The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

Ankota Shares Memorial Day Wishes with the Home Care Community

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 31, 2010 8:21:00 AM

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  This is what enables us to be care givers, or in our case at Ankota, to service the home care industry.  We are forever in their debt.  Below are some poems and cartoons to remind us of the importance of Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

by Eula Gladys Lincoln

In distant field of sunny France
Where strangers come and go,
Amid the farms of Flanders, whereMemorial Day
The fragrant breezes blow,
Our solder-dead in quiet sleep
'Neath crosses row on row.

Here shrapnel shells once shrieked and burst
And took their toll of death;
The very wind, itself a foe,
Bore poison on its breath.

Above their graves the birds now sing
As round that home of yore,
When, carefree boys, they romped and played;
Those childhood days soon o'er,
The boys to brave and strong men grown,
They romped and played no more.

They put aside their childish toys,
A man's work each must do,
And when their country called for them,
To her they answered true.

"We must protect our native land:
She shall not suffer wrong
For she has reared and nurtured us,
We're men and we are strong.
We'll bid good-bye to those we love;
It will not be for long."

With aching hearts and tear-dimmed eyes
We watched them go away.
Some have returned but many sleep
In foreign lands today.

Where English roses bloom and fade,
In France where lilies grow,
Among the fields of Flanders, where
The scarlet poppies blow,
Our soldier-dead are not forgot
Though strangers come and go.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Holiday Wishes, Home Care Industry

Book Review: Reengineering Health Care: A Good Primer

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 25, 2010 9:05:00 AM

Last week I attended a seminar on the subject of Patient-Centered Design, which included a key note address by Jim Champy, the author of the new book Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery (available on Amazon June 17th).  His co-author is Harry Greenspun, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer at Dell Inc. Jim is also the best selling auther of the New York Times Best Seller Reengineering the Corporation, which has sold over 3 million copies. 

Reengineering Health Care

Listening to Jim talk, it was clear that he knows a lot about reengineering.  He knows and conveys well that we need to stop thinking in silos, and instead that we need to think about end-to-end processes from the patient's perspective.  He also brings a clear agenda for reforming health care, and talks about how it's necessary to find ways that delivery better care at lower cost, and that by doing so that access to care can be increased.  While these were the strengths in his presentation, his health care knowledge and the examples that he used were a little bit "light" so that was the negative.  But I'm sure that as he works on his presentation, he'll be able to beef this up (maybe by reading some of the other great books profiled in this blog - click for links).

The Innovator's Prescription   Healthcare Won't Reform Itself    The Checklist Manifesto

Although I was underwhelmed by Jim's command of how healthcare is actually delivered, I realize that the healthcare industry is really at its infancy when it comes to re-engineering, and there's a lot we can learn from Jim.  So if you'd like a good primer on how to improve the quality and efficiency of your home health care or private duty organization, you might give this book a gander.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Recommended Reading, Home Care Best Practices, Health Care Reform, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology

Why is "Connected Health" Important to Home Care?

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 24, 2010 12:10:00 PM

There's a relatively new "movement" in place called "Connected Health" which focuses on the delivery of care outside of traditional settings.  They focus on technologies such as telehealth and also on care delivery models such as home care.  The organization is located in Boston and affiliated with Partners Healthcare, but they are working hard to drive Connected Healthcare as a movement on a national and global level.  Below is a snipit which will bring you the the website for the Center for Connected Health.

Center for Connected Health

Other than their general interested in non-traditional delivery of care, the home care industry might want to keep tabs on their activities for a number of great reasons, as follows:

  • They look at technologies that keep the patient at home
  • Technologies often require services to go along with them and these might create new offerings or differentiation for home care organizations
  • They are raising the conversation to a higher level from an academic and medical perspective as evidenced by the creation of the Journal for Participatory Medicine, which is an new peer-reviewed, open access medical journal

The also have other resources which may be of interest, as follows:

We'll be sure to share information about new Connected Health successes and how they relate to home care in upcoming posts.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

How Can Disruptive Innovation Transform Health Care: 10 Minute Video

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 19, 2010 6:48:00 AM

One of my favorite authors and professors is Clayton The Innovator's PrescriptionChristensen from the Harvard Business School.  He has written numerous books about disruptive innovation - the kind of innovations that often go on to replace the way something is done.  More recently he wrote The Innovator's Prescription, which was named as Ankota's Book of the Year for 2009.  Here, thanks to BigThink.com is a 10 minutes video of Dr. Christensen explaining these key concepts.  Home Care and Private Duty Care organizations should realize our opportunity to be a major part of the most needed innovation in healthcare today.  Enjoy the video.

 

Some leading candidates for Ankota's book of the year in 2010 are The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande, and Healthcare Won't Transform Itself, by George Halverson.  Check out our blog posts on these books by clicking their links.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Health Care Reform, Care Coordination, thought leadership, transitional care, Aging in Place Technology, Video

Relationship and Results Oriented Health Care is a Win/Win

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 18, 2010 6:36:00 PM

One thing that we've really enjoyed as we've launched and grown Ankota is that home care people are willing to share their needs, their best practices, their frustrations and their ideas on how to make care better.  We're also proud of our reputation for listening and innovating in response to what we learn. 

One of the home care and private duty care "luminaries" who I like Ginny Kenyonto talk to every few months is Ginny Kenyon, who runs Kenyon HomeCare Consulting.  Our discussions always start around a certain topic such as breaking down the silos to improve transitional care, or how to better connect agencies and family members, and Ginny always provides crisp input from her experience and the agencies she supports.  But the part of our calls that I like the most is when Ginny tells a story that she's really passionate about.  Today she shared a story from her experience as a respiratory nurse, which I'll paraphrase below"

Kenyon Home Care Consulting

Back when nursing was more personalized and the goal was to do whatever you could to yield the best possible outcome, I was working as a respiratory nurse with some of the toughest patients you can imagine [many of whom suffered from end stage COPD].  There was a treatment plan and course of care that I had to deliver, but what I would always do is to find out what was important to the patient.  I'd very simply ask them "How can I help you?" and "What would you dream to be able to do that's not possible for you?"  The result was a patient-centered vision and goal, which often proved very powerful.

One of my patients [who we'll call Bob] told me that he dreamed to get back into his wood shop so he could build flower boxes and planters.  Once he shared this, we were on a mission, and we were able to work together over the course of a few months to get back into that wood shop.  Integrating the required treatment elements was easy as part of attaining the goal.  And a few short months later, Bob rewarded me with some planter boxes he had built for me.  The boxes were wonderful, but the improvement of Bob's life plus my own personal satisfaction as a caregiver was priceless.

Ginny shared that one of her friends and colleagues, Ruth Hansten, Ruth I Hansten RN MBA PhD FACHE has built a care delivery methodology around these best practices, which she calls Relationship and Results Oriented Health Care* (RROHC), which is pronounced like "rock".  I have a link below to Ruth's site where you can learn more.  Ginny also shared that there will be some forthcoming webinars about RROHC that you won't want to miss.  We'll follow up with more from Ginny and Ruth in upcoming posts.

*RROHC is a registered trademark

RROHC - TM

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Recommended Reading, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Care Coordination, thought leadership, transitional care, Home Healthcare Delivery Management

LEVEL OF FRAILTY PREDICTS SURGICAL OUTCOMES IN OLDER PATIENTS

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 17, 2010 7:20:00 AM

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that frailty of patients has a direct impact on how well they will do in surgery.  Moreover, they've developed a simple 10 minute test to measure the frailty level.  Our main focus here at the Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management blog is to share information about improving the quality of care outside the hospital, and another sub-focus is entrepreneurship as we see more and more agencies coming up with new and creative services to improve care.  So perhaps, this research offers Home Care and Private Duty Care Agencies with an opportunity...  What if your agency learned how to administer the frailty test and was able to provide objective evidence to your clients and their family members based on research from Johns Hopkins?  Also, what if you could update your care plans to focus on improving the frailty factors that may preclude a client from undergoing a surgery that can help them?  These seem like compelling benefits to offer your clients...  The full story from Johns Hopkins Medicine is included below:

Johns Hopkins Medicine

LEVEL OF FRAILTY PREDICTS SURGICAL OUTCOMES IN OLDER PATIENTS, JOHNS HOPKINS RESEARCHERS FIND

May 12, 2010- A simple, 10-minute "frailty" test administered to older patients before they undergo surgery can predict with great certainty their risk for complications, how long they will stay in the hospital and - most strikingly - whether they are likely to end up in a nursing home afterward, new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

"There's been this hunger to have some sort of scientific way to predict surgical outcomes in older people," says Martin A. Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study's leader. "We think we have a way now to accurately measure risk instead of eyeballing somebody or guessing."

The key is a means of measuring frailty using a five-point scale, developed at Johns Hopkins, Makary says. It includes loss of 10 pounds or more within the previous year, weakness as measured by a handheld dynamometer, exhaustion, low physical activity and slowed walking.

On the scale, one point is given for each problem. Scores of 4 or 5 mean that patients are considered frail; 2 or 3 mean they are considered intermediately frail. The test for frailty is simple to perform, taking just 10 minutes to complete.

In a study reported online and in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Makary and his team applied the frailty test to 594 patients over age 65 who had elective surgery between July 2005 and July 2006. Results showed that patients who were frail were 2.5 times as likely as those who were not to suffer a postoperative complication, 1.5 times as likely to spend more time in the hospital and 20 times as likely to be discharged to a nursing home or assisted living facility after previously living at home.

Previous research has also linked frailty to poor outcomes even in patients not undergoing surgery and has associated frailty with mortality, morbidity, falls and increased hospitalization.

Surgeons have long known that some patients over age 65 do quite well after major surgery even though they appear feeble at the outset, while others who seem to be healthier before an operation emerge diminished. Predictive formulas based on cardiac health and medical history failed to stack up well against the new frailty score, the researchers found.

Makary says frailty is a relatively new clinical concept and is best defined as someone's physical reserve and ability to withstand stress to the body. Many patients considered medically healthy can be frail.

Approximately half of all operations in the United States are performed in patients over 65.

"Some surgeries are absolutely required no matter the risks and other surgeries are elective," Makary says. "A good frailty test can help patients and surgeons make more informed decisions."

At a minimum, providers who use the frailty score will be alerted to special needs and risks of older patients, he says. But having the information up front, he says, may enable providers to decrease the risk of complications in frail patients through closer monitoring and attention to hydration, nutrition and mobilization.

The research also found that using the frailty score strengthened the predictive ability of other commonly used risk assessment models for surgical patients.

Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Dorry L. Segev, M.D., Ph.D.; Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D; Dora Syin, M.D.; Karen Bandeen-Roche, Ph.D.; Purvi Patel, M.D., M.P.H.; Ryan Takenaga, M.D.; Lara Devgan, M.D., M.P.H.; Christine G. Holzmueller, B.L.A.; and Jing Tian, M.S. Former Johns Hopkins faculty member Linda P. Fried, M.D., M.P.H., also contributed to the research.

For more information:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/surgery/faculty/Makary
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Rehab/Services/Prevention_Frailty.html

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Home Care Industry, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Care Coordination

How Important will Home Care be when there are 1.3 Billion Seniors?

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 12, 2010 10:50:00 PM

Looking at the population demographics in the US, everyone in Home Care, Hospice, Private Duty Care and the associated specialty services are taking notice.  When we look at the fact that Baby Boomers will start reaching age 65 at a rate of 8,000 per day next year, we recognize that there will be a hugely growing need for home care services.

But when we look at world statistics, the numbers are mind-numbing.  In a Census Bureau report entitled "An Aging World: 2008," the population of seniors over age 65 is estimated at 508 Million.  By 2040, that number will climb to 1.3 billion - Yikes!  The full report is available here.

What also changes, however, is the mix of ages.  The first two subtitles in the report are:

  1. Older people soon to outnumber young children, and
  2. World's Older Population Increasing 870,000 Each Month

If you don't choose to read the full report, consider looking over the following Q&A (from the report) below:

20 Questions About Global Aging

20 Answers About Global Aging

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Senior Demographics, Home Care Industry

Home Care and Private Duty Care Celebrate Senior Power

Posted by Amy Accardi on May 10, 2010 4:42:00 PM

As home care and private duty care professionals, we continue in our celebration of Older American's Month as introduced in a recent post available here.

The contributions of older Americans are not only in the past.  Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. With the aging of the baby boomer generation-the largest in our nation's history-America's senior population is expected to number 71.5 million by 2030.


While keeping the growing population of older Americans healthy and active will increase the demand for senior services, what is remarkable is the extent to which older Americans themselves are supporting each other. As the new generations of seniors become better educated and more financially secure than their predecessors, they are spending more time making significant contributions in their communities through civic and volunteer opportunities.


Seniors can sometimes feel that they are a burden when they ask a Seniors helping Seniorsfriend or family for help, but often have no trouble reaching out to someone their own age. In fact, older Americans are a core component of service delivery to seniors. They volunteer at group meal sites and deliver food to homebound seniors; they act as escorts and provide transportation for older adults who cannot drive; they help seniors with home repair, shopping and errands; and they provide vital counseling, information and referral services. Their energy and commitment reminds all Americans-not just senior citizens and their caregivers-to do their part to enhance the quality of life for older generations.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Senior Demographics, Elderly Care

Fast Company Blog mentions Ankota: A Social Media Case Study

Posted by Ken Accardi on May 5, 2010 8:46:00 AM

There's really only one reason to write a blog, which is to share useful information (generally referred to by web people as content) with people interested in your agency.  Having said this, there are plenty of other good reasons to blog, including the following:

  • It let's you share "who you are" as opposed to "what you sell".  For example, although you sell Private Duty care services, you may have a passion and expertise for preventing falls, understanding Alzheimers disease, or empowering eldery Americans to lead rich and full lives (or maybe all of the above).  The blog lets you share this expertise and passion.
  • When you blog on your own website, the search engines recognize that your site is alive and this helps how they rate you
  • Each blog entry allows you to include more "keywords" (the terms that people might use to find an agency like yours)
  • It gets you "into the conversation" and increases your visibility (more people can find you)

This post was inspired by the fact that Ankota was mentioned in another blog yesterday, from Fast Company magazine.  This particular article talks about the importance of differentiating your business, and uses Ankota as an example.  This is a lesson that applies to all of us in home care.  You can click the banner below to see the article.

Fast Company Blog

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, home care software geek

Home Care Celebrates Older American's Month in May

Posted by Amy Accardi on May 4, 2010 7:49:00 PM

May is Older American's Month, giving the home healthcare and private duty care Older American's Monthindustries a special reason to celebrate our beloved patients and clients.  In a tradition dating back to May 1963, Older American's Month, honors the legacies and ongoing contributions of older Americans and supports them as they enter the next stage in life.

This year's Older Americans Month theme-Age Strong! Live Long!-recognizes the diversity and vitality of today's older Americans who span three generations. They have lived through wars and hard times, as well as periods of unprecedented prosperity. They pioneered new technologies in medicine, communications, and industry while spearheading a cultural revolution that won equal rights for minorities, women, and disabled Americans.

One such older American who is worthy of celebration is Alice Thomas.  At age 79, Alice completed law school at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA back in December and will receive her law school degree at graduation ceremonies this month.  She plans to practice elder law.  You can read the full story, courtesy of the AARP Bulletin, by clicking on the picture below.

Alice Thomas Graduates from Law School at Age 79
These remarkable achievements demonstrate the strength and character of older Americans, and underscore the debt of gratitude we owe to the generations that have given our society so much.  Contact your local Area Agency on Aging by visiting http://www.eldercare.gov or calling 1-800-677-1116 to find out what you can do to strengthen services for older Americans, this month and all year round.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital.  Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care.  To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

Topics: Senior Demographics, Elderly Care

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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.

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