The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

An In-Depth Look into Ankota's Non-Medical Home Care Software

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 15, 2014 12:37:59 PM

Many of our readers know Ankota through our blog and as a source of useful and informative content on the topics of non-medical home care and home health.  Lately though, we have received a few requests to go over what Ankota offers businesses in the health care space.  So with that in mind, here are some answers to the questions that some of our readers posed:

How long have you been in business?

Ankota has been in business since 2009 and released our first software in 2010.  Ken Accardi, who was an original co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) acquired the assets of the company in 2014.

Can you give us a summary of the functions of Ankota's Home Care Software?

Ankota is designed to meet all of the software needs of a home care business. Ankota handles referral management, clients, caregivers, care plans, scheduling, payroll, billing, reporting and telephony. The software is web-based and runs in a browser.  In addition to telephony, that verifies attendance using caller ID, there's also a smart phone app that verifies attendance via GPS, and a fixed visit verification system that works when the client has no home phone (or does not want it to be used).

What feature of Ankota differentiates you from other home health/private duty software?

There are several features that set Ankota apart, including the following:

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  • Collaboration with referral sources: your referral sources can log in to make referrals and track the clients they've referred.

  • Care Transiition Software: Ankota enables management of care transitions, such as helping to avoid hospital readmissions.

  • Interchangable Caregiver Access on Telephony or Smart Phone: most new mobile phones are smartphones.  Ankota's caregiver functions run  on iPhone and Android phones.

  • Flexibility: Ankota loves working with entrepreheurial home care agencies and developing functions to support new business models.

Can you tell us about the security of client and caregiver information that is entered into the software?

Ankota's software is HIPAA compliant.  All access is encrypted and data is secured in a highly secure data center with redundant sources of power and Internet.  All system components are redundant and backed up.

What determines the software price?

There is a monthly fee based on agency size, plus telephony fees that are essentially like a phone bill.  Ankota's pricing is very competitive and we have great deals for start-ups.

Is the software scalable to different company sizes and also for growth?

Yes. Ankota supports small and large agencies with one or multiple offices.  Our largest client has over 20,000 clients across 8 states.

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Is the software customizable to the features owners want to use?

Yes.  The software is configurable in terms of the modules that are used and settings defining how they behave (such as what criteria are used to determine which visits to review).  We are also happy to develop customized features or interfacs desired by our customers.

What other modules are available in Ankota beyond the basic home care functions?

Ankota strives for innovation beyond traditional home care functions and we are happy to make any of our functionality available to our home care clients.  Some additional functions include the following:

  • Colaboration with referral sources
  • Scheduling optimization (e.g., when aides make many visits in a day,we optimize the routes)
  • Forms for nurses, care transitions and therapists, that run on tablets like iPad and Android
  • Capabilities for scheduling intitutional care, such as services in nursing homes
  • A care transition module developed in accordance with OIG direction

Does the software integrate with softwares that handle other aspects of a private duty or home health company?

Yes, There are interfaces with Quickbooks and a variety of payroll modules. Plus, Ankota can be integrated with Home Health or HME software to bring our telephony, mobile and route-optimization capabilities.

How does the training process work?

Ankota provides training via web meetings. We start with workshops to learn how to set up things like billing, payroll, visit review criteria, and care plan items.  Then we train via web meetings.

How often is the software updated?

Ankota has a continuous deployment process whereby new functionality is incorporated incrementally and as available.  Generally we deploy every two weeks and customer requests can be incorporated in one cycle.

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How Can We learn More?

The best way to learn more is to request a meeting or demo.  You can also consult our website or blog, or download our content such as our 7 habits of highly Effective Home Care Agencies.

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care.

To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.  

3 Reasons Why a Good Title is the Most Important Item in Your Home Care Blog Article

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 12, 2014 2:39:00 PM

Regular blog posts that offer useful and interesting information are an easy way for you to engage prospective clients, current clients, and other folks in the industry with your home health or private duty business.  And as with most marketing-driven writing, the old adage is true: Content is King.  

Search engines have become increasingly effective at categorizing, ranking, and presenting the constant stream of the information on the internet.  The new search engine algorithms are able to prioritize content that is valuable, pertinent, and otherwise high quality by considering what is being written rather than how well the writer has “gamed” the system technically.

That said, because how search engines, social media, and other external sites present each blog post in our searches or in sharable posts, a well thought out blog title can make the difference between your content being seen by your audience over a competitors with similar information to share. 

To illustrate my point and to suggest some Best Practices, here are three points to consider when crafting your next blog post for your home health or private duty business.  The list draws information from this excellent article on the subject from Moz.com.

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1.  SEO - The title is the single most important on-page factor that can help your content rank high in a search engine.  Search engines focus on key words in search results, so if a user has performed a query including those keywords, they will be highlighted. 

2.  Click-Thru Rate - When people do a search, they don’t see your content - they see the title.  “Title tags often show up in both the top of a browser's chrome and in tabs.  Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results. It's vital to think about the entire user experience when you're creating your title tags, in addition to optimization and keyword usage. The title tag is a new visitor's first interaction with your brand when they find it in a search result; it should convey the most positive message possible.”

3.  Social Sharing - when someone shares your article, they don’t share the content - they share the title!  Social media sites use the title of a blog post as its link text. Many external websites—especially social media sites—will use the title tag of a web page as its link anchor text.

So, in other words, without a great title, it doesn’t matter how extraordinary your content is… no one will likely see it.

If you're interested in learning more about ways to improve your home care business, you can click the picture below to download one of our free white papers, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies."

7_habits_effective_home_care

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.  

Topics: Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care, Home Health Therapy Software, seo

4 Reasons to Beef Up Your Home Health Aide Training

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 27, 2014 2:31:21 PM

In her recent blog post, Ginny Kenyon of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting makes a compelling case for why home health care agencies must be on the front lines of home health aide training or risk being left behind the pack.

As Ginny points out, the expectations of your clients and the industry itself have greatly changed of the past few years.  Here are four reasons you need to beef up your home health aide training:

  1. More home health care patients are suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses – and that means your home health aides need to be trained on how to care for these conditions in order to accept these patients.Ginny_Kenyon_Home_Care_Consultant
  2. The use of specialty services in the industry is a growing trend as well. To stay competitive, more home care agencies are offering specialty care services, such as diabetic care and Alzheimer’s care. You need to educate your staff on these conditions and make sure they are current with any new or current treatment procedures.
  3. The health care industry is driving rapid advancements, and new technology and treatment methods are released monthly. Unfortunately, that means that one-time home health aide training or even annual training sessions are no longer enough. You may need to provide training sporadically throughout the year to meet this demand.
  4. Finally, think of how many regulatory changes your agency has seen this year alone. From the Affordable Care Act to Medicare to changes regarding ICD-10 coding, your staff needs to not only be updated regularly, but also thoroughly trained as soon as new regulations come into effect. Inadequate health aide training could lead to loss of income, loss of your license, or loss of contracts with major medical providers. It can put your agency out of business.

Deciding what to train your employees on – and when – can be a daunting task. Kenyon HomeCare Consulting can help design a training program based on the unique needs of your home care agency.

To learn more about home health care transitions, visit us at http://www.ankota.com/care-transitions.

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care, Home Health Therapy Software, Ginny Kenyon

Home Care Leadership Styles: Simon Cowell or Chef Ramsay?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 12, 2014 12:16:00 PM

 Do you lead your home care organization like Simon Cowell or Chef Ramsay?

True confession, I watch reality TV...  I'm really into music and cooking and I've watched my share of shows like "American Idol" and "The Voice" on the music side, and shows like "Hell's Kitchen" on the cooking side.  Both of these shows have (or in the case of "American Idol," had in the past) judges with similar characteristics.  Both  Simon Cowell (music mogul formerly with "American Idol") and Chef Gordon Ramsay (chef and host of "Hell's Kitchen") are good looking and articulate British men who are know for raising their voice and giving harsh negative feedback for poor performances.

But there's a big difference...  Simply stated, Chef Ramsay can cook, but Simon Cowell can't sing.

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On Gordon Ramsay's shows, there are often challenges for the chefs to prepare a fantastic dish in a short amount of time, and perhaps working with something they haven't worked with before.  One recent example comes to mind in which the contestants were given a fresh salmon - the entire fish - and they had to filet it into perfect portions and then prepare their dish.  Gordon Ramsay accomplishes the task on television with ease and never breaks a sweat or lets a hair get out of place.  When he tastes a dish and it's not quite right, he can tell you precisely what ingredients were in it, where the ratios were wrong and what was wrong with the cooking technique, down to the point of identifying exactly how much more or less time the dish should have cooked.

By contrast, Simon just tells you what he didn't like.  Don't get me wrong, he's generally right in his assessment, and back in the early days of "American Idol" he was the only one of the three judges with useful criticism (the other judges were Paula Abdul, the attractive Laker-girl who had a short-lived career as a pop start in the '80s who would generally say something nice, and Randy Jackson, who played bass for the band Journey, who tended to give general feedback of only a few words).  To be fair, Simon is also a very successful man who was earning north of $50 Million a year in his prime, so there's no question that he's bright.  It's just a question for me about how he led.

How Does This Affect Your Home Care Leadership?

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Not a lot of home care leaders come up through the caregiver ranks.  On the home health side, a good number of owners are nurses, but on the home care side not so much...  In any event, when you lead your organization, I'd highly recommend that you lead more like Chef Ramsay and less like Simon Cowell.  You should be willing to roll up your sleeves and lead by example.  I have a lot of respect for Chef Ramsay and if he were to criticize me, I'd know that it would be constructive and that I could learn from it.

I've found often that successful home care/ home health leaders and by extension successful agencies, exhibit this type of leadership style.  If you would like to learn more about ways to improve your Home Care business, you can download a free white paper from Ankota called:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies, you can download it for free by clicking the photo link below: 

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care

5 Key Strategies for Winning in Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 8, 2014 11:23:52 AM

Hats off to Stephen Tweed, CSP and CEO of Leading Home Care, for an outstanding article he wrote recently called “The Art of Winning…in Home Care”.  The inspiration for this terrific article came from a discussion Stephen had with Dennis Connor, 3-time winner of the America's Cup and author of "The Art of Winning: America's Most Successful Competitor Shows How To Motivate-And Win-In Business And In Life!”

 Stephen and Dennis teamed up to present 5 key strategies for winning in home care. Here they are for you:

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  1. Attitude – It all starts when you commit yourself to winning.
  2. Performance – Associating with the best people, seeking incremental improvement, and tracking progress systematically are critical.
  3. Teamwork – Look for hunger and commitment in your teammates. Find people who can break the “good enough” barrier.
  4. Competition – Competition is one of the best sources of self-improvement.
  5. Goals – A strict deadline is almost as important as the goal itself.

If you're interested in learning more about Stephen and Dennis' list, you can read the full article here.

What about you?  What are you doing to apply “The Art of Winning” to your business?  Are there some key strategies that you'd add to the list?

If you would like to learn more about ways to improve your Home Care business, you can download a free white paper from Ankota called:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies by clicking the photo link below: 

7_habits_effective_home_care

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care

Home Care can Disrupt Healthcare with Care Transition Services

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 5, 2014 11:20:34 AM

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen literally wrote the book on disruptive technology.  In his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma; Christensen described disruptive innovation as innovation that unexpectedly creates a new market or value network and eventually disrupts an existingClayton_Christensen market and value network, displacing an earlier technology.

A classic example of disruptive innovation is in the computer industry.  In my lifetime, we moved from $2 million dollar mainframes (e.g., IBM), to $200,000 minicomputers (Sun Microsystems), to $2,000 personal computers (Dell) and then to $200 smartphones (Apple, Samsung).  You’ll notice that the dominant companies in the computer industry changed at each step along the way and part of the reason is that successful players in a market are generally not motivated to create a new technology that can replace their current success at a 10th of the cost.

Disrupting Healthcare

A similar phenomenon can occur in health care.  Today the predominant way that elderly individuals indicate their need for a hospitalization is by showing up in the emergency room.  Costs of emergency room visits vary widely but most studies show the average cost to be around $2,000.  Based on the computer industry example, perhaps there’s a way to make that determination for $200?  Also, hospitalizations in the case of the elderly are often more complicated and expensive and become the trigger event for an individual to become one of the 5% of the US population that accounts for 45% of all health care costs.  So if there was a way to predict and avoid the hospitalization, the value (as measured in patient quality of life, better health outcomes, and reduced costs) can be huge.  If for example the person moves from home and community based care to institutional long term care in a nursing home, their average cost of care in general will increase by $1,600 per month.  (Milligan C in Innovations in Integrated Care: New Opportunities to Better Serve Dual Eligibles.  February 23, 2011. Hilltop Institute)

Christensen has a lot to say about this.  He had enough, in fact, to write a sequelThe_innovators_prescription which was his 2009 Book The Innovator’s Prescription.   In this book he uses examples from other industries to forecast how health care can be reformed to provide better care at lower costs.  There are many concepts discussed in the book, but one in particular is the concept of decentralization.  At Better Health Boston, a one-day event for healthcare industry stakeholders hosted by McKesson Corporation, Christensen explained “In a typical hospital, overheads account for 85 to 90 percent of total costs because of the complexity of offering a ‘one size fits none’ offering.”  He went on to explain that diagnostic functions, surgery and acute care, and chronic disease management require three fundamentally different business models and ideally should be separated.    He also talks about how many of the services traditionally provided in hospitals today can be performed better and less expensively at the home.

Can Home Care Predict Hospitalizations?

Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, president of the company Care at Hand is seeking to disrupt the process of detecting the need for a hospitalization.   Ostrovsky has developed an evidence based methodology for analyzing patterns in care plan results reported by home health aides in order to predict and avoid hospital admissions.  In private duty home care, most of us are already collecting care plan results each time we visit clients.  Within this data lies the information needed to significantly decrease hospital admissions.  In a study involving 561 discharged patients in the second half of 2013, readmissions were decreased by 39.6% resulting in $370,721 in savings and a 257% return on the technology investment.Care-at-Hand-logo-1  Details of this study are published by HIMSS in the article (Case Study: Decreasing Costs and Improving Outcomes Through Community-Based Care Transitions and Care Coordination Technology) (http://www.himss.org/ResourceLibrary/genResourceDetailPDF.aspx?ItemNumber=28301).   Ostrovsky is making arrangements to offer his technology through arrangements with home care software and telephony providers.

But My Private Duty Agency isn’t part of the Health Care Ecosystem?

When the minicomputer companies were trying to displace mainframes, and when the personal computer companies were trying to displace minicomputers, they were in a similar position to where private duty home care is today.  But, there were two differences:

  1. They knew that they wanted to become the next generation technology in their market, and
  2. They built their markets by providing their technology to companies who couldn’t afford the alternative.

Home care’s role in health care transformation is different and more challenging.  There is no “new market” because all of the patients (our clients) exist today.  Also, we’re not trying to put hospitals out of business.  Instead, we’re interested in working with them on tasks where we can save the health care system money and increase satisfaction for our clients. 

Becoming part of the health care ecosystem will be challenging, and there are some obstacles that you’ll need to overcome...but there are also rewards in the form of growth and an opportunity to develop aides to higher levels of practice.  The obstacles will be tough.  Just like the mainframe companies who ignored the minicomputer and PC manufacturers, the hospitals don’t view you as likely partners and it will be tough to break in…

Playbook for Becoming Part of the Disruptive Transformation:

The great news about private duty home care companies is that you know how to compete and sell.  Despite the obstacles, hospitals have needs that you can fill.  Here are some of the concepts to incorporate into your sales strategy:

  • Understand the readmission penalties that hospitals are facing and the opportunity for home care agencies to help.  There’s a two minute video at www.ankota.com/care-transitions tocare_transitions_video-1 get you started.
  • Realize that in some ways, private duty agencies may be a better fit than home health to partner with hospitals on avoiding readmissions.  Many hospitals now have teams of nurses who focus on readmissions and high-risk patients.  But they don’t have people who can easily visit their homes and provide transportation to primary care and follow-up appointments.  This is a need that you can fill.
  • Additionally, care transition services do require some nursing skills related to medications and management of red-flags, but a lot of the work is in educating and empowering patients to advocate for themselves.  High performing aides and social workers are well suited to be trained in these skills
  • Realize that there is a big upside.  First of all, care transition patients become great candidates for ongoing home care services.  Second, hospitals will potentially view the rates you charge for services as being highly affordable
  • Make sure that your technology is ready.  Look into incorporating the Care at Hand technology described above.  Also, make sure that your home care software can accept referrals electronically and share care results with other players in the health care ecosystem.  If your software only does scheduling, you can be left out
  • You’ll need to commit to this opportunity and be persistent.  Don’t give up too easily.  There will be a lot of resistance at first.

The agencies that embrace and lead in these new opportunities will grow and thrive!

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, Avoidable Readmissions

Identifying Risk Factors for Hospital Readmissions in Stroke Patients

Posted by Jed Hammel on Jul 29, 2014 8:54:29 PM

Recently, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center undertook a retrospective case-control study to identify at the time of discharge the factors that are associated with readmission in patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. A detailed review of their findings can be found here, but we’d like to share a few of the highlights…imgres

Investigators found that readmitted patients were significantly more likely to have a prior diagnosis of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, cancer or absence of hyperlipidemia, elevated lipid (fat) levels in the blood.  In addition, readmitted patients were more likely to have been hospitalized two or more times during the year prior to the initial stroke admission.

“These findings suggest that stroke severity and number of hospitalizations within the year prior to the stroke admission are important predictors of subsequent readmission within 30 days, independent of other clinical factors, “ said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and director of its Comprehensive Stroke Center.

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Why does this matter? Hospital readmission, an important measure of quality care, costs the United States an estimated $17 billion each year. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), about half of those readmissionscould be avoided. Even more importantly, avoiding hospital readmission is really what is best for our patients.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

 

 

Care Transition Program Differentiates Home Care Company

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 24, 2014 9:41:29 PM

One key to successful growth in a home care business is to differentiate.   We share other success factors in our free white paper, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Home Care Agencies.  In this blog, we often share success stories explaining how successful home care organizations differentiate their service.  Today we talk about how you can differentiate by offering a care transition service.

Care Transitions Program Differentiates Home Care Company

But rather than making a case for this on my own, allow me to share a success story from the Florida based home health care company,  Paradise Home Health Care with offices in Palm Beach and Broward County.  Paradise offers a program called Transitions to Home Care with the following services:

  • Licensed Nurse meets with discharge planner/social worker and receivesParidise_Home_Care orders on day of discharge
  • Licensed Nurse will transport client home and do a safety check
  • Orders for new RX's are dropped off and picked up by Licensed Nurse
  • Licensed Nurse disposes of old or discontinued medications eliminating confusion
  • Education of new and existing medication by the Licensed Nurse
  • Medication set up weekly pill box by Licensed Nurse to prevent miss doses or overdose
  • Refrigerator checked for expired food

Here's a case study from Paradise showing how their program benefited their client, family members, and their own company (who secured a home care engagement beyond the transition service):

Mrs. S is 92 years old living in Boynton Beach, Florida. She has some degree of memory impairment. She fell and fractured her hip. Prior to discharge from Rehab her son, a pilot and daughter in law, also a professional came in from Maryland to help Mrs. S. home. The discharge planner at Cornel Rehab Hospital knew about our “Transition to Home Program” and recommended Paradise Home Health Care to the family.
 
The son and his wife decided to use the program, so a licensed nurse met them at the Rehab and reviewed the medications and discharge plan with the Social Worker.
 
The son picked up the new medications while Mrs. S, her daughter in law and the nurse met back at the house. Our nurse proceeded to clear out expired medications from the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, again review the new medications, reconcile the new with the current prescriptions and once the son returned, did a medication  pour into the weekly pill container. She also made a follow up appointment with Mrs. S.’s primary care doctor.
 
The following day, the daughter in law phoned to say “she didn’t have the words to express how grateful she and her husband are that they went with the Transition Home Program because even though she and her husband are intelligent people, they found the information overwhelming”. Then when they got to the house, they were surprised at how disoriented Mrs. S was. She had been away from home for about two weeks. They became so concerned about that, whatever they were told at the hospital was just a blur, and they forgot all the discharge information.
 
The nurse handled all of the medical concerns and went over again the medications, what to expect from Medicare home health and answered their questions.
 
They then hired a live in caregiver to stay with Mrs. S for the short term because they realized she was unsafe on her own. She still has live in care.
 
There was no unnecessary re-hospitalization, the family had a level of comfort knowing the medications were properly handled and they turned their attention and time to reorienting Mrs. S. back into her home and routine.

Paridise_Home_Care_Mission

Paradise describes the benefits of their Transitions to Home program, as follows:

  • Reduces or eliminates readmissions to the hospital or emergency room
  • Medication compliance through education and management
  • Reinforces the recommended care plan through education of client and caregiver
  • Ensures a safe discharge home which is comforting for family members in or out of state
  • Ensures follow-up appointments are made with respective physicians
  • Helps alleviate the client's anxiety of returning home.

If I needed care for my mom, I would choose Paradise as a result of this differentiated service.

Ankota provides software for home care and care transitions, and they work together seamlessly.  We'd love to help you make your home care organization more efficient and help you to differentiate via care transitions.

Check out the following additional posts for home care entrepreneurs:

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Elderly Care, Care Transitions, Avoidable Readmissions

8 Apps That Can Reduce Readmissions

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 22, 2014 11:18:15 AM

We came across an article entitled 6 Apps That Can Reduce Readmissions and decided to do you two better.  There's a great deal of interest and development in the "readmissions avoidance" space and many different approaches.  Ours is focused on care providers like home health agencies or departments on aging.  We'll tell you more about it below, but let's first look at other approaches to care transition apps.

8 Apps That Can Reduce Readmissions

Here are the 6 from the article at www.healthitoutcomes.com:

  • Propeller Health’tracks inhaler use for COPD andhealth_care_mobile_apps Athsma patients
  • SeamlessMD has a mobile app for tracking temperature and pain (two potiential signs of surgery complications)
  • GetWellNetwork brings disease specific information to many patient locations
  • CareAtHand is especially cool and we know the founder, Dr. Andre Ostrovsky.  His app tracks home health aide data to predict potential admissions.
  • Vocera Care Experience puts patient care plans into audio and video
  • HealthPatch MD tracks vital signs and detects falls

We'd encourage you to read the full article to learn more about these apps.

Two Bonus Apps That Can Reduce Readmissions

While we weren't chosen by the author of the original article, we've got two more readmission apps to recommend:

  • iGetBetter: offers a patient centric application for adhering to a care plan.  There are two key differentiators for iGetBetter: 1) They have a care plan configurator that makes them flexible enough to handle many disease states (so you can use iGetBetter to provide the functionality of the 1st, second and last apps listed above, and maybe even the third), and 2) They have a staff physician, Dr. David Lebudzinski, who can configure the care plans for you.
  • Ankota (that's us by the way) enables post acute providers to manage care transitions.  You can watch our video for a two minute overview. In a nutshell, the functionality is as follows:
    • Accepts electronic referrals including portable electronic health records (EHR)
    • Gives referral sources visibility into their referred patients in a HIPAA compliant way (e.g., the referring hospital can see their referred patients, but nobody elses).
    • Enables intake personnel to easily accept the referral, match a care provider, and schedule the care transition episode
    • Includes clinical notes based on evidence based best practice (you can use the out-of-the-box notes or customize them).
    • Clinical documentation can be filled in on a tablet (like iPad or Android) and does NOT require Internet access at the point of care
    • Tracks avoided readmissions (by patient, referral source and primary diagnosis)
    • Includes billing and payroll calculations

Sometimes in demos we get the feedback that "your app is great, but it's not what we're looking for," if Ankota is not what you need, perhaps one of the other 7 in this article can help you.

care_transitions_white_paper

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Readmissions, Home Care Mobile Solutions, Care Transitions, Avoidable Readmissions, mHealth, health care app

8 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Avoidable Readmissions

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 17, 2014 10:59:28 AM

Hospital profit margins are increasingly at risk, and as the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program continues to expand under the Affordable Care Act, hospital administrators are really feeling the heat. In a terrific article in Becker’s Hospital Review, eight strategies to reduce readmissions are highlighted:

 1.) Manage care transitions effectively. Did you know that the number one cause of medical errors in the U.S. is the poor transition of clinical care? Not only do these errors harm patients, but they also account for $25-40 billion each year in excess care costs.

  • I_Heart_Accountability_T-ShirtAccountability.  When all care transitions include medical records that meet certain minimum standards, accountability is greatly enhanced.
  • Care Coordination and Family Involvement. Care coordination best occurs via a provider who serves as the “hub” of care.
  • Communication. Timely communication during changes in health status is one of the many keys to managing care transitions.
  • Adherence to National Standards. Care quality is markedly improved when standards of continuous quality measurement and improvement are put in place.
 2.) Employ IT effectively, including clinical decision support. During any hospital admission, use of clinical practice guidelines is known to improve clinical outcome.

 3.) Stratify readmission risk for each patient. How various patient factors like multiple chronic conditions, poor patient education prior to discharge or the presence of adverse drug effects related to certain high-risk medications must be considered in the readmission risk profile for each patient.

 4.) Employ a transition coach or discharge advocate. The importance of the role a transition care coach cannot be emphasized enough in contributing to the success of a readmission prevention program.

  1. 5.) Consider using telemedicine, especially for the sickest patients. Telemetric monitoring is an attractive strategy to alert physicians of changing health status.

 6.) Affiliate with a patient-centered medical home. Research suggests that patient-centered medical homes can decrease the cost of providing care to groups of patients by as much as five percent.

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 7.) Educate patients about readmission risk. Standardized discharge instructions for the highest risk categories are routinely available and effective.

8.) Devise a formal plan to communicate a final checklist before discharge.  A clear and comprehensive care transition plan can greatly reduce any confusion the patient may have about his or her continued treatment plan.

These eight guidelines for preventing avoidable hospital readmissions present great opportunities for hospitals, doctors and care transition agencies to alter existing care structures in ways that have minimum impacts to the system and at the same time provide maximum positive impact for the patients.

To learn more about running a care transitions program and about Ankota's care transition software, press the button below:

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Readmissions, Home Care, Avoidable Readmissions, ACO, ACO Technology, improving healthcare

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About Ankota

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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