Nick Reilly, Concerto’s new Business Development Manager, explains how facilities management software can help the care sector keep on top of the Care Quality Commission inspection process…
Anybody who delivers care in England – a care home, a home care service, an NHS Trust for example – is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Part of this includes inspections at regular intervals. The inspection process rates care providers against five key standards – also known as key lines of inquiry or KLOEs – which focus on how safe, effective, responsive, caring and well-led they are.
Once each of the five KLOEs are rated, the results form an overall rating for the service, which falls into one of four bands: Outstanding, which is the top tier, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate.
So, there’s a lot that goes into the process, and subsequently a lot of information that each service needs to be able to provide. By and large, inspections are unannounced so services won’t know that the CQC are going to turn up. So even if they’ve had an Outstanding rating, for example, they still need to, at the drop of a hat, be able to answer all the questions the CQC has. They need to be able to provide all the documentation needed and essentially back up what they’re saying with evidence.
Gathering information and evidence is crucial
Capturing data and gathering evidence for inspections via spreadsheets, shared drives or emails tends to be a disjointed and inefficient way to manage this information. We’ve come across some providers that may have a system for managing parts of their facilities management, but not all of it.
Why does this matter? If we take the ‘safe’ KLOE category for example, the service will need to be able to demonstrate that the environment, and the equipment they have, is safe and well maintained. The CQC will ask to see evidence to back it up. This can include things such as service certificates, PAT testing information an annual Legionella test.
All of these things need to form part of a provider’s Planned Preventive Maintenance, or PPM. They need to be able to put their hands on that evidence easily, when requested. And we find, particularly if everything’s always stored in shared drives or on multiple platforms, that it can be extremely difficult to get hold of the information needed. It can be difficult to know if it’s the right certificate, for example, or if things are in date. That side of things can be really challenging, and if they can’t produce the right information, then that will cause issues.
It’s exactly the same principle as getting your car serviced. Providers need to be on top of their preventive maintenance. They need to have a proper regime in place to make sure things are regularly tested and serviced when they should be, to avoid expensive and potentially dangerous failures further down the line.
To put it simply here are four ways that facilities management software can help
- Keep on top of compliance
Most providers simply don’t have an overview of their compliance position. Compiling this information, monthly for example, tends to be a time-consuming manual process, by which time the information is already out of date.
Facilities management software provides a real-time overview of compliance across the whole estate. At a glance you can see, either at a service level, or across the whole of an organisation, where checks haven’t been done, or where things have been missed. It provides peace of mind that anything that’s not up to scratch or is falling behind will be spotted early on and dealt with.
It encourages a more proactive approach. So rather than scrambling around, trying to fix it all before the next inspection, issues will be raised as soon as they are identified, which means they can be dealt with immediately, which is a big benefit.
- Improve efficiency
There’s one thing that most care providers don’t have and that’s the luxury of being able to spend unlimited amounts of money on resources. It’s well-documented that funds are tight for the majority of providers, so anything they can do to be more efficient, without having to increase their overheads in terms of resource or people, is always regarded as beneficial.
Facilities management software can automate and streamline existing processes using customisable workflows, reducing the number of touchpoints to complete a job and freeing up valuable time.
- Boost cost savings
One area where savings can easily be made is around invoicing. This is often done via lots of emails back and forth between client and supplier. Invoices then get paid on a per invoice basis, when they come in.
Facilities management software can help streamline this process and manage the supply chain. Suppliers can be given a login to the system and at the end of each month, or whenever they want to do that, they can send in one consolidated invoice that’s then paid in one go. As the average cost of processing an invoice is circa £30, this can lead to impressive savings and return of investment.
- Increase revenue
A CQC rating can typically have a bearing on what providers can charge. If they are rated Outstanding – the highest level for service providers – then generally that home will be seen as premium over a provider that is rated Inadequate. So, in this way ratings can be tied to revenue. Facilities management software can help drive up ratings which can then help improve revenue, and in turn the bottom line.
Ultimately, facilities management software like Concerto can help care providers to excel in CQC inspections. If you’d like to explore how Concerto can support your organisation, deliver efficiencies and better compliance, then please get in touch. We’d love to find out more about your needs and showcase just what can be achieved.
If you’re a care home or private healthcare provider, click here to have a chat with Nick about how CAFM/IWMS software from Concerto could help manage your facilities and estates.