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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Create a Culture of Learning in Home Health Care & HME

Posted by Will Hicklen on Dec 30, 2010 11:41:00 AM

There are formal and informal cultures of learning, and this post discusses how both are used and how to put them to work in home health care, HME, Private Duty and Therapy businesses.

Mary Jo Asmus Aspire Collaborative Services

This article referenced in SmartBrief on Leadership is from Mary Jo Asmus, a former Fortune 100 exec turned executive coach. In her December 28th article, “Note to C-Suite: Flaunt Your Learning and Development,” she cautions against the all-too-common practice of hiding your learning. Instead, she writes, “We all need to continue to learn. We all have developmental needs, and this doesn’t mean we’re weak or bad leaders. It means we need to continually reinvent ourselves to keep up, and that is a good thing. It means that there is always something to get better at.” Asmus continues with two bits of valuable advice for leaders:

SmartBrief on Leadership

Be open about your learning and development The downside of not being open about your own learning is that you risk encouraging a culture that downplays learning or encourages an attitude of invincibility. That attitude can have serious consequences, including discouraging creativity and fostering a culture that is quick to cover up errors. 

Encourage learning throughout your organization Support you staff in their learning and encourage continuous learning. Discuss learning openly an coach them in applying what they learn in the workplace.



think3 logodescribe the image

Ankota is the fourth software startup I have been involved in. At think3 (Santa Clara, CA), I had the good fortune of working alongside a Silicon Valley icon named Joe Costello. Joe is a tremendous leader and visionary with an enviable track record that includes leading Cadence Design Systems (NASDAQ: CDNS) from startup to IPO and $1B+ in annual revenue. Among his numerous recognitions is one from Chief Executive Magazine recognizing him as the most effective CEO among all publicly traded companies in North America. Perhaps Joe’s greatest trait is his creativity, followed closely by his continual thirst for learning. This drives him 24x7, and it is a trait that he readily embraces and speaks about openly. As a result, the people around Joe clamor to learn more, as well. His teams are constantly looking at other business models and industries. They do this not because he directs them to, but because they feed off of his fervor and example. He encourages dialogue and even dispute, because it almost always advances creativity and accelerates execution.

In 2007, we sold a startup, iLumin, to software giant CA (NASDAQ: CA, formerly Computer Associates). While think3 had a vibrant culture of informal learning, CA has a very formal, structured culture that demands constant learning. In a company of 14,000+ employees, the structure helps. Every employee at every level, from CEO to receptionist, has learning objectives by which they are measured and compensated. During my four years there that followed the acquisition by CA, I gladly completed executive programs provided by Harvard Business School and others. Topics ranged from financial management to law, project management and operations. I benefitted tremendously, as does everyone at CA.

Learning in Home Health, HME, Therapy and Private Duty Businesses

There has always been a learning culture in healthcare that is focused on preparing and maintaining clinical skills and certifications. Of course, this is mandated by regulatory bodies and managed through continuing education credits. This type of learning is focused on establishing and maintaining competency. It is necessary, even required, in order to operate your business. However, competency is not sufficient to ensure success.

As a leader, how do your actions convey the value that you place on learning? Do you learn and share lessons through coaching? Or is it ignored? Either way, your staff notices and takes their cue from you. Here are a few things you can do to start the ball rolling:


Read articles, blogs, and books that focus on leadership and running a business, and that are not focused on your industry. Share the best ones with your staff. Share some bad ones and tell them why you don’t like them.

Hold formal & informal discussions with your staff, asking them what they would like to learn in 2011. Help them narrow it to no more than 2-3 actionable items and build a plan and support and encourage them throughout the year. Maybe you give them a Borders Books gift card, or send them to a workshop, or enroll them in a class.

One of the best values for your business is to educate managers on financial concepts. There are inexpensive courses with titles like “Finance for Non-Financial Managers.” If you treat them like a business manager, they will think like business managers and begin to correlate their operations with the financial impact they have on the company. They will also know that you value their opinions and ability to impact the business.


Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Recommended Reading, Home Care Industry, Home Care Best Practices, thought leadership, Will Hicklen, Leadership, Learning

Laurie Orlov's Aging in Place 2010 Recap provides Home Care Insight

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 29, 2010 8:04:00 AM

How did you spend you holiday vacation?  Aging in Place expert Laurie Orlov clearly spent hers thinking about what happened in Laurie Orlov2010 and what is likely to happen in 2011 in the arena of aging in place.  Although Laurie focuses primarily on the technology side, home care is the human services enabler for aging in place.  Her article is a long one, but is rich with information that can help transform the way we provide care.  Enjoy!

December 2010 Newsletter - 2010 wrap and 2011 trends to watch

by Laurie Orlov

In the sweeping generalization category, 2010 was a year of significant progress in tech for an aging population. It was a year of greater general market awareness about the role of tech and aging thanks to NPR, more sophisticated technology capabilities, and a boost in training and interest among those who serve an older population. Let's round up 2010, a year in which the concept and goals of aging in place took off, creating buzz and greater interest in the related technologies and services to help individuals, families, and professional caregivers. As a result of 2010, let's look into the 2011 crystal ball -- when the first of the intrepid baby boomers becomes a 65-year-old 'senior boomer' (arggghhh!), predict a few things and express some hope for a few others:

  • Remote home monitoring got buzz and investment.  Venture capitalists stepped up for remote monitoring: Healthsense received venture funding, as did WellAWARE. Numerous news outlets pointed a consumer flashlight onto GrandCare Systems and this still fairly narrow market, now blurred further this year with remote health monitoring (aka telehealth, wireless health) -- now in some cases reimbursed due to vital sign monitoring during post-hospital rehab stays.

PREDICTION: 2011 will further blur the distinction between remote health monitoring and passive activity monitoring. Given the fertile health technology marketplace of grants for trial projects among non-profit organizations, my take is that vendors would do well to add device enablement (like blood pressure and weight scale), seek FDA approval and throw in the towel on preserving a standalone category.

  • The PERS market got a Philips auto alert boost.  In January, Philips launched Lifeline with Auto Alert for automatic fall-detecting PERS devices, likely at the expense of its own Lifeline device sales. By creating market awareness (yuk, that home page is still bleak, bleak, bleak!) about passive fall detection and notification, Philips offered help for competitors Wellcore, Halo Monitoring and others with fall detection capability. Meanwhile, mobile PERS with GPS location identification continued its move (pun intended) forward and outside the home -- striving to appeal to a younger and more out-and-about population.

PREDICTION: In 2008, PERS market growth was predicted to be flat -- Parks Associates asserted a $600 million flat line, supplanted by a corresponding growth in passive remote monitoring. Not so, it turns out. Today PERS is approximately a $1 billion market -- and while there are a number of new remote monitoring entrants, passive remote monitoring is still below the adoption radar. What's next? I am waiting (and may have to wait well past 2011) for elder-focused applications and trained carrier call centers that leverage the built-in accelerometers, GPS trackability, and (ha, ha!) ease of use of cell and smart phones. In the meantime, PERS sales will grow, not as fast, but steadily as the population ages into frailty -- remembering that 85+ is the fastest growing segment, that PERS contracts typically last only for two years.

  • Games got gestures -- someday seniors will benefit. With the launch of Microsoft's Kinect interface, teens got a chance to jump higher while playing group Xbox games, including the ability to play group games simultaneously from separate locations.  But speaking instructions and using hand gestures is an important user interface change that can transform the accessibility of apps -- check out this MIT Kinect browser navigation accomplishment posted just minutes (it seemed) after Kinect sold out at Target.

PREDICTION: Hand gestures, recognizable features, and spoken commands -- app vendors, go forth and create! At least 5 vendors focused on the older adult market will offer a Kinect-enabled application by end of 2011. Throw in specific health and chronic disease management -- many times five. Design-for-all apps, lots and lots.

  • The iPad marginalized the need for an annoying PC operating system computer. In January, the iPad announcement looked pretty impressive... and the screen looked very pretty.  Well, doubt no more about boomers -- these things are everywhere, boomers seem to love them and they (or their many, many imitators) are migrating into the homes and lives of older people -- someone besides Apple will tell us how many.  These types of devices will, over time, make us forget that we used to need simplification software to overlay on top of complex and consumer-hostile devices.

PREDICTION: In our near-term lifetime, older adults depending on your children or Best Buy to upgrade Windows patches may become a distant memory. The same Microsoft that brought this brilliant Kinect interface into the market will hobble out its own tablet next week at CES. Maybe it will be foisted on enterprises through IT mandate, but among an older population for home use, forget it. Even though folks may have told AARP they won't buy one, they just didn't know what they were saying -- AARP surveyed too early (June) about a product that had just began shipping (late March).  Newer products from other vendors will also make the concept of an operating system upgrade either quaint or invisible.

  • eReaders eliminated the need for reading glasses. Meanwhile, as you can plainly see in airports, planes, trains, and TV commercials, the eReader (Nook, Shmook, etc.) is taking a big chunk out of physical books. As my husband has noted with his free Kindle reader for Blackberry, if you like to read, eReaders mean never having to search for your reading glasses.  

PREDICTION: We are in a silly 'i-this' and 'e-that' phase right now -- vendors may fight to the death to keep it that way, maybe even giving eReader devices away with a purchase of 10 or more books? But in the end, it's pointless -- eReader software will be on all tablets, game controllers, portable and phone-like devices. 

  • Caregiving software -- is this really a standalone market?  Along with initiatives to help caregivers, caregiving applications sprouted in 2010, but is this a category? With software as a service, these apps really seem to be functionality that is part of a larger caregiver portal, possibly white-labeled by a service or healthcare insurer/provider (like Kaiser Permanente) or offered by a home care agency as part of a solution that includes devices -- including home health monitoring and/or web cameras.

PREDICTION: For those caregiving applications that are part of the professional caregiver services toolkit, 2011 will be the year in which the largest home care agencies (family/companion and health) expand their tech reach. They will include standard caregiving functionality that updates and includes family participation. They will consider Skype (or its equivalent) to be a core competence of Geriatric Care Managers -- as with SeniorBridge. They will replace the requisite post-visit telephone call tag with the kind of simultaneously-viewable update that families can create with a portal like CaringBridge.

  • Dementia undermines aging in place. All remote, health, and gadgety tech notwithstanding, let's consider Alzheimer's and the CDC's statement that "nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease." (Feel free to spend some time online trying to nail down that definition, the percentage, and/or its source, but I digress...) Wander prevention technology presumes a willing and available responder to receive those close-by alerts or forming a relationship with the local police to find the missing. It presumes someone is wearing a tag, device, necklace or bracelet. But we're better at locating prisoners and dogs than we are at preventing people from wandering to the point of danger. 

PREDICTION: During 2011, more vendors will emerge with unobtrusive tracking devices linked to smart notification software that incorporates a hierarchy of responders and a multiplicity of ways to reach them. Hey, maybe we'll even see that GPS shoe (as of today predicted by Foot.com to ship in early February 2011). If there's no associated service, though, the shoe will be absolutely useless.

  • Vendors of age-related products and services still struggle to address the market properly. The pathway to sales is littered with the simultaneous obstacles of poor economic climate, limited funding, few solutions-versus-products, long sales cycles in many cases, complex decision-making relationships (adult child? senior? professional caregiver? who?) and new management learning curves. To tackle some of these obstacles and promote sharing of lessons learned, last year's Silvers Summit spawned an AgeTek Alliance of vendors and supportive organizations, which will this year will hold training and networking sessions at CES

PREDICTION: 2011 will (hopefully) see more coherent and reusable channel cultivation, more multi-vendor product bundling, growth in training of service providers and resellers, and greater awareness of appropriate tech among referrers like doctors, GCMs, and senior housing organizations. In 2009, I speculated about certification of service providers in technology for aging in place -- in 2010, NAHB's CAPS -- Certified Aging in Place Specialist) program wisely split into two parts -- Marketing and Communication Strategies for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS I) and Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS II) -- the latter includes an assessment of needs which will, hopefully, include tech communication requirements. In 2011, there will also be forward movement that exposes minimum product requirements -- like usability, ease of installation, and ease of operation -- through ever-greater exposure of actual user experiences. Although it makes sense to consolidate objectives and outcomes among age-related consortia and groups, that is highly unlikely in the near term. Finally, for those of you considering entrance into this market, please follow these Ten Tips.

  • Bad prescription -- hospitals and the elderly. Maybe you missed it a few days ago -- more than 1 in 5 of those admitted to hospitals (2008) were over the age of 75. And those aged 85+ were 2.5 times as likely to need nursing care upon discharge as those age 65-74. Interestingly, Microsoft's HealthVault Community Connect, "a portal solution that helps connect healthcare institutions to their referring communities and patients," according to Microsoft's Luisa Monge, is just beginning to be deployed as part of hospital admission -- where discharge planning must begin if it is ever to function properly. 

HOPE: To get to the hospital, someone has to call 911 (or drive in the car). My dream is that whoever does the calling or driving has the ability to produce a list of current medications on a sheet of paper that has all identifying information, including the name of the doctor, next of kin and contact info. This is so low-tech -- if the very old can't stay out of hospitals, can they at least arrive armed with their own data?  

  • Design for all or design for aging? Finally, let's tackle the thorny issue of whether there is such a thing as 'tech for seniors' or should all tech incorporate certain core principles -- in effect, 'design-for-all?'  How about devices with good lighting, adjustable font, audible display options, color adjustments? And as Dr. Joseph Coughlin noted, shouldn't tech be more FUN to use, not just utilitarian?

HOPE: In 2011, let's hope that marketing senior-related products doesn't have to be fear-focused to effectively reach the consumer.  Let's hope that it becomes less and less important to design tech exclusively for the use of older adults. Let's hope that everything we use is wonderfully easy to figure out, that the buttons on our new TV remotes are bigger, that configuring web-enabled television can be done in fewer than 5 perilous steps (this requirement was comfirmed by Best Buy), that the user manual is only a nice-to-have that comes with our phones, readers, tablets, and games. Let's hope that if we want the full-featured, heavy-duty sophisticated options -- or we want tech to be friendlier in the event that our dexterity, vision, or hearing declines ever so slightly -- that even though you can't always get (exactly) what you want, you can usually get what you need.

Laurie Orlov's Aging in Place Technology Watch

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: Senior Demographics, Home Care Industry, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Aging in Place Technology, Home Care Technology

Happy Holidays from Ankota: Check out our wacky video!

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 16, 2010 9:51:00 AM

Ankota is really blessed to have the chance to work with the wonderful people in the home care industry.  Thank you so much to our customers, blog readers, prospects and friends.  We thank you for great support and encouragement in 2010 and for the fact that our products have gotten better thanks to your inputs.  We promise you even more and even better in 2011.

Please enjoy our wacky Christmas video for 2010.


Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management

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, Video

For Home Care, the way forward requires you to think like a start-up

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 15, 2010 11:28:00 AM

There are two things you can do to increase the profit for your home care agency: 1) you can spend less, and 2) you can sell more.  Bill Dombi NAHCA lot of the focus of Ankota is to help you to spend less, but that's not enough to sustain and to grow your business...  You've got to sell more!  And you don't have to take our word for it.  Instead, listen to Bill Dombi from the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) in this video (jump right to 0:25 into the video to hear Bill).  Bill explains that there's a huge opportunity for growth in home care, and that all kinds of organizations (hospitals, disease management organizations, physician practices, and others) are looking into how they can grab pieces of the market.

In the mean time, home care agencies are lamenting the cuts in reimbursement that are being handed down from CMS.  Well OK, but what's done is done...  The bottom line is that the home care industry needs to "shake that off" and start looking at the opportunity like you're starting a business.  That's precisely what the outsiders referred to by Bill are doing, and we need to do it too.  This is called "Corporate Entrepreneurship", which is a process by which existing companies look to expand into new businesses.

So how do you do it?  Well let's start by looking at an example we can all relate to.  The agency RightAtHome just announced what they're doing to expand into the arena of transitional care (helping to prevent readmissions).  The call their initiative "RightTransitions" and you can read their full story here.  From the article, here's their description of the program and its results:

Right at Home Care Transitions




How does RightTransitions work? 

A patient navigator works with the patient and discharge planners to develop personalized options for support services through Right at Home, transportation to pharmacy visits and follow-up physician’s appointments, medication reminders, light housekeeping and meal preparation.

After patients are discharged from a hospital, they are assisted in the home by Right at Home caregivers who help with medication pick-up and reminders, transportation to follow-up physician appointments and household duties to keep their homes safe and clean. Caregivers also serve as the eyes and ears for family members and doctors should any notable situations arise.  Making sure people are cared for as they transition from one care environment to another is key in preventing readmissions. 

In a transitions program in North Carolina, Right at Home worked with Forsythe Medical Center to successfully reduced hospital readmissions of participants by 53 percent.   How?  By addressing the complex needs of discharged patients, the “Hospital to Home Program” ensures a strong, home-based recovery.  This partnership is the first of its kind in North Carolina and is recognized statewide as a model initiative. 

If you provide home care, you're probably realizing that you have the skills to provide a program like this too.  The skill that you're missing might be the "entrepreneurship" skill, which starts from seeing the opportunity and putting a plan in place to seize it, which likely involved the following:

  • Seeing the opportunity
  • Getting internal buy-in to try it out
  • Describing the process and making a presentation
  • Partnering with at least one hospital to try it
  • Naming the program

You can do it too...  And if we listen to Bill Dombi's words as a warning, you should be doing it.  To help, we'll start sharing more on Home Care Entrepreneurship on this blog.  As a quick aside, Ankota's home care software allows outside groups (like discharge planners) to refer and follow their patients online.  Contact Ankota for a demo.

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 Entrepreneurship, Home Care Best Practices, Care Coordination, transitional care, Video

Scientists Acknowledge the Need for Home Health Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 13, 2010 7:58:00 AM

With the population aging and the ability to treat more diseases, the world is waking up to the fact that health care delivery will need to change.  A lot of what we hear in the news is motivated by politics and most recently health care reform, which in the case of home care focused its attention on mischarging and punished the home care industry rather than focusing on the population demographics and rewarding the industry...  But this isn't a post about sour grapes and we certainly can't tolerate the bad apples who tried (and in some cases still try) to rip off the payers.

Instead, we turn today to scientists who generally (and refreshingly) are focused on fact-based analysis and generally are not concerned with politics.  The Science Blog weighs in on the case for home care.

Science Blog Logo

In most cases when our blog posts are based on another article, our goal is to give you enough information to inspire you to go read the external article.  This one, however, probably doesn't bring a whole lot of new information to those of you who work in the home care industry.  It is a nice article however because it's not political and because it describes home care to an audience who isn't knowledgeable about it.  So if interested, by all means go and read it here.

A few compelling points from the article are as follows:

  • This is a global phenomenon (the findings are based on a global study involving China, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States)
  • The article uses the RAND study on home care as its major source of information.  The report, “Health and Well-Being in the Home: A Global Analysis of Needs, Expectations, and Priorities for Home Health Care Technology,” is available at www.rand.org.
  • The key conclusion is that home care can be a key solution to the chanllenge (see full quote below)

“The aging of the world’s population and fact that more diseases are treatable will create serious financial and manpower challenges for the world’s health care systems,” said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study’s lead author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Moving more health care into the home setting where patients or family members can manage care could be one important solution to these challenges.”

RAND Home Care Logo

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: Senior Demographics, Home Care Industry, Health Care Reform, thought leadership, Home Care Technology

Everyone Counts in Home Health Care, Too.

Posted by Will Hicklen on Dec 9, 2010 1:09:00 PM

A fellow Miami University alumnus, Tim Walsh, publishes a blog titled "Leadership and Sports." I am a fan of sports analogies (pun intended) and his posts tend to be both brief and entertaining, so I occasionally take a peak to see what he's saying. I happen to like blogs because the better ones tend to share some useful stuff with a bite-sized approach...and I can read them on my iPhone. That's ideal for someone like me who has no real time for recreational reading. 

Tim Walsh Leadership and Sports Blog

I was especially interested to read Tim's take on our beloved Miami's upset, come from behind win in the Mid American Conference Championship last weekend against #25 ranked Northern Illinois. I noticed just below that entry a short post titled "Everyone Counts," and took the few moments it required to read it. It struck me immediately how this relates to Ankota's customers.

The ecosystem of providers that make up the post acute care services world--Ankota's customers--employs an incredibly wide ranging and diverse set of skills. Physicians, nurses, case managers, therapists, delivery drivers, companion aids and even housekeepers and handy men, are all integral to an efficiently run home healthcare model: a Private Duty home care company, and HME delivery company, and infusion therapy company, an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a hospital discharge planning organization, and so on. Obviously, some are very highly skilled and educated, while others may be less educated, immigrant workers for whom English may not even be their first language. That presents specific challenges in developing technology for this wide range of users, of course. The dynamics among employees and with their patients and clients can be tremendously complex. Not a single one should be overlooked, as they all have a tremendous impact on your company's performance and reputation.

I won't spoil Tim's message beyond that, but read on and think about who the kicker is in your organization.

Walsh 042

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Everyone Counts

It probably doesn't surprise you to know that the average lineman in college football is 300 pounds-most of it muscle. You may not be surprised to know that college running backs are over 6 feet in height and weigh north of 200 pounds. None of this size matters in the last seconds of a tied game.

This weekend, two important games were decided by kickers. On Friday night, Boise State lost for the first time and dashed any hopes they had to play for the national championship. They blew a 24-0 halftime lead against Nevada, but had a chance to win with 2 seconds to go. Their kicker, Kyle Brotzman, missed from 26 yards out-that's a little more than an extra point (more on that later). They were tied in overtime when Brotzman had a chance to win it with a 29 yard field goal. He missed that one too. Nevada drove down the field and their kicker, Anthony Martinez made a 34 yarder to win.

Last night, I'm watching Georgia and Georgia Tech play in their annual rivalry. Tech was down by 14 in the fourth quarter but came back. Their kicker, Scott Blair lined up for the extra point to tie the game with less than 5 minutes remaining. Oops-wide left. Tech couldn't recover and lost a game they should have won.

The point of these stories is not to throw stones at field goal kickers. The point is that they are the smallest guys on the field with little to do during a game. If they kick off, kick it deep and keep it in play. Make all extra points and make all field goals within your demonstrated range. Keep loose and don't panic. In some respect, they have to have the same mental make up as a closer in baseball. Keep things straight in your head!

In business, everyone counts. There may be those in your organization that don't have a big role. Do know however, they can make a huge difference. Think of the receptionist that is the first impression for your organization. Think of the clerk who makes sure everyone gets paid every two weeks. They may not seem important at first-but they too can be game changers. Make sure they understand their role and how important it is that they perform at a high level.

I'm sure Mr. Brotzman and Mr. Blair will survive these games and find a way to redeem themselves. They are important members of their respective teams. Keep this in mind as you review your team and their individual contributions.
Miami logo

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

Steve Jobs from Apple can teach more to Home Care: A Sequel

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 7, 2010 6:20:00 AM

Last week we posted a story about how Steve Jobs from Apple computer makes phenomenal presentations and how we in the home care industry can learn from him as we work to "reinvent" our industry.  That original story is here.

As a follow-up, someone shared with me an actual Steve Jobs presentation, which I'm sharing with you below in the form of a YouTube video.  Unlike the product presentations that were the main focus of last week's post, this is actually a video of a graduation address that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University.

With the present success of Apple, one might think that Steve Jobs had it easy, but this is titally not the case.  Did you know the following about Steve Jobs:

  • He was put up for adoption
  • He dropped out of college
  • He was fired from Apple Computer
  • He had pancreatic cancer and lived

The adversity isn't what really mattered... What's important is how he dealt with the adversity, and how he never compromised certain values like focusing on doing what he loves.

The video is a bit long at 15 minutes, but I found it well worth it.

As an aside, did you know that Steve Jobs also started Pixar?  ToyStory3And on the subject of sequels, did you see Toy Story 3?  Note that in my case I had little kids when Toy Story and Toy Story 2 came out and might have missed Toy Story 3 now that my kids are older, but that would have been a mistake - it's one of the best movies I've ever seen.

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: thought leadership, home care software geek, Video

Home Care Agencies Need Insurance for Employee Cars

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 6, 2010 9:05:00 AM

Today's post comes from the publication InPro Outlook (volume I, No.4, Fall 2010) published by the New York State Home Care Providers (NYSHCP).  The topic seemed relevant beyond New York state so we're sharing it here.  Ankota recently attended the NYSHCP Annual Conference and we offer some video highlights here

NYSHCP Annual Conference

Home care agencies often have employees using their own vehicles or client vehicles on company business. Is your agency adequately protected if there is a serious accident involving your worker?

Business auto policies normally only protect against losses that involve company-owned vehicles, which is why it is important to secure a non-owned auto insurance policy. Employers non-owned auto liability insurance protects your agency from risks associated with employees who are driving their vehicles or a client’s vehicle on agency business.

In the event of an accident, an employee’s auto insurance policy will

However, in the event of a serious accident with considerable bodily injury to the occupants of the other vehicle, the limit of coverage on the

That is why maintaining Employers Non-Owned Auto Liability Coverage makes good sense for home care providers. Coverage can be purchased either as a stand-alone policy or as an endorsement to your Commercial Package policy that provides General Liability and Business Property protection for your agency.

respond first, and that policy could also respond on behalf your agency, provided there is no exclusion for business use.employee’s policy might not be sufficient to cover both the employee’s and the agency’s liability.

Through either option, the cost of this coverage is relatively inexpensive, and ultimately depends upon the number of agency employees that regularly use their vehicles or client vehicles on agency business.

In addition to securing non-owned auto coverage, it is important to put risk management tools in place to ensure your agency is adequately protected. This includes periodically checking employees’ personal automobile limits of protection. If relatively low limits of coverage are maintained by the majority of employees, then purchasing a non-owned automobile liability policy becomes more of a priority.

Whether your agency has one or dozens of employees using their personal autos for agency

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 

business, it only takes one serious accident to create a significant loss for your agency.

Topics: Healthy Caregivers, Elderly Care, New York State HCP

Can Steve Jobs from Apple teach Home Care how to make presentations?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 2, 2010 3:49:00 PM

Steve Jobs and Apple are totally on a roll with winning product Steve Jobs Presentation Expertafter winning product.  Between the iPad, iTunes, iPhones, the Mac and more it's clear that Apple is in touch with today's culture...  One amazing thing that should stand out to home care agencies as we reinvent our offerings is that there is always great anticipation for every new Apple product, and much of this can be attributed to the awesome presentations given by their leader, Steve Jobs.

The home care industry is positioned to grow and to win, but so much is changing that an important part of our jobs will be to give great presentations.  At a recent tradeshow, Bill Dombi from NAHC explained (paraphrased) that he's never been more excited about the prospects for home care, but that right now there are other organizations not presently in home care who are strategizing how to win.  Video of Bill is available here.  So we need to make presentations internally to convince our organizations to change and also to potential collaborators so that we can win in the future of home care.

The presentation slides for this posting came to us from Ankota's partner GoToMeeting (who enable our web meetings).  The author is Carmine Gallo who is a columnist for BusinessWeek.com.  Links to both are below.

This is not a topic that you'll be able to fully grasp just by reading the summary bullets, so I'd encourage you to view the full presentation here.  But to whet your appetite, here are some ofSteve Jobs Twitter Friendly Product Descriptions the key ingredients that make Steve Jobs presentations so darn powerful:

  • Create a Twitter Friendly Description
  • Tell a Story with Heros and Villains
  • Focus on the Benefits "What's in it for me?"
  • Sell Dreams, Not Products
  • Incorporate Fantastic Visuals
  • Use Zippy Words
  • Reveal a "Holy Smokes" Moment
  • Practice a real lot!

GoToMeeting LogoBusiness Week Logo  

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 Best Practices, Health Care Reform, home care software geek

Give your Home Care Workers Wireless Air Cards with No Monthly Fee

Posted by Ken Accardi on Dec 1, 2010 7:58:00 AM

Some things seem to good to be true but every once in a while you find a real gem.  I'm pleased to report one to you today - it's Tethercalled Tether (see www.tether.com).  Most laptops, netbooks and tablet PCs come with wifi nowadays and you can connect them to the internet via wireless when you are at a location where you have wireless and have permission to connect to it.  In my case, I have wireless at home, at the office and can connect at other places like hotels and airports, but sometimes have to pay a fee.  Other times I can't get in.  As a home care worker, it's unlikely that you can get a wifi connection at a patient or client's home.

The alternative has been to buy an aircard (generally available from Sprint, AT&T, Verizon or another cell phone company).  The reason that these companies sell the aircards is that they use the  cell phone wireless network to connect.  Also similar to cell phones, the general model is to sell you the aircard itself (often discounted) and then charge a monthly fee for the airtime.  Fees generally run from $40 - $60/month.

What if you could instead pay a one time fee for program that turns your Blackberry or Android phone into an aircard?  That's what Tether does for you.  For a one time fee under $50, you can give your nurses internet access anywhere their cell phone works.  This would enable the following:

  • You can get send new patient's to your workers electronically while they're on the road, instead of having them do paper notes.
  • You can get notes and other information (like arrival and deprture time) throughout the day instead of getting it late in the evening when the nurse uploads it

But paying $500 a year or more per nurse generally isn't the kind of things we're looking for these days...  Tether offers a free alternative that uses the data plan you already pay for on your Blackberry or Android phone.  Here's how it works:

  1. You download tether on your phone and on your laptop, netbook or tablet (this takes just a few minutes)
  2. You start tether on your phone (either using a USB cable to connect to your computer or Bluetooth wireless)
  3. Then you start Tether on your computer and connect, and Voila you're on the internet

Tether Your Smartphone

You might not yet provide smart phones like Blackberry phones to your nurses, but if not I bet you've been thinking about it.  This Kelly McNamara Always There Home Carewould allow you to cut down on phone calls via text messaging, give you access to great apps (many free) like google maps for turn-by-turn directions, and in fact Ankota offers an alternative to telephony whereby you can report arrivals, departures and care plan status on any broswer enabled phone.  At NPDA, Kelly McNamara from Always There Home Care gave a great presentation on how she gets tremendous value (both measurable and in terms of worker satisfaction)  by providing Blackberry phones to her private duty care givers.

So check out Tether at www.tether.com as another way to provide better care at lower cost.

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, home care software geek, Home Care Technology

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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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