use for about a year by now. In the paper, we present results and experiences from actual usage by using both quantitative and qualitative measures. The overall perception of the CDSS is positive as it has helped in ensuring that the elderly persons receive the right services.