Ankota wants to thank the New york State Health Care Providers for the warm welcome we received at the 2009 HCP Annual Management Conference and Exhibition. Yours is a terrific organization made up of outstanding individuals. We're proud to be a part of your organization and look forward to growing relationships with many of you. Thank you to all of you who came to learn about the Healthcare Deliver Management solutions delivered by Ankota and the ways we can help the fine licenced agencies of New York State.
Please enjoy this video review of the meeting.
Here's one for a little fun. Hip-Hop Artist T Pain uses an effect on his voice called Auto-Tune to achieve his unique sound. This video, from the Jimmy Kimmel show applies Auto-Tune to Obama's healthcare speech.
As relatively new contributors to the Blogosphere, sometimes we simply need to give the nod to the elder statesman in homecare technology and in this case, we pass the baton to Tim Rowan of Home Care Technology Report and Dr. Robert Fazzi.
Fazzi released preliminary results from his study, sponsored by Blackberry, on the state of mobile technology. In a nutshell, the results show that devices are getting smaller and that more and more agencies are moving to handheld devices running Windows Mobile and/or Smart Phones.
Here's a link to Tim Rowan's Summary. Blackberry Report Enjoy!
I just read an interesting article by Mitch Wagner @ Information Week HealthCare (link below), talking about a $100,000 grant made to a Princeton student to continue developing an iPhone app that serves diabetics.
Don't be surprised by the rapid acceptance of smart phones in healthcare. They are portable, powerful, and ubiquitous mobile platforms. Adoption in healthcare is just getting started: consider that more homes in the US have cell phones and internet access than they do land lines. This seemed obvious to the Princeton undergraduate, Matthew Connor, and to the residents in the article that welcome their use. This generation not only grew up with technology and is comfortable with it, they may not even remember a day when they did not have a cell phone.
iPhones, Blackberries, and the like are great for capturing complex data for diabetics and many other patients. The wireless services that enable them and connect them with compute resources are massively scalable and reliable. Applications will abound that will assist patients and the medical community to better manage healthcare and organize the model by which it is delivered. It is just getting started.
This model is particularly well suited to assist the transition of care from hospital to home, an area where my company, Ankota, is focused. Once the patient leaves the hospital, multiple parties must be scheduled and coordinated, equipment delivered, and so on. The closed loop system you would expect is virtually non-existent. Treating physicians often have no idea how their patients fare after discharge or if they even follow the doctor's orders and take their medications. People and resources are not well coordinated and operating costs are higher than necessary because of it. The national average rate of readmission is needlessly high at 18%. And expensive.
Smartphones--with the applications and real-time communications to drive them--provide an ideal infrastructure for facilitating care and monitoring healthcare delivery outside of the hospital. This will better enable proactive care that benefits people with chronic conditions, a huge and rapidly growing segment of our population. Patients lives will be improved, hospital readmission rates will go down, and the cost of delivering care will be better managed.
To read the Information Week article in its entirety, go to http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219500004
In our ongoing efforts to keep the home care software community informed of what's going on in our industry, here's an explanation of what the senate finance committee approved. The diagram below and the corresponding article are courtesy of AARP. Click on the picture to see the full article.
Carla Braveman, President and CEO of Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee, FL was the winner of Ankota's iPOD give-away at the NAHC 28th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Los Angeles, CA. Carla's credentials include RN, BSN, M. Ed., and CHCE and now the new distinction of being the NAHC Board Member representing hospice.
Here's a video clip of Carla accepting the iPOD. Thanks to NAHC's Jodi VanWoerkom for filming!
Carla's organization proudly shares that "The Mission of Big Bend Hospice is to provide compassionate care to individuals with a life limiting illness, comfort to their families, and emotional support to anyone who has lost a loved one." Big Bend Hospice is located at 1723 Mahan Center Blvd. in Tallahassee, FL and can be reached on 850.878.5310 or you can find them on the web at http://www.bigbendhospice.org/.
Carla was one of the many NAHC meeting attendees to visit with Ankota at the show and Carla was able to share valuable information to help Ankota better serve the hospice community. We look forward to meeting and serving many other members in the home health community including home care, private duty, HME/DME delivery, home infusion/pharma, respiratory therapy, and rehab. Thanks to Carla and all who visited Ankota and registered for our iPOD giveaway. To learn more about Ankota's products, click here.
The crisis facing the home healthcare care industry has never been more severe than it is today. Just as the NAHC National Conference is taking place this week, Congress prepares to vote on health care reform bills that will decide the fate of many of these businesses. Association President Val Halamandaris explains this threat and NAHC's position in a video statement on the NAHC web site. He explains it in a very frank, clear manner and I encourage you to take a few minutes to view it here http://www.nahc.org/
President Obama has proposed $34 billion dollars in cuts to Medicare home care benefits-or roughly 11% of expenditures-while the Senate bill proposes a whopping $56 billion dollars in cuts. What is clear is that cuts are going to be made, and the compromise will likely fall somewhere between these two numbers.
This is incredibly shortsighted. Instead, we should be driving more care into the home and providing incentives for the health care system to better manage the transition of care from hospital to home. There are tremendous cost savings available here that will be productive, rather than the destructive cuts that are likely to happen.
Consider the following:
1) Lower Costs. Home health care costs a fraction of hospital and clinic-based alternatives, including skilled nursing facilities.
2) Better outcomes. Home-based care supports Aging in Place and Hospital at Home, initiatives that support patients so that they can live productive lives at home. Studies show that patients prefer to be at home and actually fare better when they are able to receive care there.
3) Reduced readmissions. Hospital readmissions run about 18% nationally and, under reform proposals, Medicare will not reimburse hospitals for them. Home health care is the optimal delivery model for the type of follow up care that has been shown to reduce readmissions by as much as 50%. As people are discharged from hospitals earlier, the focus has to shift to provide better transitional care.
4) Chronic Disease. The hospital-based model was never intended to provide the proactive care required for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. A handful of chronic diseases account for more than three-quarters of US healthcare expenditures. This is an obvious place where patient care can be improved and hospital costs can be reduced dramatically.
It is clear that the healthcare system already has appropriate medical expertise to take care of patients better and more efficiently. What is lacking is focus on the process of coordinating and delivering that care. A focus on "Healthcare Delivery Management" will help the system achieve better outcomes with greater efficiencies, while leveraging available skills and resources.
The legislative attitude seems to be, "cut one, cut all," without regard to efficiency and efficacy. Cutting reimbursements without addressing the inefficiencies in the system simply puts greater financial stress on the model we already have.
Why not reward those who take action to reduce costs like hospital readmissions?
Why not reward those that find better ways to care for chronic diseases?
Why not simply reward the models that are the most efficient and effective?
Why not invest in programs that better manage the process of delivering care and show financial improvement?
For more about Healthcare Delivery Management and company case studies, go to http://Ankota.com.
For more about Ankota's exhibit and the conference, click here:
Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) gave the opening keynote address to the attendees of the NAHC 28th Annual Meeting and Exposition. In his presentation, Congressman Waxman demonstrated a keen understanding of what's at stake:
- Many Seniors Fear nursing Homes more than Death
- Home Care is the most cost-effective way of caring for the elderly
- Healthcare spending needs to be reduced, but not at the expense of Home Care
As a recognition for the Congressman's longstanding support for the home care industry and his commitment to fight for home care now, he was awarded the Legislator of the Year award by NAHC president Val Halamandaris.
At first glance, this is interesting. After all, we all have cell phones and are entertained by the explosion of the utility these little devices deliver. I would encourage you to think deeper than that. We are on the front end of a massive shift in the way healthcare is delivered and managed and the penetration of mobile devices is merely symptomatic. They are a necessary piece of the infrastructure and the market is responding to that opportunity.
Medicine is becoming increasingly mobile. In a hospital, physicians and nurses can communicate across floors or buildings, improving the speed of decision making and the execution of care. This can be critical in a hospital setting, for sure. Further, anyone can appreciate how important mobile technology is for the cardiac patient en route by ambulance to the hospital. ER physicians can review an EKG in real time, communicate with EMTs, and better prepare to accept and treat the patient upon arrival. More patients' lives will be saved this way. That is a clear and obvious benefit and a terrific example of the application of mobile communications in healthcare.
The huge and growing Home Health Care market is especially well suited for mobile technologies. According to the National Association of Home Care (NAHC), more than 12 million patients are treated at home. That number will only increase as the population ages and more care is delivered outside of hospital and clinical settings. Companies that provide home health care services and those that deliver medical equipment (DME/HME), supplies and medications are keenly focused on both cost and quality of care. They all need technologies that improve productivity and help them coordinate and manage the home healthcare delivery model. Just a few of the immediate promises include
- Reduced operating costs through better utilization of resources, resulting in improvements such as less time spent driving and reduced fuel costs (see case study note below)
- Increased patient visits, resulting in greater revenue and profitability
- Better care planning and the ability to improve outcomes
- Better coordination with other providers, so that primary care physicians and others can participate in home care decisions, monitor progress
- Items like equipment and medications are delivered before a nurse arrives, so that a nurse visit is productive
- Better communication with family members and "care circles"
One of Ankota's case studies highlights an example of the types of efficiencies that are made possible by this approach. In an industry that drives roughly 5 billion miles each year, better scheduling and planning can reduce miles driven by an average of 25-30%. Or, restated, the home health care industry can reduce its mileage by 1-1.5 BILLION MILES EACH YEAR by using state of the art scheduling and planning software and leveraging mobile devices such as simple cell phones, iPhones, or Blackberries.
To request a copy of the case study referenced above, click here
Being the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Ankota pretty much makes me a geek. So one of the things I'll do on this blog is to help explain what's going on in the technology world to the home health community...
Today's subject is Twitter...
It's not like there isn't enough going on with the web, and social networking and texting and social media and blogs, but now the new thing is twitter. Twitter allows you to send your message to the world 140 characters at a time. This "micro-blogging" site is intended to allow people to follow and contribute to conversations in the blogosphere via your cell-phone (or of course from the Web).
If you've ever used instant messaging from AOL or MSN (or others) then you might be familiar with the ability to describe your status. Essentially Twitter gives you just the status and not the instant messaging.
Even as a geek, I was pretty skeptical of this one and only joined recently. But let's look at what's going on in the conversation about home care and then we can look at how people are using twitter.
In this sample of twitter messages (called "tweets") above, you see several types of discussions about Home Care. @GlenboAZ, @ahier and @ankota talk about new developments in industry statistics. (by the way, on twitter your name is generally preceeded by the "at" [@] sign, this means that the information is at their twitter account, so @ankota refers to information at the ankota twitter site that is updated by my CEO). @Carebuzz, @ECMatters and @jackiehurst both post articles about elder care. @Huntsvillejob has a home care job posting. @HomeHealthNow talks about the upcoming NAHC and Medtrade trade shows. And then there's my favorite @dudelbird who posts about his frustration that his home care nurse is always late.
So what can we take away from this? Well it looks like we can use twitter to do the following:
- See what people are talking about, right now!
- Find out the latest statistics about our industry, a chronic illness, health care reform
- Post and search for jobs
- Find service providers
- Get consumer feedback (both positive and negative)
All in all, there might be some value afterall...
Note that if you want to "stick your toe in the water" you can go to twitter and search for postings without setting up an account. But once you decide that you want to "be part of the conversation" then take the plunge and sign up. It's free...
I'll come back to twitter in a future post and talk more about the finer points like "re-tweeting". But we'll finish up for now. Note that if you want to follow Ankota on twitter, go to www.twitter.com/ankota.
The website www.HelpUsChooseHome.com features a great video depicting and describing the value of Home Care. It describes the savings that the health care system achieves through home care and shows the improved quality of life that is achieved when people are able to stay at home rather then being in a hospital or nursing home.
The purpose of the site is to raise awareness of the value of home-based care in light of proposed federal funding cuts, but we offer it here to the providers of home care, private duty, DME, and related services that you do noble work.