Making software instructions quick and easy for health professionals to use

interRAITM is a suite of over 20 assessments that around 6000 health professionals use to assess the clinical condition of New Zealanders in aged residential care and older people living in the community.

Using the interRAI assessments involves a health professional having a structured conversation with an older person and their whanau (family) or carers; making observations; and entering coded information into a software package. This information creates a profile of the person’s needs and opportunities. It also contributes to data on New Zealand’s older people population that the Ministry of Health and district health boards use to plan and develop services.

Creating a single workbook has been a huge step for us. It will make work much easier for our end users and will save us so much time and money.

Margaret Milne

Health professionals have limited time to complete assessments

Older people cannot tolerate long appointments, so health professionals have limited time to complete the assessments. Therefore, they must be able to use the interRAI software quickly and easily during the assessment, so this doesn’t take up too much of the appointment time.

interRAI instructions were in different places and hard to keep consistent

Until now, health professionals have had to access instructions on using interRAI by referring to the interRAI website, as well as workbooks for individual assessments and reading other resources provided by their educators. While there are differences between assessments, around 80 percent of the items are the same. Not only did this mean the workbooks contained a lot of duplicate material, it also made it time consuming for the interRAI team to update the workbooks and ensure the content was consistent.

inerRAI home page

The interRAI team at TAS wanted to consolidate the training materials into a single workbook. They wanted the workbook to be a useful resource for health professionals training to use interRAI, and one that would continue to be a handy reference for them ‘on the job’.

interRAI instructions were repetitive, too long and inconsistent

The original materials had been written at different times and by different people. When they were combined, the draft workbook had inconsistent numbering, styles, layouts, table formats and terminology. The workbook contained screenshots of the different steps involved in using the software, but these weren’t always matched by the accompanying written instructions. Combining different materials also meant the workbook was repetitive and its contents didn’t always flow logically. The team knew that the workbook needed ‘a good proofread’!

Copyediting helped the interRAI team launch a high-quality workbook on time

The interRAI team was under pressure to launch the workbook within two weeks; they needed help to create a product that health professionals could use quickly and easily. I was able to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the project to identify and fix missing, inconsistent or unclear instructions. Copyediting the workbook made the content consistent and clear; consistent styling and formatting made it easy to locate the contents, and made the workbook attractive and easy to read. By removing repetition and sharpening the text, I was able to shorten the document by 10 percent, despite increasing the spacing so that health professionals would find it easier to read.

The new workbook is saving interRAI time and money

interRAI New Zealand successfully launched the workbook. The team are really pleased they invested in copyediting: ‘The sections are great – really clear. All your suggestions have been very helpful, and we’re delighted to have a workbook that is so easy to understand.’ Margaret Milne, who manages interRAI education and support services, says: ‘Creating a single workbook has been a huge step for us. It will make work much easier for our end users and will save us so much time and money.’