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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Home Care Software Geek presents "Icons on the Web"

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 31, 2010 8:01:00 AM

The Home Care Software Geek posts in this blog don't talk about Home Care Nursing Software, Private Duty Telephony, DME Delivery Software, Home Infusion Care Management or the other topics we focus on regularly at Ankota.  Instead, these posts are intended to keep our readers up to date with technology trends that might be useful to your agencies, such as social media technologies, mobile devices, and what's happening from the big-boys like Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Sometimes I'm comforted to know that there are bigger geeks than me, as evidenced by this post...  Below I present a piece of artwork that was created to show how the most visited sites on the web (roughly the top 300,000) rate against each other in terms of traffic.  The bigger your icon, the more traffic you get.  You can click on the diagram to go to the interactive version, that will let you search for icons.

Icons of the Web

Some takeaways for home care agencies are as follows:

  • The web is huge
  • Your search rankings are somewhat dependent on how much overall traffic you get (e.g., if you have a web page optimized for the phrase "Home Care Bethesda MD", your ranking will be dependent on others who have also optimized for that phrase.
  • You don't have to be in the top 300,000 sites to still have a very valuable site.  Here are a few benchmarks:
    • NAHC scored around 387,000 and didn't make it to the chart
    • Stephen Tweed's Leading Home Care site ranks in the 3 millions.  If you've visited, you know that this is an outstanding site with fantastic content
    • I checked a very popular Private Duty Software company with 25 years of experience and a huge following of happy and loyal customers and they ranked in the 17 millions
  • The top sites like Google, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, Twitter and Bing are all places where our agencies can be found

If you want to know where your site ranks, shoot me a note and I can look you up. 

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 software geek, Home Care Technology, NAHC

New Book: "Lower Prescription Costs" valuable for Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 30, 2010 1:39:00 PM

When people "follow" me on Twitter, I'm always interested to learn Dr Mary Jacksonwhat they do and how it connects to our mission at Ankota.  Last week, I was "followed" by Dr. Mary E. Jackson, whose twitter name is DrCares4Seniors.  Dr. Jackson is a geriatric clinical pharmacist with 28 years of medical experience.  Dr. Jackson just released a new book entitled Lower Prescription Costs: An Easier Pill To Swallow.  The book is available on Amazon by clicking here or on the book cover.

Lower Prescription Costs

A synopsis that Dr. Jackson shared with me is as follows:

  • Exclusively focuses on medication costs
  • Compares medications within a drug class including those available in $4 generic discount programs
  • Includes a savings tips section for each drug class
  • Designed for easy use (Dr. Jackson tried to make it as simple as possible since it is primarily for the elderly who may have cognitive impairment)
  • Uses system similar to hotel & dining guides (e.g. $ = 0 to $25, $$ = $25 to $50, etc)
  • Provides an example of a medication regimen, offering an alternative regimen that saves nearly 90% - $4,370 vs $470/year (and that's with Medicare D coverage).

Savings on medication costs is a huge opportunity for seniors, and with the help of Dr. Jackson's book, your home care nurses can provide a great service to your patients. 

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

Health Care Reform Update from Home Care Expert Stephen Tweed

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 27, 2010 11:15:00 AM

Today's post is reprinted with permission from Home Health Care Today. Copyright 2010 Stephen C. Tweed. To receive a FREE subscription to this newsletter, log on to www.leadinghomecare.com.

Well, it's official. After five months of discussion, questions, stephen tweeddebate, seminars, workshops and webinars, the bottom line is that Health Care Reform is here, it's huge, and it will have a major impact on all of health care in America. We've continued to study the law and monitor the development of regulations needed to implement the law. Here are a few things that have happened that may affect your home health agency, hospice, or private duty home care business.


The 1099 Rule
A little-noticed provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is suddenly generating a lot of attention. The new rule requires all businesses to file 1099 forms if they purchase $600 or more in goods or services from another business during a year. While the rule was largely overlooked in the early analysis of the health-care law, a recent uproar has put it in the spotlight, and efforts are now under way in Congress to repeal the measure.
Formerly, only unincorporated businesses that purchased services greater than $600 in a year were required to file a 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service and with the provider. The new rule extends the requirement to all companies, charities, and state and local governments. It also expands the provision to include purchases of goods or products.


For example, if a business buys more than $600 in office supplies from Staples over the course of a year, it will now have to send a 1099 to Staples and file another one with the IRS. Or, if you buy an airplane ticket to fly to the NAHC convention and it costs more than $600, you'll need to get the taxpayer ID number for your airline, figure out where to send the 1099, and file a copy with the IRS.


We suspect that this provision of the law will be revised, as neither the Congress or the IRS fully understood the unintended consequences of this tiny provision in the law. I'm sure we'll find other provisions like this that have major unintended consequences.


American confidence in ability to pay for Healthcare declines.
Americans' confidence in their ability to pay for and access health care has fallen by 5 percent since December 2009, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of consumer confidence released Monday, (8/23/10).

The monthly survey questions 3,000 consumers about their ability to pay for health care. According to Reuters, "On every survey question, responses were more pessimistic in July than they were in December."


New York state now has an active Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), the NY Bridge Plan.
In July, New York officials said they were hoping the New York PCIP program premiums would be less than $600 per month. The actual premiums will be just $362 per month in upstate counties and $421 per month in downstate counties, including counties in New York City, officials say.

 
The initial plan design includes a $20 office visit co-payment, a $500 co-payment per inpatient stay and a $100 emergency room co-payment, officials say. The package also includes pharmacy benefits and vision care benefits.


The NY Bridge Plan administrators will process applications on a first-come, first-service basis, officials say. The earliest coverage can take effect is October 1. Once the NY Bridge Plan reaches capacity, administrators will set up a waiting list.


The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) - the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act - allocated $5 billion to the PCIP to fill in coverage gaps that will exist before a ban on medical underwriting takes effect in 2014.
The PCIP program is supposed to provide "uninsurable" individuals access to coverage at rates comparable to individual rates in the commercial market. The program is open to individuals with serious pre-existing conditions who have been uninsured for at least 6 months. Some states are letting the new federal Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight run their PCIP programs, but a majority will be running their own risk plans. New York is expecting to use $297 million in PCIP funding to provide temporary coverage for about.


Only two people enroll in New Jersey Plan.
New health plans for the sick and uninsured that became available as a result of federal health care reform have been slow to enroll patients: just two people in New Jersey will begin receiving coverage today, the first day the plans take effect.
Called NJ Protect, the health plans are available to people who have been without insurance for at least six months and submit evidence of pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension or cancer. New Jersey is to receive $141 million in federal subsidies to cover claims that exceed the premiums paid by the beneficiaries.


Most small businesses in California qualify for Tax Credit.
Garnering little to no press attention when released in July, a report undertaken by Families USA and the Small Business Majority found that 80 percent of California's small businesses with 25 or fewer employees will qualify for federal tax credits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act starting this year.


This means that of the state's 571,200 small businesses, 465,500 are eligible for the tax credits in 2010. Of those, 30 percent - or 135,900 - qualify for the maximum tax credit amount.
Stay tuned to Home Health Care Today and Private Duty Today for more new developments in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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, Health Care Reform, thought leadership

Home Care Software Geek Pokes Fun at Conference Calls

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 26, 2010 7:33:00 PM

The Home Care Software Geek posts in this blog don't talk about Home Care Nursing Software, Private Duty Telephony, DME Delivery Software, Home Infusion Care Management or the other topics we focus on regularly at Ankota.  Instead, these posts are intended to keep our readers up to date with technology trends that might be useful to your agencies, such as social media technologies, mobile devices, and what's happening from the big-boys like Microsoft, Google and Apple.

If your home care agency sometimes has conference calls, you might enjoy this funny video about conference calls.  It's especially funny because it's so realistic...  Enjoy! 

Note that if you'd like to be able to hold conference calls, I've been happy with the service we get from www.FreeConferenceCall.com.  The service has good quality, 24 hour support, and nice reporting (they send you an email after each call saying who dialed in, at what time and from what number).  Also, the service is absolutely free (unless you want a toll-free number or another of their paid services).

FreeConferenceCall

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 software geek, Video

Growing Use of Elder Mediation in Home Health Care

Posted by Will Hicklen on Aug 24, 2010 3:09:00 PM

CBSNews caregivers

I saw a thought provoking piece about elder mediation and home care, posted on LinkedIn this morning by Rob McClenehan of Right At Home. If you are a member of LinkedIn, you can read his post here, and perhaps also join the Home Health & Hospice Group.

LinkedIn logo

The topic of elder mediation is probably most relevant to our Home Health Care and Private Duty customers, but our Infusion, Respiratory Therapy and Rehab customers might also find it useful. If you are one of these companies, take a look and consider what role elder mediation might play in the future of your clients.

Rob referenced an article called Elder Mediation by Angel Carl, which you can read here on Right At Home’s blog. Right At Home credits an article by Georgia Daniels of Mediate.com. Ms. Daniels is a family mediator and author in Pasadena, CA. From Right At Home’s blog, the article begins:

Eldercare mediation is a growing field that will increase in prominence as the number of elders increases. As parents age, conflicts can erupt between parents and their children over living situations, driving, or the need for more help with daily activities. In addition, conflicts may spring up between siblings about their parents’ aging, such as when it is time for more in-home care, assisted living, or which sibling is responsible for what aspects of a parent’s care. Mediation can also address more complex issues such as estate planning and inheritance or health care choices, and may be used to develop alternatives to conservatorship. Mediation offers an opportunity to explore options and develop the best plan possible for the elder and family. More…

The Role of Home Health and Private Duty Providers

After you have a good plan that the parties support--and a good mediator will help guide you through the planning--the follow through makes it successful. In addition to providing quality care, home care providers can help with this by providing clear and consistent communications on a regular basis. When families feel engaged and informed, tension is mitigated and caregivers can focus their efforts on their client. It's a better result for everyone. Family communications are simple & inexpensive to manage using existing technology. Ankota's FamilyConnect is an example of one simple way to do this. http://www.ankota.com/ankota-family-connect/

As a provider, you might also consider establishing relationships with elder mediators in your area. If the need arises with one of your clients, you will be in a better position to refer to someone confidently. Who knows, some mediators could even develop into referral sources for your business.

The topic of elder mediation continues to gain attention. Click on these images to learn more:

CBS evening news logo

RightAtHome logo 

 

eldercaremediators.com

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology, Will Hicklen, Product Information

Wired Homes for Tracking the Elderly: A Private Duty Differentiator

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 24, 2010 8:28:00 AM

Non-Medical Home Monitoring Technology is starting to get media attention as distant Family Members search for better and more affordable ways ways to track how mom and/or dad are doing. 

We've been following great stories about these trends in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Laurie Orlov's Aging in Place Technology Watch and Time Rowan's Home Care Technology Report.  If you want to get quickly up to speed, review these two posts:

This week more coverage is available, this time as a four part series on NPR.  The first article spoke about the emergence of "Villages" like Beacon Hill Village and a rapidly growing list of others that are essentially support groups to help with aging in place.  The next two, talk about non-medical remote monitoring technologies.  Here's a link to today's article (which has links to the first two in the series).  You can also access it by clicking on the picture below.

NPR Aging in Place

So now that we've established that this technology is out there, the question we need to answer is whether it poses a threat to our home care private duty agency or an opportunity?  The pessimist would say it's a threat - that families are working around us.  But the smart entrepreneurial agency sees this as an opportunity, and a way to provide differentiating service to win more business.  Here's a specific idea for you:

  1. Offer a service to evaluate for a home monitoring system.  Your evaluation can evaluate how the client is doing, check for safety issues in the home, and determine what monitors would make sense for this client and their family.  (To learn more about the monitors available, check out the demo videos at www.beclose.com).  Note that you generally provide this service for free to a prospective client - in this case you can charge.
    Be Close
  2. Install the System and Train the Family: It is guaranteed that someone in your caregiver community has a spouse or friend who can do a great job providing this installation service.  You can charge a nice margin here.
  3. Couple it with a short weekly visit and an assessment using Ankota FamilyConnect: This technology makes it easy for you to let the remote family members know how their loved one is doing.  learn more here.
    Ankota FamilyConnect
  4. Grow with the Client: The above three items will be a great service to the client and their family, and will make you some money.  But looking at the bigger picture, you've also gained a client and family who will turn to you when they need more help.

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, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology, BeClose

Productivity in Home Health Care, DME & Therapy businesses

Posted by Will Hicklen on Aug 18, 2010 1:01:00 PM

Let's think about PRODUCTIVITY – arguably the single greatest opportunity for your business today.

Wikipedia logo

Ankota is first and foremost a process management company. We develop technology that helps organizations run their Home Health Care and related businesses more efficiently. More profitably. More productively.

What we do is revolutionary because we're the only company that has organized health care into a delivery model and optimized it for performance. That takes some high-powered technology, but all you really need to know at the moment is that it helps you run your business better and achieve immediate results. 

Our customers include home health care agencies, HME and DME companies, Private Duty care agencies, and "the therapies" - infusion therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, and more. If you need to mobilize staff, equipment, medications, and supplies for health care, we’re the experts you trust to help optimize your business.

I would argue that the single greatest business opportunity before these companies--companies like yours--lies with improving productivity. The greatest opportunity to improve profitability lies with better utilizing staff and resources. Relative to other markets, this business has traditionally lacked a performance culture. The market has not demanded it until now, with new pressures on revenues, limited staff, and the ever increasing costs of doing business. The most immediate option is to improve productivity. That is, generate more output with the same or fewer resources. The good news is that there are many opportunities for immediate improvement, spanning from reduction in miles driven to increased utilization of staff and equipment. Downstream benefits abound, such as reduced paperwork, improved record keeping and accountability, happier staff, and so on.

We’ll discuss several of those in subsequent articles here. However, for now, your homework is simple. I’d like to encourage you to think of your Home Health Care, DME, Private Duty or rehab business in terms of productivity. Take a look at the following definition of PRODUCTIVITY and begin to consider it in the context of your business. When you examine your operations or consider new initiatives, consider also how it will impact productivity.

Note that I am not suggesting that quality of care be compromised at all! In fact, quality of care should improve or remain constant to make productivity improvements measurable and valuable.  A business with a performance minded culture is one focused on constant improvement. So, while you think about PRODUCTIVITY and your business, think of it in the context of questions like

“How can we improve the consistency of care?”

“Will clients/patients and their families be better off?”

Wikipedia has a clear definition of the word PRODUCTIVITY and includes some great supporting data. Take a look and start to think about productivity in your business.

Productivity is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input. For example, labor productivity is typically measured as a ratio of output per labor-hour, an input. Productivity may be conceived of as a metric of the technical or engineering efficiency of production. As such, the emphasis is on quantitative metrics of input, and sometimes output. Productivity is distinct from metrics of allocative efficiency, which take into account both the monetary value (price) of what is produced and the cost of inputs used, and also distinct from metrics of profitability, which address the difference between the revenues obtained from output and the expense associated with consumption of inputs.[1]  click here for full article in Wikipedia

Another way to look at it... Borrowed from Accel, experts in team productivity, The Productivity Conceptual Modelbelow, takes the form of a 'productivity tree'. The roots denote the inputs to the system, the trunk the conversion process and the foliage and fruits the systems outputs. click on graphic to go to Accel's web site

Accel productivityTree

 

 

Topics: Home Care Industry, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, thought leadership, Home Healthcare Delivery Management, HME, DME, Home Care Technology, Home Care Mobile Solutions, Will Hicklen, Home Care Scheduling Software

Home Care Software Geek explains How to Buy Software

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 15, 2010 11:53:00 PM

The Home Care Software Geek posts in this blog don't talk about Home Care Nursing Software, Private Duty Telephony, DME Delivery Software, Home Infusion Care Management or the other topics we focus on regularly at Ankota.  Instead, these posts are intended to keep our readers up to date with technology trends that might be useful to your agencies, such as social media technologies, mobile devices, and what's happening from the big-boys like Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Many home care business leaders started their companies because they had skills as a caregiver and a heart for providing care.  Along the way, they've needed to learn a lot about running a business.  This post is a primer in how to buy software for your agency taught from the perspective of a software vendor.  Here's what you need to know:

  • You should look for a partnership with your software vendor and shouldn't select a vendor who doesn't want to engage in partnership with you.
  • Let the vendor know about any gaps that are holding you back from purchasing or getting the maximum value from the software.
  • If you go through an evaluation process to choose between several vendors, share the results with the top few and see how they respond.  For example, the vendor with three deficiencies might be willing and able to solve all three faster and better than the candidate vendor with only one.
  • Sometimes the issue holding you back from moving forward is not directly related to the software.  For example, you don't know how to organize your information to load into the software, or you want to do the project but you first need to focus on a higher priority like an audit.  Explain this to the vendor because they might be able to help or plan for the delay.
  • If you see some software that you like but it needs to work with some other software you already have, explain this to the prospective vendor and set up a call between your existing vendor and the new vendor to see if they can work out the interface.
  • If a vendor reaches out to you, and there's no way you'd consider working with them, it's better to tell them "no" than to "string them along"
  • When you set up a meeting with a prospective vendor, and something changes requiring you to move or cancel, let them know.
  • When negotiating with the software company, focus on the items that are critical to you and also think about items you might be able to offer to the vendor.  For example, if they are able to give you a lower monthly price, can you give them more up-front or might you be willing to help as a reference or by providing a case study.
  • There are advantages to using the software without customizing it.  You'll get better support and easier upgrades, so if something doesn't work as you expect, first ask the vendor how the software is intended to work before customizing.
  • Once you engage in a relationship, continue in the spirit of partnership by letting the vendor know how they can continuously improve their product.  Chances are that if you're a good partner to them, that you'll get preferential treatment, and that the improvements you suggest will be helpful for the vendor to sell to other customers.

partnership

Bottom line is that it's all about developing and maintaining a strong partnership.

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: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Health Aide Software, home care software geek, Home Care Technology, Home Care Scheduling Software

Brightree Buys CAU: Consolidation in DME Software

Posted by Will Hicklen on Aug 11, 2010 6:14:00 PM

Brightree’s acquisition of CAU should surprise no one. See full HME News story here

CEO Dave Cormack said it clearly, “Their customer base is right in the sweet spot of our customer base.” Cormack wants to grow by acquisition, consolidate his customer base with others, and expand his services. It is a wise strategy. Other industries have followed this path, and quite frankly, it’s about time that DME & other businesses in the home health care ecosystem do the same. 

hnews logo resized 600

Consolidation among DME providers will drive a similar consolidation among the companies that develop technology for them. Simply put, there will be fewer deals for the software companies to win. The ones that win will be those that provide the highest business value at the most compelling price, and deliver it in a model that is easy to implement & use. Even so, compared to other industries, DME is still highly fragmented. Just as there are many DME providers, so too are there many software companies selling to them, and none with a dominant market position. That is the definition of a market ripe for consolidation and it is still anyone’s market to win in DME. It will likely take a few years to settle.

So how will this go? The industry has focused long and hard on improving billing practices and decreasing the time it takes to get reimbursed. Companies like Brightree and Care Centric have built businesses that include both billing-related software and actual billing services. The next great opportunity is in using technology to increase business productivity. DME has seen little in the way of productivity improvement in recent years and has suffered through decreasing reimbursements while energy and labor costs continue to rise.

Resource and staff utilization is inefficient in DME, relative to other industries. For example, research conducted by Ankota, Inc. indicates that DME providers can cut operating costs such as mileage and fuel expenses by 25-35% immediately, simply through better scheduling and route planning. The same applies to home health care, respiratory therapy, rehab, and others that depend on home delivery and mobile workforces. Further, the addition of real time, mobile technologies and practices known in other industries as business performance management (BPM) will allow them to better model capacity and use it more efficiently. Technology can improve tracking and accountability, reduce mileage, eliminate paperwork, and improve quality.

The immediate business benefits include more deliveries in less time and at lower costs. Higher revenue. Lower marginal costs. That sounds simple, right? 

The software companies that help DME companies actually run their businesses better and more profitably will be the ones that win. If you are a DME company, make software companies prove that they can reduce your operating costs and improve productivity. You should be able to tell whether they have expertise in business performance management and they should be able to prove it.

Those are the ones you can bet on.

Topics: thought leadership, HME, DME, Will Hicklen, Home Care Scheduling Software

Home Care Workers Benefit from Antioxidants

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 10, 2010 6:04:00 PM

When discussing home care technology, this blog is on the leading edge, but unfortunately on the subject of nutrition, I often find myself behind the curve.  So writing about nutrition is intended not just for our healthy caregivers initiative, but for self-learning too.

Recently there's been a lot of talk about which is the best blueberriesantioxidant.  Is it the wild blue-berry or the red bean?  But nobody explains why it matters.   So here it is in simple English...  Antioxidants help prevent your cells from dying.  This means that they can help prevent or delay cancer, heart disease and some effects of aging.  Pretty big deal!  When cells oxidize (as an aside, rust is a form of oxidization) they release free radicals that are able to cause more oxidization thus leading to a chain reaction.  The antioxidants combat this by being oxidized themselves and in the process they remove the harmful free radicals.

There are lots of debates about what the best antioxidant is.  Some studies have touted rare and specialty items like Abut it doesn't really matter which is absolutely the best.  The important thing is to be aware of the types of foods that provide antioxidants and figure out how to incorporate more into your diets and the diets of the people for whom you provide care. My nutritionist friend KC Hayes recently forwarded me a scholarly article concluding that many affordable berries like strawberries, blueberries and red raspberries may prevent cancer just as well as those in studies (early studies used black raspberries).  Here's a link to the story (from the Ohio State University Medical Center). And as you'll remember, KC is a phenomenal photographer so here's one of his recent photos that he shared.

SteamingBeauty

My wife's favorite choice for incorporating antioxidants into her diet is to drink a glass of red wine daily (and here's an article from the Mayo Clinic website backing her up).  I think I'll go get her one now...

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: Healthy Caregivers, Elderly Care, thought leadership

Who Should "Do" Telehealth? Home Care? Hospitals? or Families?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 5, 2010 8:25:00 AM

The conversation on telehealth has shifted quickly...  Just one year ago the question was "does Telehealth deliver value?"  Over a very short period of time and backed by many studies showing positive results, the question of the value of telehealth seems to have been answered with a resounding yes... Now the question is "Who should 'do' telehealth?" What I mean by who should 'do' it, is the following:

  1. Who should make the case to an individual patient/client about the value of telehealth for their situation?
  2. Who should buy and own the Telehealth unit?
  3. Who should perform the monitoring and follow up?

It would seem that home care agencies would be very well equiped to do telehealth, but there are other contenders - most notably hospitals/doctors and families.

One of my favorite bloggers, Tim Rowan from HCTR (Home Care Tim Rowan of Home Care Tech ReportTechnology Report  at www.homecaretechreport.com) wants homecare to do telehealth.  He has been evangelizing telehealth as a primary focus in his writing for over a year.  But more recently, Tim has been cautioning and lamenting that market forces (specifically telehealth device manufacturers) aren't bothering to target home care.  They're having more success with hospitals and families.  See specifically this weeks feature article entitled "With or Without Home Care Agency Involvement, Remote Patient Monitoring Moves Into Consumers' Consciousness" at this link.

Home Care Tech Report

We've been trying to do our part to educate the home care market Will Hicklenon telehealth as well and I'd direct your attention to Will Hicklen's article "Telehealth, Home Monitoring and Home Care Business" and my follow up "Telehealth, Home Monitoring and Home Care Business - Part II".

The core issue here comes down not to who will "do" telehealth, but rather who will pay for it.  For an interesting take on this, I'd highly encourage you to look at the post "Healthcare Reform without Permission - A Recipe" inspired by a presentation by Dr. Randall S. Moore who is president of American Telecare - a maker of telehealth devices.  Dr. Moore compells us to focus on the Dr. Randall Moorevalue (savings) delivered by Telehealth and to collaborate with the effected players to find the money (e.g., if care for a CHF patient will cost $15K less per year with Telehealth than without, then the insurance company would be silly not to pay for the telehealth).

American Telecare

So presuming that you want your home health or private duty agency to do telehealth, what should you do about it?  Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • If you're in home health, you can go to the hospitals, doctors and insurance companies and make the case that you can do it better and cheaper.
  • If you're in private care, you might grow your business significantly by helping families get started with telehealth early (this way, as care needs increase you'll be the obvious choice to fill the gap)
  • In either case, waiting for CMS to come forth with "we'll pay you if you do this" isn't going to put you in a leadership position

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, Health Care Reform, Care Coordination, Aging in Place Technology

Lessons on Running a Better Homecare Business from Brightstar CEO

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 4, 2010 8:19:00 AM

As we grow Ankota's business, I try to read a lot about successful shelly sungrowing businesses and apply their lessons.  Today I read a compelling article about Brightstar, a Chicago-based home care franchise, and some lessons learned by their CEO Shelly Sun.  As always I encourage you to read the original article, but here are some of the highlights:

  • A survey taught them things that the numbers didn't reveal: In this case they learned that franchisees were unhappy
  • Listening to Customers yielded Great Results: In this case the customers were franchisees, but we can all learn through customer feedback (good and bad)
  • Less is More: By sponsoring less initiatives but doing them very well, the company improved satisfaction.
  • Growth is not Good Enough: Home care is a rapidly growing market, so doing better than last year might mean that you're still losing pace and losing share.  In Brightstar's case they're on pace to grown from $51M in 2009 to $115M in 2010 - over 100% growth.
  • Improving the Technology yields strong Returns: One area where Brightree gained success and satisfaction from their franchises was in the technology improvement initiatives.

Brightstar Logo

Whether you run a large or small home care business, there are things to learn from Brightstar's course corrections and the positive results they've yielded. 

Note that if you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this story, inspired by Pat Drea, COO of Visiting angels.

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, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology

Telehealth, Home Monitoring and Home Care Business - Part II

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 2, 2010 9:59:00 AM

Will Hicklen's blog article "Telehealth, Home Monitoring and Home Care Business" from July 7th attracted a lot of attention as he shared compelling results from a 4.5 year unbiased Veteran's Tim RowanAdministration study showing tremendous savings from Home Telehealth.  Home care technology analyst and pioneer Tim Rowan has been ahead of the curve and evangelizing about this topic as his main message since launching HomeCareTechReport a year ago, and now even the mainstream media is catching on - both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have featured pieces on home telehealth in the past weeks, interestingly however one focused on remote monitoring by healthcare professionals, while the other focused on remote monitoring by family members.  Let's explore...

The Wall Street Journal Article, entitled "The Do-It-Yourself House WSJ dot com logoCall", by Avery Johnson on July 27th looks at the case for telehealth monitoring of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients.  CHF has been the issue of choice in many initial studies of the value of home telehealth and rightly so, because the value can be measured in significant savings and significantly improved patient quality of life.  This particular article focuses on "phase II" where the remote devices include a wireless scale and a wireless blood pressure cuff, making the patient experience easier and more comfortable.  Click on the image below to read the full article.

WSJ Telehealth for CHF

The New York Times story, entitled "Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents"  (July 28th by Hillary Stout) talks NYT Logoabout families keeping better track of their loved ones using remote monitoring technologies.  This further validates that family members are looking for better ways to stay in touch with their aging loved ones.  This same trend is what inspired Ankota to offer FamilyConnect, which enables agencies to communicate more effectively to the families of those for whom you provide care.  Click on the image below to learn more about FamilyConnect.

Ankota FamilyConnect

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, Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology, Product Information

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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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