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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Home Care Technology Reality Check Courtesy of Jason Tweed

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 30, 2011 9:40:00 AM

Jason Tweed is someone I admire a great deal.  I receive his Private Duty Today newsletter from his company Leading Home Care.  I've only met him once, atJason Tweed NPDA in Philadelphia, where I heard him speak about hiring quality caregivers for private duty organizations.  After the presentation, I had a brief chance to meet him and his wife and his dad (Stephen Tweed, whose content we blog about frequently, like here and here).  Jason has a disability that confines him to a wheelchair, but that doesn't prevent him from working in private care plus consulting.  The thing I really admire about Jason is that he sees reality for what it is and when he communicates, he "calls it like he sees it."

Today's post was inspired by an article in Private Duty Today about whether you're keeping the technology up to date in your private duty organization.  I love this chock full of reality excerpt from Jason:

You MUST include using technology strategically in the discussion [about growth and increased profitability in your agency for 2012].
Think about where you were only five years ago in your personal life. The year was 2006. Unless you were an Ivy League student, you likely never heard of Facebook. Your cell phone was only used for making phone calls. You owned a DVD player, but still use your VCR frequently. Your laptop had to be plugged into a wall for Internet access in most places. You wanted a television hanging on the wall, but couldn't justify spending $4000.

Today the Internet is ubiquitous. Your television hangs on the wall. It can probably record shows, surf the web, and download movies and music. You hardly ever watch it. Your mobile device can give you directions, play games, find a good restaurant, instant message and maybe place a video call. It also can be used as a phone. You have a desktop computer, a laptop, Internet on your phone and television, and the cool kids have an iPad. Finally, you look down on athletes and admire geeks.

What Should Your Private Care Technology Do for You as we head for 2012?

Here are a few of the things we'd suggest you consider strongly:

  • Can you communicate with your client's family members to let them know how mom and dad are doing?
  • Can you receive referrals electronically from partners like a geriatric care manager, a local "village", or eventually from an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) who wants to engage your services to reduce the costs of one of their patient's care?
  • Can your caregivers get their schedules on-line?
  • Are you alerted if a caregiver is late?
  • Can you use telephony for proof of care delivery?
  • Can you use smartphones for proof of care delivery?
  • Can you view schedules from your iPad at Starbucks?
  • Does your system calculate optimal routes for your supervisory nurses to make home visits or for your marketers to visit referral sources?

What can your technology do for you?  If you want your technology to do more, Ankota would love to know your vision and we'd be interested in helping you to achieve it.  If you didn't score very well on the questions above and you'd like to move forward, let us know!

Click me

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 Technology, Home Care, Home Care Scheduling Software

The Best Way to Measure Home Care Quality

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 25, 2011 9:57:00 AM

As a consumer, measuring quality is usually second nature.  You can look at a restaurant or a handbag or a pair of shoes and almost immediately decide whetherHome Care Quality Focus it's a quality product or not.  Perception is reality in many cases.  But while it's often easy for the consumer to measure quality, it's a much harder job for the provider of a product or service to figure out what to measure in order to know whether they're providing a quality product, and sadly many organizations who try hard to measure and improve their quality fall short of the mark.

Why must we measure quality in home care?

People who refer and purchase home care services are likely to do it based on either measurable quality or perceived quality of the organization providing the care.  As such, organizations with higher quality will get more referrals and this makes it very important.

How should we measure the quality of our home care organizations?

This is not a simple answer, but if you're going to do one and only one thing to try to determine what to measure, ask your prospective customers and referralQuality Home Care sources.  Here's the proposed script - "We really want to be your service provider [or the organization you're most likely to refer to].  What can we do to become your choice?"  Notice that we never used quality in our question, but don't worry, you'll get the right answer.  Just by asking the question, you'll set your agency apart.  Your prospective customer or referral source will think "Wow - these guys care about what's important to me", and often times you'll be surprised by how much useful information you'll get by asking.  Here are some potential answers:

  • "Since I live far away and mom's memory isn't what it used to be, I want an agency who'll let me know how mom's doing"
  • "I'm really not sure if we can afford home care"
  • "I've spoken to three agencies so far and I'm not sure how to tell who will provide the best care for my dad"
  • "We're so busy in here that we need to refer to contract agencies who will simplify our work load"
  • "My biggest worry is to make sure that mom doesn't fall again"
  • "We need to refer to the agency that is least likely to result in a readmission"
  • "I need to see what my two sisters think.  It's a hard decision"
  • "I need to meet the caregiver to determine whether she'll be a good fit for mom"

Based on these answers, you get a strong insight into the top concerns of that client.  Then you can focus on that concern both in your response to this client, and possibly by improving your agency's service in that area.  Note that by asking this question regularly and discussing it with your staff you build a knowledge of the primary "quality criteria" sought by your clients and referral sources, and you keep your staff focused on what's important to your customers. 

First impressions matter a lot!

Never forget that in almost all cases, the person looking for care is likely to have a list of potential providers.  Maybe it came from the hospital discharge planner, or maybe from a google search, but that first phone call into your agency can have a big impact on whether you'll be successful.  Since Ankota provides software for home care agencies I call them often and I get a wide variety of responses, including some of the following:

  • A pleasant live voice asking how they can help me.
  • A recording for a long time followed by a person in India picking up.
  • An immediate answer followed by please hold
  • A recording telling me hours of operation (essentially telling me to call back tomorrow)
  • A recording telling me that my call is important and that I can leave a message or press a number for immediate assistance
  • A grouchy harried sounding receptionist

Based on these, which agency(s) would you want to take care of your mom?

For Home Health Nursing, the key measure is reduced readmissions

While most of this post has focused on the general parameters of quality perceived by clients and referral sources, home health agencies need to realizeQuality of Care that it will soon become more about outcomes as measured by reduced readmissions.  CMS will soon begin penalizing hospitals with higher readmission rates by holding back a portion of their payments if their rate of readmission falls below average.  So if you're a home health agency, you should be doing "rounds", focusing on your readmission risks, measuring and publishing readmission rates.  Let's face it, some agencies get referrals because they're easy to deal with and nice, but these referrals are in serious jeopardy if other agencies can show that they'll lower readmissions.

Hospice Agencies with Great Quality

As a final note, I've heard some of the most glowing and positive reviews in the home care industry given to hospice agencies that took care of a loved one as they passed away.  The reason that I point this out is to show that quality of care ultimately has to do with care and not always with the outcome. 

What are you doing to provide quality home care?

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: Marketing Home Care, Home Care Industry, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Care Coordination, transitional care, Home Care

Elderly Care is "The Unpoken Crisis in America"

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 23, 2011 3:21:00 PM

Since we "live" in the home care community, the discussion about how to care for the elderly is something we're a part of each day.  We think and talk about the benefits of aging in place, the merits of private home care as an alternative to assisted living and nursing homes, and all kinds of other related topics like how the costs of chronic disease management can be reduced with coordinated care in the home...

So I was a little surpirsed to see a reference to a blog post called "The UnspokenMarjorie Clayman Crisis in America" and find out that this unspoken crisis is in fact elderly care.  The blogger author is Marjorie Clayman, and her blog is entitled "Social Media, Marketing, and Musings."  Other titles on her site today include 15 Social Media Insights from Around Hollywood, and Social Media is as Easy as your ABCs

So what does Marjorie have to say about elderly care?

Marjorie talks about what a lot of the "adult children" of the elderly are thinking about.  The following are among the thoughts that she shares: 

  • How do I decide between caring for my aging parents and nurturing my kids?
  • Should I sacrifice my career to care for mom?
  • What's this going to like for me without Medicare and Social Security?

Marjorie's post is short and well-written in a very interesting way, so go ahead and give it a read.  When I take a step back from my earlier statement that "we in home care talk about these topics all the time", I realize that it's easy to talk about them in the context of business, but when I think about it in my real life (in the context of my wife's 92 year old grandmother) it is much more of a struggle and an unspoken topic.

The conclusion to Marjorie's post is as follows:

I firmly believe that life doesn’t have to be this way. There has to be another way. There has to be a way to let people stay in their homes yet also get the care they need. There has to be a way to provide for the older generation while the younger generation grows. There has to be a way to afford both food and medicine.

We just need to figure out how to make all of that happen.

Right?

Great question Marjorie!  We'll do everything we can to help answer it!

Marjorie Clayman Blog

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 Veteran Launches "Support for Caregivers" Blog

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 22, 2011 7:47:00 AM

Veteran Home Care nurse Colleen Lindblad RN has launched a new blog that provides support for caregivers, and is appropriately titled http://supportforcaregiver.blogspot.com/.  Although this is a new initiative for Colleen, it is based on expertise that she has gained over her 25 years as an RN in Home Health and Home Care.   In addition to running an agency that provides home care, and home health therapy services, she started a support group for Adult Children of Aging parents that meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 94 West Main Street Suite 202 in Bayshore NY 11706.

Support for Caregivers of Aging Parents

I asked Colleen why she started the blog, and here's what she told me:

"I started the Blog in an attempt to educate the general public in how to access the best health care to fit their needs. Most often I meet the adult child (usually the adult daughter) in a crisis mode. Either the parent is hospitalized or had a significant change in their condition requiring more care than the family can manage. Also families are juggling work responsibilities,their children and aging parents. This can become a burden that burns people out. If the education process starts in advance people are in a better place to make decisions." 

Among Colleen's first postings, you can find the following:

What Can Home Care Agencies Learn from This?

We talk a lot about home care entrepreneurship on this blog and Colleen gives us a great example of "social entrepreneurship in home care."  There are many companies who have proven that you can "Do Well by Doing Good."  One of my favorite examples is Ben & Jerry's who in addition to making a fun and delicious product also focus on sustainability (organic ingredients, sustaining farmers, and sourcing ingredients like chocolate from small farmers around the world).  While Colleen didn't set out to help families in order to grow her business, you've got to believe that her efforts lead to referrals and positive word of mouth references.  Perhaps you can support family caregivers in your area?

About Colleen:

Colleen Lindblad has been a Registered Nurse for the past 25 years . She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Adelphi University and has worked in various patient care settings including Hospital and Public Health.  Colleen owned her own Licensed Home Care Agency which she sold last year. Currently Colleen isthe Director of Castle Home Care a Licensed Home Care Agency providing professional and paraprofessional care in the home to people home from the hospital and the aging population.Colleen Lindblad RN

 

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, Elderly Care

Home Care should "Deliver Best what your Customers Value Most"

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 17, 2011 3:25:00 PM

A few weeks ago we shared some compelling home care industrybeth carpenter strategic guidance in our post Home Care 100 Roundtable Sets Industry Strategic Direction.  The inspiration for that post was a set of meeting minutes from a meeting with 14 top home care industry leaders that was held in Atlanta.  Among those leaders was Beth Carpenter, from Beth Carpenter and Associates.  Since that time, I've gotten to know Beth better through chats on LinkedIn and have learmed more about her and her company.   Beth is a 20 year veteran healthcare executive who at one time had statewide responsibility for post-acute care and  is known for driving operational excellence and cost controls in every organization she touches.  Today she leads a consulting firm that helps improve performance of home health, private care and hospice agencies.

Today's post was inspired by a piece on Beth's website, written by senior consultant Barbara Gray whose bio is available here.  In their posting, entitled Deliver Best What Your Customers Want Most, the following fantastic ideas are shared:

  • You are likely to be surrounded by competition, so you need to differentiate your agency from the others
  • A great framework for determining how to differentiate yourBlue Ocean Strategy agency is to develop a "Strategy Canvas" as introduced in Harvard Business Review and in the book Blue Ocean Strategy.
  • The strategy focuses on identifying the key criteria that buyers use to determing what product or service to buy and then focusing on turning those areas into the key features of your own product or service.
  • In addition to improving your business and winning more clients, the work that your agency does defining these priorities helps align your vision and improve your brand.

The article goes on to give some great real world examples, so I'd recommend that you read it in its entirety here.

Beth Carpenter and Associates

 

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, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, thought leadership

Elderly Care 101: What options exist for Senior Care?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 15, 2011 10:26:00 AM

If you've come to this article, you're likely to have an elder family member or friend who is either temporarily or permanently struggling to live safely on theirElder Care Options own and you're wondering what you can do to help them.  This post is a survey of options for you to consider for the care of Americans over age 65.  What you choose depends on the person's physical condition, available finances, and support.  Note to our regular readers, this post is intended to help the consumers who come to our site.  We wanted to have a resource to help them get started.  If you can help improve the content, please let us know and we'll do it.

  • Is your family member or friend coming out of the hospital? If yes, then based on their condition, the hospital should be directing them to the care that will best serve them at the lowest cost.  Note that sometimes cheapest is best, because in this case the least expensive solution is likely to be to have them go home and receive care from a home health care provider.  If they can't walk or require special care or medication, then they might be referred to a skilled nursing facility or a rehabilatation center.
  • Is your Friend or Family Member Coping with One or More Chonic Illnesses? If yes, you may be in luck!  It has been recognized that elderly persons with one or more chronic diseases are the most likely to generate high healthcare costs if they don't have the proper care and Medicare is very motivated to reduce costs, which could mean that your friend or loved one may be entitled to some free care from nurses or in a facility best equipped to care for them.  The available help, however, varies widely.  Our advice is to get advice from their primary care physician, a geriatric care manager, or a social worker.
  • If no to the above, then it's likely that your friend or loved one is facing the natural challenges of aging.  There are options:
    • Non-medical Home Care might do the trick: A home health aide can come and assist with things like meal preparation, laundry, companionship and some hands-on care such as assistance with bathing.  This care is often paid privately, but there are also programs (generally through Medicaid) that can make this kind of care available.  From a money perspective, this can be an inexpensive option when the person needs part time help, but it can become one of the most expensive options when 24 hour care is needed.
    • Elderly Group Living: Many options are available and sometimes multiple options are available at the same facility.  The options range from "independent living", to "assisted living" to "Skilled Nursing".  Some places will allow you to pay a consistent price and they'll provide the level of care that is needed, whereas others charge based on the level of care needed
    • Independent Living Assistance: There are ways other resources that can help keep your loved one in their home.  Among them are "Villages" like Beacon Hill Village where neighbors help neighbors and the village can get you discounts with well qualified serviceBeClose.com providers.  There are "telecare" systems that very inexpensively monitor your loved-one's home and activities from afar.  One is provided by BeClose.  There's even a national cohousing network to try to pair people together to enable living with companionship at a lower cost.

Get the help you need to make informed decisions.  Seek out your local council on aging, the primary care physician, or professional care managers to assess the available options for your loved ones.

 

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, BeClose

Home Care is Talking about Social Media: Point and Counterpoint

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 11, 2011 12:15:00 PM

In recent weeks, the Home Care industry has started to do a lot Merrily Orsiniof talkingStephen Tweed about social media, and interestingly, there are two distinct sides to the conversation...  On one side there's a great article by Merrily Orsini on Ginny Kenyon's blog entitled  Utilizing the Web and Social Media in Home Care Marketing Strategy.  This article outlines the steps you can take to kick off your social media strategy.  But on the other side, there's been a very provocative set of discussions on LinkedIn under the topic heading Why Social Media Doesn't Work in Home Care Sales and Marketing initiated by Stephen Tweed.  If you follow this blog, you'll know that we've featured great content from Merrily, Stephen, and Ginny and on a more personal level each of these three people have freely shared great advice to Ankota.  Here's my perspective:

  • Referrals Are Key: In the majority of cases, home health and home care clients come to the agency from a referral sources rather than from a self initiated search, thus your primary focus needs to be on the identification and cultivation of referral sources
  • Yellow Pages are Losing Ground: On the other side of the coin, there are an important number of cases that do come from searching by the individual needing care or their family, and let's face it, Google is the new yellow pages
  • Web-Search Rank Matters: Your company's position in un-paid Google search results is based on how much clout your site has, and this in turn is based on how many people come to your site, how many other sites have links to content on your site, and other factors like how often your site content changes.  And one of the best ways to attract visitors, and links while increasing your content is from blogging
  • Too Big to Ignore: Similary the numbers of participants in social media are too big to ignore including over 700 million people on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter and 100 million on LinkedIn

Interestingly, I first met Merrily Orsini (the one who advocates for social media) face-to-face at the NAHC conference.  And I first learned of Stephen (the initiator of Why Social Media Doesn't Work...) on the web.  Lastly, it's important to point out that the Why Social Media Doesn't Work... conversation is in fact a social media conversation.

Bottom line, if I was running a home care company, I wouldn't put all my eggs in the social media basket, but I wouldn't ignore it either, especially on the private care side where a lot of consumers start their search for help on the web.

Merrily's Site:

Merrily Orsini dot com

Stephen Tweed's Leading Home Care:

Leading Homecare

Ginny Kenyon's Site

Kenyon Home Care Consulting

 

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: Marketing Home Care, Home Care Industry, Home Care Best Practices, NAHC

5 Percent of the Population Accounts for 50% of Health care costs

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 9, 2011 12:20:00 AM

Only 5 percent of Americans accounted for roughly half of all U.S. health care spending in 2009, according to a report from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation.  Conversely, the 50 percent of Americans with the lowest health care costs accounted for just 3 percent of the total cost of health care in 2009.

What does this mean for the world of home health?

More and more evidence (both anecdotal and clinical) is proving that managing care for the sickest and/or costliest patients results in less hospitalizations and other complications for them and reduces their health care costs significantly.  There's a great (althrough somewhat long) article in the New Yorker on this topic by Atul Gawande who authored Ankota's 2010 Book of the Year, the Checklist Manifesto.  Click the article below.

Hot Spotters Atul Gawande New Yorker

Home health and private care companies can play a key role in the ongoing care of these individuals, monitoring their health and making sure that they're capable or have the necessary assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs).  This can improve outcomes, lower overall care costs and be reimbursed under the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model.

Other Findings:

The report also found:

  • U.S. health care spending reached $8,100 per person in 2009. Approximately $2,500 went to hospital services and $1,600 went to physicians and laboratories. The balance of the spending went to a variety of other sources, including retail prescription drugs, home health and HME
  • A total of 15.6 percent of the U.S. population recorded no health care spending at all
  • People with chronic conditions (one or more) were two to four times more likely to end up in the top 5 percent of health care spending.
  • Total 2009 U.S. health care spending reached nearly $2.5 trillion, accounting for 17.6 percent of total GDP.

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, Care Coordination, HME, Checklists

Two Ways Home Care is Reforming Health Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 5, 2011 11:04:00 AM

The website www.healthcare.gov shared an informative article entitled Better Health, Better Care, Lower Costs: Reforming Health Care Delivery.  First of all, IHealthcare dot gov logo absolutely love the title because it essentially matches Ankota's definition of what health care reform should be, which is to provide Better Care and Lower Cost.  Often our blog posts are an invitation to read more in the full article, but this time we'll bring you the two home care high points.  They are as follows:

  1. Home Health Care Generates Savings in Pay for Performance  trials: In the Pay for Performance Health Care Reform Trial, Home Health Care agencies were rewarded $15 million as a share in the savings that they generated, and
  2. Coordinating Care Reduces Health Care Costs:  Fifteen states are receiving $1 million each in new federal funding to develop better ways to coordinate care for people with both Medicare and Medicaid, who often have more complex and costly health care needs.  Strategies include more flexibility for home and community-based services and improving health IT systems. 

    Two new grant programs are currently taking states’ applications to test the best ways to pay for care integration for dually-eligible beneficiaries and ways to improve nursing home care so they can stay out of the hospital.  CMS is also establishing a technical resource center focusing exclusively on improving care for these high-need, high cost beneficiaries.

What does this mean for home care?  Plenty!!!

This means that home care is beginning to get recognition as a way to save money in the management of care for the most expensive patients, many ofHealthcare Reform whom are elderly people battling multiple chronic diseases.  This opens the door for more reimbursed home care as a way to reduce overall health care costs.  It also means that the way to get referrals will be to be able to prove that you can deliver better care at lower cost.

The second key point is that care coordination is being emphasized in health care reform.  And this means that your home health or home care agency needs to start thinking about how to be part of a coordinated care network.  Ankota has a way to help with this, called our XChange Care Coordination Portal.  This portal allows multiple organizations to share care plans, schedules, visit status and other notes.  Two collaborating organizations can only see the patients who they share in common.  And Ankota is offering it for free.  We haven't formally introduced XChange, but we have it up and running with 8 organizations collaborating care and we're looking for more early adopters.  If you want to learn more, click below.

Click me

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, Care Coordination, Home Care Technology

10 Ways to Network for Success in Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 1, 2011 10:33:00 AM

Today's post is about Networking for Success.  It comes from the Private DutyMarc Ottinger Ankota Today newsletter published by Stephen Tweed's Leading Home Care organization.  The article was written by Stephen Tweed and can be found at www.privatedutytoday.com.  In Ankota, nobody networks better than our Chief Operating Officer (COO) Marc Ottinger.  Marc's personal playbook includes lots of the points raised below. In other words, they work!

Networking 101 - Ten Steps To Better Referral Relationships

by Stephen Tweed

In their book, Is Your NET Working:  A complete guide to building contacts and career visibility, Ann Boe and Betty B. Youngs defined networking as:

"An organized method of making links from people you know to people they know,Stephen Tweed gaining and using an ever expanding base of contacts."

My friend and colleague, the late Cavett Robert, founder of The National Speakers Association was fond of saying:
            "We must circulate if we expect to percolate.  We must make
                 contacts if we expect to make contracts."

The 2010 Home Care & Hospice Sales & Marketing Survey conducted by Leading Home Care reinforced the importance of networking as a business building tool for private duty home care.  Again this year, networking, making sales calls to referral sources, and your web site are the top three techniques for attracting referrals and inquiries that turn into admissions.

We define Networking as...

"the systematic process of regularly keeping in touch with people you already know, and being introduced to people that you do not already know, for the purpose of developing relationships that can turn into referrals."

There are several key phrases:

  • People you do not already know
  • Developing relationships
  • Turn into referrals

When you are at a networking event, here are ten tips to turn new acquaintances into referral relationships:

  1. Ask great questions.  Questions are the most powerful tool in your networking tool kit.
  2. Get the name right the first time.  You build relationships by learning and using the other person's name.
  3. Listen carefully.  Many people in networking situations don't listen.  They wait to talk.  Becoming a better listener will pay big dividends.
  4. Give your undivided attention.  How often have you been in a conversation with a person who is constantly looking over your shoulder to see if someone more important is available?  Focus on the person you are speaking with.
  5. Give without expectation of getting.  The most successful networkers participate in community events and give their time, talent, and treasures without the expectation of getting something in return.
  6. Become an introducer.  Get in the habit of introducing other participants in the networking event to people you know.  Remember, the purpose is to get connected.
  7. Fish where the big fish live.  Spend your time networking at those events that have the highest potential for meeting new referral sources.
  8. Define whose network includes you.  While you want to meet new referral sources, who wants to meet you?
  9. Be sure to follow up.  Once leaving the event, have a system to follow up, get back in touch, and schedule a sales calls if appropriate.
  10. Get long results with short notes.  Writing a short, personal, hand-written note after meeting someone new is a very powerful way to make a lasting impression.  It's too easy to send an email, everyone does that.  Be different.

Measure the results of your networking.
Keep track of the people you meet at networking events.  Add them to your database.  Follow up with a personal sales call.  Then track the results you get.  It will be impressive to see how many new referrals can come from a small number of new referral sources when you master the art of networking.

In his book, The Relationship Edge in Business, Jerry Acuff says,
"The key words are consciously, systematically, and routinely.  Building business relationships that last is a skill that virtually anyone can learn.  It requires a process you can master."

PrivateDutyToday

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: Marketing Home Care, Home Care Industry, Home Care Best Practices, 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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