Watermark Bolsters Its Vaccine Documentation Capabilities & Reduces Complexities with the Accushield Platform
Regional Director Health Services, Compliance - Watermark Retirement Communities
Watermark Retirement Communities’ paper-based management system for vaccine documentation was inefficient and difficult to manage.
Accushield’s Document Management solution gave Watermark the ability to standardize and easily manage vaccine records for staff, volunteers, and vendors.
Watermark has gained compliance with state regulations at a community level, insight and oversight from an enterprise level, all while easing the visitor impact with a friendly solution and freeing up staff to shift focus back to residents, rather than process and procedure.
The need to standardize and automate vaccine records for Watermark communities was paramount for Merri Miller, the company’s regional director of health services and compliance and clinical lead for COVID-19. So, when Accushield added its Document Management feature in July 2021, she was happy to pilot the platform at 14 of its communities in the state of California.
“We had a community-based paper system that was not standardized throughout our company and could not be reviewed from an enterprise level to ensure that continued compliance was happening, especially as staffing and leadership changes occurred,” says Miller. “You had to be physically at a community looking in a file folder to know that we had a compliance screening program.”
Since California requires all visitors to be vaccinated or tested prior to entering their communities, Miller wanted to “obtain and be able to show proof that we had copies of documents prior to visitors and vendors coming into the communities.”
The Document Management platform gave Watermark quick and easy access to real-time tracking dashboards, as well as the ability to monitor screening data and verify COVID-19 vaccine and testing information. In short, Miller notes, “it helped us standardize the process and make it user friendly.”
Many Reasons to Shift
In addition to ensuring that documents were stored efficiently and safely, Miller also wanted to reduce complexities and improve retention among the company’s personnel. What’s more, it was important to Miller to have the ability to work with a company “that grows solutions” instead of requiring clients to add tests and portals. “Accushield has done this for us; we won’t continue a relationship for a company that doesn’t do that for us.”
From Miller’s perspective, investing in the Document Management feature was well worth it. “When you look at the cost of paper shuffling and manpower and the risk of losing pieces of paper or an entire folder of HIPAA-protected information, having this digital system made any costs associated with implementation nominal.”
Impact Adds Value
Shortened waiting times for visitors to get into the communities has also freed up staff to attend to more important tasks, Miller explains. “Once your information is entered you don’t have to load it again each time. It’s linked to your screening, so once it’s in there you get waived through right after screening,” she notes. “So, it decreases the time it takes to complete the screening and go see loved ones. That’s another advantage.”
Yet another bonus of Accushield’s Document Management platform, according to Miller, is its ability to decrease the risk of someone bypassing the very important screening step out of frustration.
Although Miller has not yet deployed it, she is excited about the potential of adding even more benefits with the Accushield app. “Visitors can easily upload documents prior to arriving at a community’s front door,” she says. “Being able to allow vendors and visitors to manage it from their own phones and their own living rooms was a really thoughtful approach given the direction we want to go.”
A New Normal?
As the world moves into what will hopefully be the end stage of the pandemic, Miller offers her forecast for how it will affect the future of senior living: “Having an infection preparedness and prevention mindset will not go away,” she says, referring to the profound effect the COVID precautions had on influenza in their communities. “When you look at reduction you can make in transmissible illnesses using really basic requirements (such as not coming in to work when you’re sick) will be a foundational element of senior living going forward. I think it allows us to continue an awareness of when you’re not feeling 100 percent, you don’t need to come in today, or visit.”
Miller has nothing but praise for the Accushield team that she has worked with since she joined Watermark in 2019. Their tablet-based kiosks streamline efficient sign-in and health screening processes for all visitors, staff, and residents who enter and exit Watermark’s buildings. “Accushield has done a great job of listening and responding amid evolving regulatory environments,” she says. “This has been challenging for many companies, and we have been blessed with a great team that worked hand in hand with us as we toiled through it. It’s been nuts out there, and they have had to pivot daily—and even hourly—sometimes.”
AT A GLANCE
- Standardizing and automating vaccination record requirements
- Gaining enterprise level visibility of compliance metrics
- Meeting state COVID-19 requirements while minimizing visitor and staff burden
- Standardized, easy-to-use process to obtain, track, and report vaccine data
- Real-time dashboard tracking screening data and vaccine and testing information
- Freeing staff from process and procedure tasks so they can focus on resident care
“Accushield has done a great job of listening and responding amid evolving regulatory environments, … and we have been blessed with a great team that worked hand in hand with us as we toiled through it.”