Monday, April 28, 2008

PALs Support for a Service Business

In the April 2008 edition of the Harvard Business Review is an article titled, "The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right". After reading this article, I thought how does PALs Software support this model? No question, Assisted Living Providers are in the service Business.

The author, Frances X. Frei, says the success or failure of a service business comes down to getting four things right or wrong. 1. The Offering, 2. The Funding Mechanism, 3. The Employee Management System and 4. The Customer Management System. So how does PALs support these four?

1. The Offering - service attributes (caring, competence), and these attributes match up with customers' priorities.

PALs software will enable you to create QI projects to look at resident/family satisfaction with the staff caring and competence as well as assessing what the resident's priorities are.

2. The Funding Mechanism - are customers paying as palatably as possible.

PALs supports both package, all inclusive pricing, and ala carte pricing. And PALs automatically compares services delivered to services agreed to in the resident's admission agreement. Thus, all residents are assured of getting the services they are being paying for.

3. The Employee Management System - what makes employees both reasonable ABLE and MOTIVATED to produce excellence?

PALs will help staff in being able to provide excellence by giving them a list of shift assignments with times that need to be done during their shift. These assignments are created from the aggregation of all resident service agreements. So staff know what is expected of them and when it is expected. How to motivate staff, is in part, supported by PALs calculation of Shift Productivity (see related blog below). By taking into effect Shift Productivity (hours of service time/total shift time) when developing the staff work schedule, all staff are ensured of working equally hard; or having the same ratio of service minutes to hours worked. This eliminates staff morale issues related to some shifts feeling "over-worked".

Another way that PALs might support staff motivation is to develop another QI project looking at resident satisfaction with staff performance. The highest ranked staff would be given special rewards, and the lowest ranked would be given additional coaching (to improve or terminate!).

4. The Customer Management System - what is the customer's job assignment? The author examines the banking and airlines for how they develop roles, or jobs, for their customers.

In the assisted living industry, for competent residents, they can be responsible to "direct" their own care. For non-competent residents, responsible parties need to be involved in directing the resident's cares.

PALs supports residents to direct their own care, by involving them in the assessment process, monitoring and evaluating services provided, and reviewing with a nurse on a regular basis their current care needs and related services. PALs will provide the data - current services provided and minutes or care, computer aided assessments and care plans, plan review dates, and detailed monthly statements showing dates and times and minutes of care. All PALs data can be shared with residents to ensure transparency and integrity.

The author summarizes by asking if all decisions you make in one dimension are supported by those you've made in another.

This is the strength of computer systems in general, and PALs in particular, changes made in one area, automatically cascade down to all related areas. So whether you change a resident's service plan, or employees staffing hours, everything is kept in balance.

For more information on PALs Assisted Living Software, please visit our website at