The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

Home Care Software Geek explains LinkedIn

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 30, 2009 11:04:00 PM

In our ongoing effort to educate the home care industry on what's going on in technology, here's an introduction to LinkedIn from Ankota's CTO and resident software geek.

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site.  It allows you to connect with people who you've worked with and keep up with them.  It's a great way to be able to see what's happening in their careers and to keep in touch, plus you can publish updates about your own situation...

Here's the LinkedIn main menu (that you see when you're logged in).

Linked IN Menu

Let's talk about some of the things you can do in Linked-IN:

  • Home: your home page gives you a view of the latest updates from the people who you're connected to.
  • Profile: allows you to post a personal profile (essentially a mini resume) including a summary of what you're doing in your career, your job history, education, etc.  You can also share your email address and tell people what you're interests are on linked in.  A nice thing about having a profile on LinkedIn is that it shows up very prominently when people search for you on the internet.  As you'll see in the screenshot below, when I search for my own name on google, my LinkedIn profile is the first thing that pops up.  (You'll also note that the next item listed is outdated - a job I left in 2005 - so it's nice to know that your LinkedIn profile will be at the top of the list.)
    Google search for Ken Accardi reveals LinkedIn Profile 
  • Contacts: Allows you to maintain a list of people who you are connected to.  Connections are made via a request and an acceptance.  So if you sign up, you can search for people you'd like to connect with and invite them to connect.  Similarly, you'll get connection requests from others.  A trick is that if you don't want to connect, you can simply archive the request so you don't offend anyone.  For example, I'll occasionally get a connection request from someone at Virginia Tech or Babson College (where I did my masters and my MBA) who I don't know and I generally archive those if I don't know the person.
  • Groups: this allows you to sign up for groups that interest you.  There are tons of groups such as schools you've gone to, companies you've worked for, etc.  There are also a few home care groups and other health care groups (for example I subscribed to the Connected Health group, and the the Home Care Executives group).  The content from the groups can be hit or miss...  Sometimes people use it to advertise their wares, so you need to filter out the "spam", but the groups often have good content such as interesting articles, other discussions and job postings.
  • Jobs, Messages, Answers and More: Other topics on LinkedIn are job postings (these are paid for, whereas pretty much everything else in LinkedIn is free), messaging (such as when someone is interested in connecting with you), and Answers (a place where you can post questions or answer questions where you have expertise).

I find that LinkedIn is useful to be a part of and doesn't take a lot of time to keep up with.  Many people find jobs through people they know and LinkedIn is great for keeping those connections.

You can go to Linked in at www.linkedin.com.

Topics: home care software geek

Aging in Place Technology Trends for 2010

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 28, 2009 8:47:00 AM

Here in the Home Care Technology world, we keep our eye on a very closely related set of technologies designed for Aging in Place, and nobody tracks this better than our friend Laurie Orlov.  You can follow Laurie's blog here.  Also, we'd like to thank Laurie for spending an hour learning more about Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management a few weeks ago.

Laurie Orlov is an expert at Aging in Place

Laurie wrote a strong summary of the biggest trends that she say in the Aging in Place technology world and summed them up in this article entitled 2009 Spawned Ten Aging in Place Trends to Watch in 2010.

Among the top trends that we particularly want to keep an eye on are the following:

  • Location-aware tech enables more info, greater safety
  • Mobile health app possibilities grow
  • Virtual doctors' visits and other health innovations
  • Broadband access and Internet use among seniors grows
  • Caregiver portals and tools blossom

With Ankota's vision to improve care coordination, we expect that home care management software will directly interact with aging in place technologies and that scheduling for home health will be enhanced to interact with home monitoring systems.

Aging in Place Technology watch

 

 

Topics: Elderly Care, Care Coordination, Aging in Place Technology

Is Scheduling for Homecare Today's Biggest Challenge?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 24, 2009 11:17:00 AM

Actually it's a trick question, because today is Christmas Eve...  Think of all the visits that Santa needs to schedule today!  We know that home care scheduling software is tricky and we're proud of what it can help our customers do, but today we give the nod to the ultimate home care provider - Santa!

To track Santa's travel around the world, our friends at Norad have built a cool site in conjunction with Ankota partner Google maps.  To track Santa's travels, click here.

Here's a view of the places Santa has already been as Christmas comes around the world!

Norad and Google Track Santa

Have a Great Holiday!

Topics: Holiday Wishes, Home Care Scheduling Software

Health Care Reform Point and Counterpoint

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 23, 2009 12:44:00 PM

In order to give a fair and balanced view of healthcare reform, here's a set of links to sites who have opinions on the matter.  As you'll see, the list includes both positive and negative views.

HealthCare Reform — Interesting Links
 
PRO
 
AARP - www.aarp.org
 
The White House - www.healthreform.gov
 
Stop Medicare Fraud - www.stopmedicarefraud.gov  
 
The American Medical Association - www.ama-assn.org  
 
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare - www.ncpssm.org
 
Medicare Rights - www.medicarerights.org
 
National Coalition on Healthcare - www.nchc.org  
 
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging - www.aahsa.org
 
American Hospital Association - www.aha.org
 
Families USA - www.familiesusa.org
 
CON
 
60 Plus Association - www.60plus.org
 
Citizens Against Government Waste - www.cagw.org
 
Health Care Reform Educational Institute - www.healthcarereform.com
 
National Federation of Independent Business -  www.nfib.com
 
National Small Business Association - www.nsba.biz
 
American Health Care Association - www.ahca.org
 
Center For Health Transformation -  www.healthtransformation.net

If nothing else, we definitely expect that home care will change as a result of this legislation, and we'll do everything we can to provide software for homecare that helps you to thrive in an era of change.

Thanks to our friends at Boyd and Nicholas who provided this in their newsletter!

Topics: Home Care Industry, Health Care Reform, Home Care Technology

My Favorite YouTube Video EVER - Happy Holidays

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 22, 2009 7:39:00 AM

Does this post have anything to do with scheduling for home health care? Nope!

Anything about home health care agency software? Absolutely not!

Maybe just some relevance to a homecare management system? Not even close!

This is just my favorite video on YouTube, a clip from the short-lived TV show Studio 60 featuring a group of musicians who are referred to as "The City of New Orleans" shortly after Hurricane Katrina.  For me, this video reinforces the strength of the human spirit to perservere, while also capturing the spirit of Christmas.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

One quick tidbit that I'll share with all of you who manage your agency websites is that embedding a video on your site (as done above) is pretty easy.  For example, if the video is on YouTube, you can look to the right of the video and find the code you need to either link it or embed it on your site.  Note that you don't need to understand the code - just copy it and paste it into your site and you're good to go.  I'll do a follow-up post from the home care software geek in January.

Topics: Holiday Wishes

Ankota's Book of the Year: "The Innovator's Prescription"

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 21, 2009 7:16:00 AM

If you're looking for a great holiday read, or perhaps the perfect last minute gift for the homecare expert in your life, consider Ankota's selection for book of the year, The Innovator's Prescription, by Clayton M. Christensen.  This book, subtitled A Disruptive Solution for Healthcare provides a comprehensive analysis of how the US healthcare system can be positively transformed.  The book is not written by healthcare experts, but rather by business experts.  Dr. Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and wrote an earlier book entitled The Innovator's Dilemma which explains how industry insiders, in an effort to be responsive to their customers, are relegated to incrementalism, and susceptible to having their industry disrupted by a new approach (one which enters the market with much less capability at a much lower price point, but by making something that's affordable to a significantly broader population of users).  Some examples include how the PC disrupted the mini-computer and workstation, and how the telephone disrupted the telegraph.

Click on the photo to order the book on Amazon.

 The Innovator's Prescription

The book explains how health care can be better and cheaper by applying the formula of disruption.  Although home care scheduling and home care telephony aren't specifically raised as examples, there is a lot of coverage of the ways that better care can be provided in the home at a lower cost, using examples like the care of CHF and the potential of home dialysis.  He also talks about how hospitals, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and other aspects of the health care ecosystem can be disrupted and transformed.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who looks to innovate in healthcare.

 

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Topics: Recommended Reading, Home Care Industry, Elderly Care, Care Coordination, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology

Ten Tips to Help Your Elderly Loved Ones at Holiday Time Enjoy the Season

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 17, 2009 8:25:00 AM

by: Lori Solomon

As a general rule, festivities at holiday time, provide for a joyous season. Although it can be a particularly difficult time for many seniors, who may be remembering those dear to them that are no longer here to be with them to celebrate. Many seniors also exhibit behaviors of depression, and have increased anxiety and agitation due to feeling overwhelmed. Holiday stress can also increase their physical and mental issues to further complicate the season. Here are some tips to help your elderly loved one at holiday time:

Merry Christmas from Ankota

1. Encourage remembrances of wonderful memories: Old photos, family movies and old-time music through photos, family videos and music from yesteryear. Stimulate memories to encourage our elders to share their remembrances.

2. Plan ahead. To encourage participation for the senior, plan ahead so that you have someone rested to have the stamina to enjoy the planned activities, party, etc.

3. Create a senior friendly environment: If you plan on taking your loved one out to celebrate at another person's home, then be aware that this environment needs to be a safe one for the senior. For instance, remove accent rugs that could lead to a fall.

4. Be a good listener, take clues from them. Comment as appropriately as you can, as this can be a sensitive time.

5. Create new traditions. We all need something to look forward to. As our elders age, they may have lost old-time friends and dear family.
Family may be scattered, not able to come home at holiday time.

6. Encourage them to give. Increase their self worth by giving of themselves or providing gifts for others. Sharing their memories or cherished keepsakes with people close to them may provide a true joy.

7. Be thoughtful and include the senior. They are most likely lonely, which can lead to depression and resentment. They have many years of suggestions they will gladly pass on for others. Involve a senior center, religious place of worship or other senior venue to "reach out and touch another someone, someone who may not have family of their own".

8. Find new modes of entertainment to stay active minded. Activities for the holiday season are important. Keep your senior cognitively busy. Beat the "Holiday blues" and "Depression.

9. Maintain a happy environment. Maintain brightness in these special festive days, despite the sense of loss they may have of loved ones who are no longer here to partake of the holiday with them.

10. Monitor medications and alcohol. Be aware of their alcohol intake during the holidays at gatherings or in the privacy of their own home. You don't want the alcohol to interfere with medications.

Give the gift a senior most wants! Time, companionship and visits from their friends and loved ones will be their most treasured gift. Seniors will typically relish the seasonal gatherings. This is the time to have patience, have compassion, and provide a safe and wonderful new memory, for them to reflect back on throughout the coming year.

Accent on Seniors, A FREE State Licensed Senior Living Referral Service, providing personalized information about senior living throughout California. Call 888-954-6637 to obtain a detailed listing of places for your loved ones and friend or go onto the website at www.AccentOnSeniors.com.

Copyright © 2008, Accent on Seniors Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission from Lori Solomon, and http://www.accentonseniors.com/.

Authored by Accent on Seniors

About the Author:
Lori Solomon is President & Founder of Accent on Seniors, a CA State licensed FREE referral placement & info service. She has over 25 years of experience serving the senior community. With a Masters in Health Administration and CA Certification as a Residential Care Facility Administrator, Lori has served on a prestigious list of industry boards. http://www.AccentOnSeniors.com.

Topics: Holiday Wishes, Elderly Care, Aging in Place Technology

Happy Holidays from Ankota

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 15, 2009 7:30:00 PM

Let's face it, Home Care Optimization is hard work.  Some days we're working to bring the latest advances in home care scheduling software to the market.  Other days we're devising ways that home care telephony can reduce hospital readmissions.  And we never lost sight of our vision to deliver patient-centered and coordinated care at home.  All work and no play can have some bad results...

Well, when we decided to break away for our company holiday party things got a bit out of hand.  Of course Will was the ring-leader, but Marc, Hunter and I were a bit out of control too.  We also had Al from our board of advisors joining in the craziness.

Back in the old days, we might have gotten away with this and nobody would have known, but with the paparazzi these days, it seems that everything gets caught on tape.  So we won't deny anything and we're releasing the video footage before the National Enquirer article comes out.

 

 

On a serious note, we wish the home care industry a very happy holiday season.  We thank all who supported us, gave us input, viewed a demo, and encouraged us, and we especially thank our customers for turning Ankota from a vision into a business.  We're proud of what we've accomplished and the ways that we're able to help the industry improve patient care while increasing efficiency.  And we've just started scratching the surface.

Have a Wonderful and Joyous Holiday! 

Topics: Holiday Wishes, Home Care Industry

Reshaping Health Care Delivery per the CEO of Kaiser Permanente

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 14, 2009 11:07:00 AM

George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, has proven the thesis of better care at lower cost time and time again.  He is an excellent speaker who can answer difficult healthcare questions easily, in plain English, always citing outcomes and costs.  He also does a great job focusing on what's important and avoiding the "issue of the day" banter that the media gets caught up in.  So, if you want to get up to speed on the potential of healthcare reform without any politics, I'd receommend that you listen to George.

Thevideo interview below was conducted by Peter Hopkins, President and Co-founder of BigThink.com.  The interview lasts almost an hour, but I highly recommend it for the following reasons:

  • It points out the issues in health care that really matter
  • It is driven by facts - costs and outcomes
  • It shares best practices
  • It will make you smarter than everyone else at the water cooler or the Christmas Party

Enjoy the video!

 

From and Ankota perspective, this interview is another great example that validates the promise and importance of healthcare delivery management.  Regarding electronic medical records, Mr. Halvorson gives clear examples of how their value will be realized when they are used for coordination of care.  He also talks about numerous conditions, such as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) where hospitalizations can be cut in half by applying the home care and telehealth based best practices that exist today.

If you're looking to better coordinate care between doctors, hospitals, home care and patients, we'd like to help.  Please download our whitepaper on transitional care here, or contact Ankota to let us know how we can help you provide better outcomes at lower cost.

Topics: Health Care Reform, Care Coordination, thought leadership, transitional care, Video

Do Doctors Understand Home Care? These Three Do!!!

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 11, 2009 2:01:00 PM

Lots of my friends are doctors, and of course they're interested in what I do, but talking to them about home care is a lot like talking to them about your kid's ballet recital.  They're happy to hear about it, but it's not a topic that they spend a lot of time on...

I've been blessed to meet a couple of doctors who really get it.  First is Dr. Steven Landers.  I breifly met Dr. Landers at the NAHC Annual Meeting and Exhibition in LA.  I don't have to prove that he gets it, because in fact, he won the physician of the year award from NAHC.  He was on the cover of Caring Magazine in October (click here for the online version). 

Dr Steven Landers

Second in our very own Dr. J Hunter Young, who works at Johns Hopkins but also helps us out as Chief Medical Officer for Ankota.  Hunter has done extensive research in community care and has published peer reviewed articles on topics such as how addition and hypertension affect martality in urban communities.  Hunter always makes sure that we put the patient in the center of all of the technology we build at Ankota. 

Dr. Hunter Young

A third doctor who really gets it, is my friend and neighbor Dr. Roseanna Means.  She created the non-profit organization Women of Means to provide free medical service to woman in the shelters of Boston and has inspired similar programs in other cities. 

Dr, Roseanna MeansWomen of Means provides free care to women in need

Getting back to the question of whether, in general, Doctors understand the value of home care, here's a snipit of video from Dr. Landers' keynote speech at the NAHC Exhibition.  My favorite part was the laughter from the audience of nurses when the home care nurse asked a remote doctor for some guidance about treating a sore on the patient's buttocks and he said that he could set up a consult with a plastic surgeon.  Enjoy the video...

 

You've all heard the expression, "home is where the heart is."  At Ankota, we believe that "home is where the health is" and that a key to healthcare reform will be to improve care at home as well as patient centered coordination of care.  Thanks to doctors like Steven, Hunter and Roseanna for leading the way.

Topics: Health Care Reform, Home Healthcare Delivery Management, NAHC

Terrific Home Care Industry Insights from Boyd and Nicholas

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 9, 2009 3:03:00 PM

One of the information sources I've found both useful and enjoyable is the weekly email blast from the Home Care Consulting firm Boyd and Nicholas, managed by Tom Boyd and Tom Nicholas.  I met these guys for the first time at the NAHC Financial Managers Conference in Boston.  These guys have the right equation for balancing business and pleasure.  They're a serious force in home care and experts on the "Cost Report" (in fact they call themselves The Cost Report People).  But at the same time, they're a couple of fun guys.  Their booth prizes are generally nice bottles of wine with stories attached, and when I met Tom Boyd at the tradeshow, he was dressed for success in shorts, high socks and Birkenstocks... Below is a banner that links to their site.

Boyd and Nicholas - the Cost Report People

They do a nice job covering many aspects of what's going on in the industry including best practices, legislation, success stories, and the latest trends.  They also conclude each weekly report (entitled "Every Wednesday - Point of Light" with a few profound quotes or some humor (usually kind of corny but bearable).

Below is a sample of content from this week's report.  As you'll see, they keep on top of the industry and provide nice concise summaries (giving credit to the source and marked as excerpts).  This particular sampling covers The BlackBerry® Report:
The National State of the Home Care Industry
conducted by Fazzi and Associates, and an Article from Healthleaders Media entitled Four Reasons for Optimism About the Future of Healthcare

Please enjoy these updates from Tom and Tom:

The BlackBerry® Report:
The National State of the Home Care Industry

October 10, 2009 (excerpt)
 
The study was sponsored by Research in Motion (RIM), ....the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) ....and Fazzi Associates.
 
BlackBerry First Insight Report
 
The following are ten insights that emerged during the first analysis of the BlackBerry Report: ....
 

  1. Fiscal, Billing, and Back Office Vendors Have Heavy Penetration in Home Care But Changes May Be In the Wind:  Seventy-two percent of all agencies now use back-office software systems provided by one of a number of vendors....
  2. Electronic Medical Record Systems Are Proving Valuable:  Just over 65% of all agencies now have EMR systems....
  3. Use of Point of Care Grows as Size of Agencies Grow:  Nearly 40% of all agencies now use some form of POS system in the field....Of those over ten million (61.5%) use POS.
  4. Use of Handheld POS Expected to Have Largest Growth: ....
  5. Major Shift Coming in Home Health Aide Documentation:  Presently, 78.3% of Home Health Aides document personal care using paper forms....
  6. Leaders Use of Smartphones Increases as Size of Agency Increases: ....well over 50% of those with revenues of five million now use smartphones....
  7. Having a Telehealth System and Using the System Are Two Different Things:  Today, 23% of agencies report using telehealth systems, up from 17.1% in 2006.  Twenty-two percent of agencies, however, report that on any given day, less than 25% of their units are in use....
  8. Agencies Are Preparing for Cost Cuts: ....72.6% of agencies report that they are. ....
  9. Charity/Free Care Significant, Growing But Not the Same: ....Two-thirds of all agencies report that a minimum of 1% of their revenues for free care, with 21.9% reporting that more than 5% is given for free care. ....
  10. Per Visit Pay Models Growing But Not for All Types of Agencies:  Over 36% of agencies are now using the pay-per-visit as their primary payment model for clinical staff. .... More than 50% of for-profit agencies use it, while only 17.7% of not-for-profit agencies now use it.  Urban agencies (41.8%) are far more likely to use it than rural agencies (17%), ....

Blackberry Report on Home Care Mobile Technology

 

♦♦♦♦♥♦♦♦♦


 
Four Reasons for Optimism About the Future of Healthcare
HealthLeaders Media, October 15, 2009 (excerpt)

  1. Healthcare IT is improving.
  2. Administrative costs are getting attention.
  3. Payment reform is a reality
  4. Leadership makes a difference.


♦♦♦♦♥♦♦♦♦
 

 

Topics: Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology, Home Care Mobile Solutions

What Home Care Software Companies can Learn from Boomers

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 9, 2009 7:58:00 AM

One of the tricky things we struggle with when developing software for home care is to determine who we're creating it for.  Let's face it, our market today is an older crowd in their 70s, 80s and older.  They're not the most high tech bunch out there.  So in general, even though we blog and tweet, many of the companies we deal with are just starting to use email.

Having said that, we're confident that this is going to start to shift because our future demographic, the baby boomers, are a pretty high tech bunch.  This article from the New York Times shares the results of a study performed by Microsoft and the AARP entitled What do Baby Boomers Want from Technology?

What Do Boomers Want from Technology 

This study, rather than a standard survey, was conducted in a series of dinner meetings around the country.  Among the findings and conclusions, one was that technology adoption is no longer going to "drop off a cliff" at age 60, and that boomers are going to be "the driving force in the adoption of information technology in healthcare."

You can read or download the full report (a 28 page pdf) here

We at Ankota are already working to enable the home care industry to perform well for this new demographic in both small ways and large.  We blog and tweet because the future of our industry is tech-savvy...  But more importantly, we recognize that the family members of patients today are very interested in being connected to their loved-ones' care, so we offer agencies a way of connecting to those family members via the web.  This is a service that will allow you to provide better care, get more customers, and even make more profit.  For more information, please contact Ankota.

Topics: thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology, Product Information

I'd Rather Die at Home...

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 5, 2009 10:19:00 AM

A recent story aired on 60 minutes about "The Cost of Dying" and explained that $50B a year is being spent in the US on care for patients in their last two months of life.  You can learn more about the story here.  This raised a lot of eyebrows not only about cost and quality of care, but also about quality of life.  The saddest part of all of this is that the patients so rarely die after spending a warm and loving time with their loved ones, but rather do so in a cold, lonely and expensive place surrounded by strangers and machines.  And in so many cases, their last days are spent unconscious and on life support.   

60 Minutes on the Cost of Dying

When coupled with study results indicating that seniors fear loss of independence and nursing homes more than death (see the study results here), it makes me wonder if the movement toward "Do Not Resuscitate" is enough.  Maybe we need, "Do Not Hospitalize" orders.

The tricky thing about all of this is that it's easy to see the problem and solution, en masse, but it's a totally different story when it comes down to real people and their real loved ones.  And even if your reading this article and saying "Yep, I want to let my mom/dad/wife/husband/partner die at home," will you be able to make that call when the time comes?  How can you say no to bringing them to the hospital and giving them a chance to live longer.  I wish I had the answer...

I've tried to live my life by the "look in the mirror" approach - the principal that if I want to change something it needs to start with me.  So when the time comes, I plan to make it very clear to the loved ones around me that I'm ready to pass, and I don't want to go to the hospital.  Then I need to count on them to fulfill my wishes.

If you're in the position to face this decision in the coming months or years, I'd advise that the best time to talk about it would be now...

Topics: Health Care Reform, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology

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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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