The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

Inspiration, Creation, and Innovation in Home Health Care

Posted by Will Hicklen on Mar 30, 2011 3:19:00 PM

The Healthcare Delivery Management blog often deals with the business of coordinating and delivering home healthcare, medical equipment (HME and DME), Infusion nursing, Private Duty and related services, but today's videos are really just meant to provoke some thought about what drove you to be in the business you are in.

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The CEO's of several companies from multiple industries were interviewed for the videos, including Ankota's CEO, Will Hicklen. The point of these videos is not to brag about Ankota (although that's always fun for us!), rather to hear directly from the CEOs of these organizations about the role of Inspiration, Creation, and Innovation in business.

Ankota is very proud to have been recently recognized as a leader in technology innovation by the Chesapeake Regional Technology Council. CRTC is the Mid Atlantic region's fastest growing technology organization, where Ankota is headquartered, and concerns itself with technology in all businesses including healthcare. The interviews were recorded and broadcast during the the CRTC's recent awards dinner. Many thanks to our friends at Meezonet for producing and sharing the videos!

 

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Care Coordination, thought leadership, Home Healthcare Delivery Management, Home Care Technology, Will Hicklen, Video

Must discharge planners offer Home Health Choices?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 23, 2011 2:21:00 PM

I've been to numerous home care leadership conferences and this question seems to come up a lot.  Here's a clear and succinct answer courtesy of "Home Care Insider Q & A" available here or by clicking the banner below.

Home Care Insider Q and A

Q: Is there a requirement that states that hospital discharge planners must offer a choice of home health agencies to patients who opt for those services?

 

A: There is a requirement that addresses this and all patients have the right to choose their healthcare providers. Federal regulations require hospitals to develop a list of home health agencies that: ask to be on the list, are Medicare certified, and provide services in the area where the patient lives. They are then required to present the list to patients who are to receive services. If a hospital has a financial interest in a homecare agency and that agency is included on the list, the financial interest must be disclosed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers guidance regarding non-discrimination in post-hospital referral to home health agencies by requiring that hospital discharge planning may not limit qualified providers of home health services, must include the availability of home health services in the area, must disclose financial relationships with home health service entities, and has advised agencies to contact their regional office to report suspected violations of these requirements. It is important to remember that your agency must request to be on the list of home health agencies.

While the answer is simple, it's not easy.  I've heard that some discharge organizations require you to wait a long time or to reprint their lists at your expense in order to get on.  There's also the diffence between being on the list and actually getting referrals.  What can you do so that when the discharge planner is asked "which one would you choose  if you were me?" that your agency rolls off of their tongue.  In 2011, it comes down to a lot of things, as follows:

  • Having the discharge planner know you, know you care, and know that you're easy to deal with
  • Have differentiators that immediately come to mind, like "I love working with Hazel's agency because I can make a 30 second phone call and know that you'll receive great care"
  • Prove that you reduce readmissions.  Can you make this claim and back it up with stats?
  • Go upstream and have the doctors refer you.  Stephen Tweed has a seminar on selling homecare to physicians that you can learn about here

Selling Home Health Care to Physicians

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, Care Coordination, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO, Learning

Home Care Software Geek update on the Smart Phone Situation

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 18, 2011 7:32:00 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.

Today's post is about mobile phones and more specifically smart phones (which are the kind of cell phones that let you do email and applications [generally referred to as aps]).  Examples of smart phones are the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid phones.

In 2010 there were 67 million smart phones shipped in the US and this year the prediction is 97 million.  Given that there are roughly 300 million Americans, we can see that the day of the smart phone is upon us.

So the key questions for home care become the following:

  • What can I do with a smart phone to improve my service and lower my cost?
  • Which phone should I get?  And do I need to get business phones for my workers?

Our answers are as follows:

  • Smart phones will become a viable platform for replacing telephony functions, DME delivery racking, replacing phone calls with text messages, automating notifications to and from your workers, and getting directions.  Some are looking to the phone as the device for doing nursing and therapy notes, but we're not bought into this on a 3.5" screen
  • We believe that cell phones have become a personal choice item and encourage you should let your employees get whatever phone they want.  Our telephony-replacement works on any smart phone.  The tradeoff that we make with this choice is that our ap won't be as attractive as the iPhone and Android aps that are emerging.

And now for the geek stuff...  Here's a pie chart of mobile phone operating systems at the end of 2009.

cell phone operating system share 2009

What you'll see is that most phones are not smart phones (they mostly use the "Symbian" operating software) and that Blackberry (RIM) is in the lead, followed by iPhone (iOS) and that Android has a relatively small share.

Moving to the present, we see a very different story:

smart phone operating system start of 2011

Android is now in the lead especially stealing share from Symbian and RIM is losing ground while iPhone holds their share.  The bottom line is that the "mass market" phone of the future is likely to have Android on it, whereas the wealthy and business community is moving to iPhones (where Blackberry is losing share).

We'll keep you posted!

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: Aging in Place Technology, home care software geek, Home Care Technology, Home Care Mobile Solutions

Listening for the real concerns is the Key to Home Care Sales

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 14, 2011 10:05:00 AM

Below is a fantastic article from Jason Tweed of Leading Home Care about how to actively listen during sales discussions.  He demonstrates with fantastic examples how you can identify the true concerns that your prospect is considering in their buying decision.  This post is an exceprt from the March 9th, 2011 edition of Jason's bi-weekly newsletter Private Duty Today.  Below are links to his home page and his newsletter sign-up. 

Men and women communicate differently.  According to some, women want you to understand they are from Venus; while menListening is Key to Home Care Sales Success want to teach you to build rocket ships, preferably from duct tape.

Let's face it, people don't always tell us what they want and need directly.

A good private duty salesperson learns to listen between the words.  Often the questions people ask don't get to the root of why they are buying your services, or more importantly, why they aren't going to buy your services.

Critical listening is one of the most important components of the sales process.  Too often sales people rehearse their presentation, but miss the sale because they presented an offering that wasn't appropriate.

Leading Home Care Newsletter SignupWhen families ask, "What are your hourly rates?", often they want to know, "Can I afford care?".  This makes the salesperson's job more difficult because frequently the families don't even know the questions to ask to get the information they need and want.

Good fact-finding questions and critical listening are keys to success.

Find the family's true motivation, and you will be able to answer their questions appropriately and close the sale.

Family caregivers frequently need respite care, but sometimes they see it as one more service they need to manage.  Reluctance to using respite often stems from being overwhelmed already.  Focus on rest and relaxation that respite can provide.

Privacy is a critical issue for many families.  They need help, but are concerned about having an outside individual come into their home on a regular basis.

Some families want caregivers who become part of their family.  Other families want caregivers to blend into the surroundings and become a resource.

Questions about personal care can stem from guilt.  The son or daughter knows they can't provide appropriate care with dignity, and may know they don't have the training needed.  Focus on the improved quality of life, independence, and dignity that quality care provides.

Questions about background checks and drug screenings often mask the real concern.  They want to know if you are going to provide security or added risk.  Refocus these conversations to discuss integrity and honesty.

It's impossible to present a valid solution until you know the problems a family wants to address, the real problems.

When meeting with a potential client or referral source, introduce yourself in an interesting way, indentify similarities to build rapport.  Then, stop talking.  Just listen.  Listen not to the words, but to the message and motivation behind those words.

Only after identifying true need will you be able to offer the right solution, and close more sales.

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, thought leadership

Elder Care Best Practice? or Lesson Learned from China

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 9, 2011 8:07:00 AM

I grew up in my career at GE where we had lots of "GEisms".  One was that we often looked to identify "best practices" and "lessons learned".  A best practice was, as it's name implies, something thatElder Chinese Person went well and is worthy of repeating.  A "lesson learned" was a screw-up that we should not repeat...

As you may know, China long ago had concerns about population growth rates and implemented a policy called "one child is best" telling families to only have one child.  Well, now China has 155 million elderly people and not enough children to care for them.  I'd say that this was a "lesson learned" (or at least an unintended consequence).

So now they're promoting another policy and hoping that it will be a best practice.  The new policy to mandate that Chinese children visit their parents "often".  What often means, nobody knows yet, and how to enforce the law is a mystery too.  Here's a link to the article.

Here in the US where we average closer to 2 children per family, the crisis might be less of an issue.  What do you think?

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, Elderly Care

How Much "Selling Time" Does a Home Care Sales Person Spend Each Day?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 3, 2011 2:13:00 PM

I'm at the NPDA Private Duty Leadership Conference and learning NPDAlots of things and meeting great people plus catching up with old friends and customers.  Today's post is more of a sound byte...

I attended a session yesterday about "Customer Relationship Management" in Home Care.  One of the presenters was Home Care Sales Coach Michael Giudicissi.  He shared a sports analogy that resonated with me, as follows:

  • First he asked how long a football game takes to watch andMichael Giudicissi the answer was 3.5 hours.
  • Then he asked how long the football game clock actually runs and the answer was 1 hour
  • Then he asked how long the ball is actually in play, and after soliciting guesses, he explained that the actual playing time was somewhere between 11 and 12 minutes.  Wow! Is that all?

After discussing this, he related it to a home care sales person and explained that in a good day for a home care sales person, they'll have 8 good calls and that the valuable time in each call will be around 2 minutes.  So we get 16 minutes a day. Ouch!  Note that this isn't to say that they're only working 16 minutes, just like the football players are there for the whole 3.5 hours but that's all.

I think this is valuable to know so that we can appreciate the difference between work time and valuable time.  But also, I think that we all need to strive to get more productive time per worker per day in all departments.

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, Home Care Best Practices, NPDA, Leadership

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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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