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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Home Care SEO: Making Home Care Web Sites Better

Posted by Will Hicklen on Sep 28, 2011 9:58:00 AM

There is much too much to cover in SEO concepts to do so effectively in a single post, so we’ll provide a series of articles to make it easy. Provide your email address in the form to the right to be notified when new articles are posted and you’ll be able to double or triple the traffic on your site in only a couple of months!

Home Care SEO

Perhaps you read Home Care Blogging, an earlier post on the Ankota blog that talked about why home care businesses should blog and how easy it is to get started. Today’s piece introduces readers to another key piece of your complete Home Care marketing strategy called “Search Engine Optimization,” or SEO.  SEO is important for one reason: make your web site more attractive to the search engines so they will drive more visitors to your site. More visitors = More customers. Simple, right?

 

SEO for Home Care

 

Keep in mind that, while we use the term search engine, SEO is about making your site more attractive to the people who count: your customers. Search engines simply help your customers find content on the internet that most closely matches the things your customers indicate to the search engines that they want.

There are some simple guidelines you can follow and techniques you can use on your site that will make a dramatic difference right away. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! follow common practices for searching and evaluating web content and account for the vast majority of searches. If you make it easy for them to find and evaluate you consistently in terms that they understand and that your customers use, you’ll do great. It is not uncommon to double and triple the traffic on your web site in just a few months, and double it again within a few months after that.

Relating Search Results & the Customer’s Search Experience

Paid Search vs Organic Search results: Paid search is what pops up in the shaded area at the top when you Google something. I searched “Home Care Maryland” and you can see the results below. Distinctive Home Care  is the lone result in the Paid Search responses at the top, which means that they pay Google each time someone clicks on their ad.  If you have money to spend on this, you can appear in the paid search results.

 

Home Care SEO Maryland

 

Organic Search: If you apply some common practices yourself, you can appear at or near the top of the organic search results and it won’t cost you a dime.  It so happens that there is a company called “Home Care Maryland” – I had no idea when I used that term, but that is a brilliant name. Gone are the days of “AAAAAAAAAAAA Home Care,” because people do not search the phone book alphabetically any more. The next result presents our friends at Maxim, followed by Family & Nursing Care.

It is not surprising that Maxim appeared near the top: Maxim has locations all over the place, including Towson, Maryland, where Ankota is headquartered. They are a nationwide company with plenty of resources and should have an effective web site that ranks highly. Family & Nursing Care is located in Silver Spring, which is not at all close to me, so I would dismiss that right away. Home Care Maryland, however, appeared first in the list and made certain things clear to me immediately when I landed on their page.  When I go to both pages I see the following:

Home Care Maryland logoA simple page that tells me what they do (home care) and where they do it (near me) and immediately presents me with an easy way to contact them (simple form on the landing page).

In a matter of seconds, they appeared first in my search and I decided that they can probably help me with what I need. In a situation where I might feel some anxiety about hiring home care for an aging parent, Home Care Maryland made it very simple. They already have an advantage.

Maxim logoMaxim ranked #2 in the results, but landed me on a “corporate page.” I’m not wild about the fact that the first thing I see talks about medical staffing, but there is an obvious graphic on the right that reads HOME CARE, and if I click on that I am directed to a clean, well designed page entitled “Maxim Home Care Services.” I can see on that page that Maxim provides the types of services that I need.

If I’m a prospective customer of yours and I'm looking for care for my elderly mother, I’m now calling Home Care Maryland and Maxim. Not you. And not the dozens of others that appeared in the Google map above but not in the search results.

You can change that through SEO. We'll teach you how through the Ankota Blog.

This was intended to be a simple albeit partial introduction to SEO, starting with your customer's search experience. Remember to provide your email address in the right column of this page and you will be notified as we continue to develop an SEO strategy for your home care business.  

Topics: Recommended Reading, Starting a Home Care Business, Marketing Home Care, Blogging, Elderly Care, Private Duty Agency Software, Will Hicklen, Home Care, NPDA, PDHCA, Home Care Blogs

Home Care Blogging

Posted by Will Hicklen on Sep 26, 2011 8:27:00 AM

Home Care Blogs

Blogging might be the easiest, fastest and most powerful marketing tool that Private Duty Home Care Agencies have at their disposal…and which most Home Care agencies do not leverage. Today’s post to Ankota’s Healthcare Delivery Management blog will show you why blogging is a critical element to a complete Home Care Marketing strategy.

Blogging provides rapid, measurable returns, and costs you almost nothing. It provides a voice and personality to your brand and an opportunity to establish credibility with every post. It is actually quite easy, and here is why you should do it now…

Consider this, companies that blog experience:

55% more visitors to their web sites

97% more inbound links

434% more indexed pages

 

…And More Leads!

 

click below to read "6 Reasons Every Business Should be Blogging..."  from our friends at Hubspot

Hubspot Inbound Internet Marketing Blog resized 600

 

More visitors is good, right? That’s pretty simple.

Inbound links are where other companies provide links to your site from theirs. They essentially say, “Here is something of interest from a credible source that we have checked out and think you might want to see.” They do this not to promote your business, but to share some content on your site they think will be valuable to their readers. It’s like a referral.

Search engines actually evaluate your web pages and grade them using a process called “Indexing.” The higher they grade your site, the more likely it is to show up near the top in search results when your customers look for a company like yours. Hint: each blog post = an indexed page. The indexing results help engines like Google make decisions where you appear in their search results. As the number of indexed pages grows, your number of visitors and converted leads grows… exponentially. The more you blog, the more valuable it becomes.

Essentially, blogging makes your web site more attractive to search engines and in turn drives more people—more potential customers—to your site. When they read your blog they learn something about you: your opinions, your insight into their problems or opportunities, and your level of credibility. No other part of your web site can do this with the objectivity and ability to generate “trust” that your blog can.

Topics: Starting a Home Care Business, Marketing Home Care, Blogging, Home Care Industry, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, NPDA, PDHCA, Leadership, Home Care Blogs

Justification for Care Coordination between Hospitals & Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 22, 2011 12:22:00 PM

We at Ankota strongly believe that care coordination and home care are the keys to improved health care.  The math is simple:

  • 5 percent of the population account for 50% of healthcare costs
  • Many of those 5 percent are elderly people with multiple chronic conditions
  • It is better for everyone if the person is at home instead of in the hospital.  Better for the patient - comfortable surroundings and less chance of infection.  Better for the hospital - use their beds for procedures.  Better for cost - much less expensive

Achieving this goal requires coordination among care providers, which requires changes to the way health care is paid for (to encourage coordinated care).  These changes are coming in the form of penalties for hospital readmissions and reward sharing for lowering health care costs (such as via Accountable Care Organizations - ACOs).

Changes like this require software (which Ankota is focused on) and process change.  Focusing for now on the process change side, I came across an articleCareAnyware Logo by the home healthcare-oriented attorney Elizabeth Hogue, Esq. entitled "Why Do Post-Acute Providers Need Access Prior to Discharge?".  The article is reproduced in its entirety on the website of CareAnyware (a home health and hospice software provider where a former colleague of mine, Joel Sholz, works).  You can read it here.

Elizabeth, being a lawyer, chooses words quite carefully and delivers stongly composed narrative.  So you should read her account.  But here are some key points she makes:

  • Patient risks are escalated during "transitions of care" and as such visits by post-acute providers prior to discharge can help plan the transition
  • Meetings with family members, especially in the care when a family member is the primary care provider for their loved one, is an important supplement to hospital provided care transition information
  • Care providers with an ongoing relationship can provide bettwe care with more knowledge of current conditions for a hospitalized patient.  A key example is in the case of hospice where the hospice order stays in effect during the hospitalization
  • Home care agencies get referrals from sources other than hospital discharge, giving them a strong reason to be on patient floors
  • Although solicitation of patients is not permissible, there are many other legitimate reasons for care providers to be on patient floors in hospitals

Elizabeth Hogue Esq on LinkedIn

In support of the necessity for coordination, Ankota has developed care coordination software that enables sharing of care plans, visit schedules and other relevant information that can aid in achieving the goal of reduced hospitalizations.  The software is live with a few early adopters, but we're actively searching for others interested in improving care coordination.  Please contact ankota if interested (we even have a basic offering for free).

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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, Care Coordination, transitional care, Home Care, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO, ACO Technology

Making Technology Simple for Seniors

Posted by Will Hicklen on Sep 20, 2011 5:08:00 PM

Pointer Ware caught my eye as a terrific bridge to connect seniors with technology, and I thought I would share it along with a few comments about why this type of technology is so important.  Take a look and read on.

This is not an endorsement of the product, rather an endorsement of its purpose. Based on what I have learned about Pointer Ware, it seems this technology accomplishes a few, very critical things:

1) It makes it easier for seniors to engage in the "connected" world. One of the scariest and most troubling parts of aging is the isolation that seniors often feel from their family and their communities. The second fastest growing segment on Facebook is people age 65+. As people age, they often want to reconnect with people and memories from their past. It has been said that technology breaks down boundaries. As people age and become less mobile, they feel there are more and more barriers preventing them from leading normal, social lives. Technology is an ideal way to eliminate many of those boundaries and help them to connect with friends and family more, without geographic restriction. Anything that helps people overcome the fear and uncertainty of engaging with technology—whether Facebook, Skype, or email—is a good thing. That’s why I like Pointer Ware’s approach. It’s all about making technology accessible to seniors, which can help them participate in the connected world.

2) Technologies like Pointer Ware help seniors live longer in their own homes. Because they feel better connected while in their own home, technologies like this make it possible for seniors to live in their homes longer. One of the biggest arguments for assisted living facilities is that they provide a social structure and community of peers. It is well understood that seniors need this social structure to thrive (just like you and I do—they are no different). However, it is also well known that seniors are happier and healthier in their own homes and prefer to live there as long as possible. Technologies like Pointer Ware allow them to do that, which improves overall quality of life. Of course, there is significant financial advantage to living at home longer, too. Assisted Living Facilities are expensive—living at home much less so. It is clear that there are both social and financial advantages to supporting seniors at home as long as possible.

3) The future of senior care will be enabled largely by advances in technology. As a result, there is tremendous demand for technologies that make other technology more accessible to seniors. It’s all about user interface. To state the obvious, if we make more senior-friendly interfaces to technology, then more seniors will have more ways to engage with technology. As this happens, many new types of services will be able to be provided to this booming population. Senior friendly interfaces will provide launch pads or integration points for new technologies that will help improve their lives. Technology must encourage this.

Many of Ankota’s customers provide Home Health care services, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, or Private Duty care for the elderly. Companies like Vital Partners 365  are leading the way in remote monitoring or telehealth monitoring services, much of which is done for the elderly. Monitoring devices like Honeywell HomMed make it easier for companies like Vital Partners 365 to provide these services.  Ankota’s own FamilyConnect is intended to bring family members into the conversation more consistently with alerts and communications from caregivers, supporting one of the key social structures that seniors depend on. Technology and services will continue to meet at an increasing rate to serve the aging population.

The more accessible technology becomes to seniors (and their families), and more comfortable seniors are with technology, the better able they are to participate in their own care. Imagine a world where not only does the technology monitor vital signs and certain activities remotely, but the patient is better able to interact with those who provide their care. People who are more involved in their own healthcare feel empowered and are more committed to the results. They feel safer and live happier, longer lives.

By 2030, estimates say that 30% of the population will be 65+. A few decades ago, the 65+ population made up barely 7%. This presents a huge market with tremendous spending power (just ask AARP!). They simultaneously present a massive burden to the healthcare system and tremendous opportunities to businesses that provide care or create technologies that enable better care. Helping seniors feel more comfortable with technology will provide for better, more creative and cost effective solutions.

As technology better serves them, seniors will live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Topics: Senior Demographics, Private Duty Agency Software, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology, Home Healthcare Delivery Management, Home Therapy, Physical Therapy software, telehealth

5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong in Home Care Social Media Marketing

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 19, 2011 10:06:00 AM

In a post two weeks ago I shared my admiration for Jason Tweed at Leading Home Care.  Normally I only share content from an individual guest blogger every few months,Jason Tweed of Leading Home Care but this piece by Jason couldn't be overlooked.  It's also very interesting on the heels of a popular LinkedIn discussion initiated by Leading Hime Care about "Why Social Media Marketing Doesn't Work in Home Care."  Without further ado, here's Jason's article about mistakes in social media marketing:

Web-based social marketing (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.) has beencalled the wave of the future in marketing, yet most companies are struggling to make it work for them. In my opinion, the primary reason this happens isn't the fault of the social marketing platform. Social marketing, as a whole, is far too powerful.

Imagine launching a business in the '80s. Your marketing choices were direct mail, newspaper advertising, magazines, billboards, television, radio, trailers before movies and videos, city buses and skywriting among others.  No business would be marketed effectively using all of these, and as the CEO you would bring in dozens of experts with different perspectives, and you would write lots of checks.
Today the Internet has crippled direct mail, newspaper and magazine advertising. Television and radio are on the hot seat. Videos and DVDs are dying businesses. It's just a matter of time before billboards and even city buses are interactive. So skywriting is the only form of marketing that won't be effected by the Internet, for the foreseeable future. Unless the bulk of your marketing money has been spent in skywriting, I strongly recommend strengthening your Web presence.

Mistake #1: Expecting Too Much, Investing Too Little

As we've seen this network of wires has become incredibly powerful and dynamic. Time and time again I've heard "But, we're on the Internet and it doesn't work for us."

The Internet is not a medium, it's a highway for transporting media. Develop your marketing plan, then develop each individual message. Talk to experts (true experts, not those who claim expertise) and produce the content. Finally, track your results and make adjustments. This powerful set of tools gives you the capability to go to market rapidly at reduced cost, but it's not a magic wand.

Mistake #2: Cheating for Followers and Fans

Everybody knows that having a 100,000 twitter followers and 10,000 Facebook Leading Home Carefans means that you are awesome in marketing, right? Unfortunately, that's wrong. Quantity doesn't equal quality. Let me share a very specific example.
I own another business, a small gourmet tea company. I started this business with two clear-cut goals. First, I wanted to test my knowledge of online marketing. I've grown a nice little business in the past 18 months using exclusively web-based marketing. Second, I want to sell the business and be financially able to retire in five years. That means rapid growth and creating a company that can operate independent of me.

I'm growing a company slow, specifically because I want to be able to test every marketing concept we develop with extreme accuracy. So here's how I turned 400 twitter followers and 300 Facebook fans into 1800 new customers in 24 hours.
We scheduled a 48-hour promotion and spent 30 days identifying individuals on twitter and Facebook that would help us promote the event. We found food bloggers, freebie and giveaway promoters, coupon sharers, niche celebrities, and a few friends and family. We told them of the upcoming promotion, and where appropriate, gave some boxes of tea and created a tiny amount of excitement.
Precisely at noon on a Thursday we sent out a Tweet simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook.

In the first hour, we got 30 orders for our promotion averaging only two dollars each.

Momentum gradually picked up. In the first 23 hours we sold to roughly 600 people, and the average order was now around nine dollars. We were getting approximately one order per minute. We were well on our way to achieving 1000 sales in 48 hours, our original goal.

Then... Critical Mass! By this time, hundreds of people had re-tweeted the special offer, including a well known professional athlete, who is sitting in her Paris apartment drinking afternoon tea and reading condolences from her fans after being eliminated early from the French Open tennis tournament.
Between 11 AM and 12:20 PM we received 1200 orders before we turned off the promotion early. Unfortunately, while we were expecting a big bump, we couldn't let the promotion run its course. In a single hour we generated over $10,000 in business and sold our entire inventory.

At the end of the day we only had 430 twitter followers and 390 Facebook fans, less than a 10% increase on twitter, and less than 33% on Facebook. However, we had captured 1800 new customers (and their e-mail addresses and physical addresses). This event became the cornerstone of our e-mail marketing for the next 12 months.

By the way, our little website was viewed by over 20,000 unique visitors during that hour.

Focus your efforts on finding fans and followers who influence people that can buy your product.

Mistake #3: Being Unprofessional

This is an easy one, and the mistake that thankfully few of you are making. We've all heard the stories of the elementary school teachers who put drunk party pictures on the web, the law school candidate who brags about his marijuana use, and my personal favorite the mid-level tech company executive complaining about her boss and accidentally exposing trade secrets.

Whenever you put content on the web, expect that everyone in the world can see it and its permanent. If you use this as your rule of thumb, you'll always be safe. I pushed the envelope once with my writings, my faith, and my politicsFinding Home Care on the Internet however I'm not ashamed of anything published on any of the websites where I participate.

Mistake #4: Being Too Professional

The name "Social Media" is social by definition. The reason why it possesses extreme power and possibility is that social aspect. We've always known that word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful. All of our most effective marketing efforts in the past depend on generating word-of-mouth awareness.
When you spend $2 million per 30 seconds on the Super Bowl, you do so not because of the viewers, but because you'll be part of conversations the next day.
An effective campaign brings a personal touch to your company. Use your social media experiences to build relationships, one-on-one, not business-to-business, and your promotions will be far more effective.

Mistake #5: Pretending Your Company Is a Person

This mistake is probably the most common I've seen in our industry. Lots of you have developed personal profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn under the names of your company.

This is wrong. If someone told you to do this, they are wrong!

Facebook profiles are for people, Facebook pages are for businesses. Learn the idiosyncrasies of the two and you will be far more successful. Even if you have been successful using a personal profile for business, you're putting yourself at risk. It's always been part of the terms of service that Facebook profiles are exclusively for real people. Recently they've been enforcing the policy. If you are doing business using a personal profile with your company name it's a matter of time before the profile is turned off permanently.

Develop a Facebook page that accepts fans for your company. Have everyone that works for your company develop a Facebook profile. Using a wide variety of people in your company to attract people to your Facebook page is a powerful technique that works... and it doesn't violate rules or etiquette.

There are "marketing gurus" and well-meaning, but uninformed, franchise development people that are encouraging the use of Facebook profiles but this practice will ultimately put your company at risk.

The Future of Marketing

Social media is truly the future of marketing. You can build relationships faster, more effectively, and more efficiently than ever before. You owe it to yourself to develop solid marketing plans, effective campaigns, and a collection of resources and experts that can help you implement.

Either that, or buy yourself an old Piper Cub and learn skywriting.

 

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Marketing Home Care

Therapy & Home Health Agencies: 5 Tips for Securing Tablets & Laptops

Posted by Will Hicklen on Sep 15, 2011 8:47:00 AM

Tablets for TherapistsiPad for Therapy Agencies

One of Ankota’s fastest growing products is TherapEZ, which is used by agencies that provide Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech therapy to clients in their homes, in assisted living or rehabilitation facilities. Many of our TherapEZcustomers use tablets or laptops to complete electronic forms and record episodes of care, which are updated live (if connected) or synchronized when they have a connection to the internet.

As home therapy and home healthcare services grow in volume and complexity, demand for devices such as tablet PCs, iPads, and laptops will only increase. With this comes the need to manage and repair devices and keep them secure. While the prices for these devices have dropped considerably, home health and therapy agencies can take a few steps to keep them secure and minimize downtime in the event of breakage or failure.

Ken Currie Barcoding Inc Today’s guest blogger is Ken Currie, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Barcoding, Inc. Barcoding provides mobile devices (such as tablets and laptops) and services to keep them running safe and secure.  Ken offers the following 5 tips for securing these devices:

 

5 Tips to Securing Mobile Tablets

1.   Develop Security Policies- Organizations may want to extend to tablets the same security policies, procedures, and protections that are used for company owned laptops, computers, and servers.  But for field based workers that are using tablets to automate paper processes, their mobile nature brings an additional set of challenges.  For instance, the opportunity for loss and theft of these assets is much greater and a good security plan would provide for remote lock down or a full data wipe to protect sensitive data.

2.     Establish Layers of Physical Security – Apply user authentication protocols for tablets that at a minimum include user names and passwords.  

3.   Ensure Data Security –Make sure that line of business applications use encryption for data.  And the following types of software can be worth their weight in gold:  anti-virus software, anti-malware, content data loss prevention (DLP) software, and intrusion prevention software. Some device management software providers provide some of these features in their application. 

4.   Deploy and Utilize Device Management Software – Device management software allows an IT administrator to remotely enforce security policies, push out updates, and manage/control tablets while they are connected to a network.  In the case of theft, it may even possible to use GPS bread crumbing to follow the trail of the stolen tablet.  

5.   Consider a Managed Services Provider - Consider outsourcing to a managed services provider if your organization is not equipped to effectively handle suggestions 1-4.  How do you find one?  One suggestion is to ask your business software application provider(s) for a recommendation of companies that they are comfortable with.

A company such as Barcoding, Inc. can provide the devices you need, manage updates throughout the life of the device, inventory spares for you, and allow you to leverage their "repair depot." This prevents costly downtime and keep your staff consistently productive. These services are more affordable for even smaller organizations by turning to 3rd parties like Barcoding, Inc. that provide them. Barcoding, Inc. works closely with many of Ankota's customers and "packages" common services to make them very affordable, even for smaller agencies.

If you are considering new software for your home health or contract therapy agency, HME, Private Duty, MCO or ACO, ask Ankota for help in addressing some of these concerns.

barcoding Inc

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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 Healthcare Delivery Management, Home Health Therapy Software, Physical Therapy software

Home Care Software Geek Shares Industry predictions from John Halamka

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 12, 2011 10:05:00 AM

I met John Halamka on the sidelines of the soccer fields in town back when my daughter Casey and John's daughter Laura were on the same team.  Both of ourJohn Halamka daughters are in college now, so this must have been a good 7 or 8 years ago.  My daughter retired from soccer when she got the lead role in Annie at age 12.  Sitting on the sidelines we didn't talk much about work although occaisionally he'd bring his laptop and would be coding something so I figured he was some kind of tech geek like me.  Well it turns out that John might actually be the ultimate health care tech geek.  He's the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and for Harvard Medical School (and he's an emergency room physician on the side).  John has been on the covers of more health care magazines and the keynote speaker at more health IT conferences than anyone else I'm aware of.

So, when John writes an article about where things are going in health care IT, it's worth sharing.  This one is entitled "The Rise of Electronic Medicine" and appears in Technology Review (published by MIT).  He makes the following key points:

  • The US is rapidly moving towards electroning medical records, and the rest of the world is tooTechnology Review published by MIT
  • An electronic system creates the foundation for a change in the way healthcare is reimbursed, incentivising doctors to keep patients health at low cost (as opposed to today's system where they are paid for each treatment)
  • The timeline is as follows:
    • 2011 - Your doctor should have your medications, health issues and alergies computerized
    • 2013 - Your records can be shared with all of your doctors (with your permission)
    • 2015 - The hope is that your treatment can improve based on the ability to better treat you (based on mining data from thousands of other similar patients)

This article is already getting a bit long, so I'll give you only the headlines of John's predictions:

  • Electronic Health Records will move to the Cloud
  • Less expensive cloud based software and tablet applications will unleash innovation
  • Health records will not all be in one database, but rather in a network of networks [like the phone system]
  • We will see Engaged, Connected E-Patients
  • Genomes will lead to Information Prescriptions

In the end, John is predicting a "golden age of electronic medicine is dawning".  And the great thing about these predictions from John are that they will absolutely come true.  He's telling us what he's doing in his medical centers, and he's a top influencer who others will follow...  Make sure to read the full article here.

 

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: Health Care Reform, Care Coordination, thought leadership, home care software geek

How to Start a Home Care Business: The Fundamentals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 7, 2011 1:01:00 PM

Ginny Kenyon, expert consultant and principal at Kenyon Home Care Ginny Kenyon Home Care Consulting, spends most of her time helping people startRisa Baker Partners31 home care agencies.  Risa Baker, owner of Partners 31, helps people sell their home care agencies and also makes time to present at conferences and in other forums to help agency owners plan for a successful exit.  So when I saw that Ginny was doing a series of posts about how to successfully start a home care business with help from Risa, I immediately wanted to tell people on the Ankota blog about it.

Ginny's first post in a six part series on starting a home care agency is entitled Home Health, Home Care, Hospice: Get Your Agency Off to a Successful Start.  Some of the basics recommended by Ginny in this post are as follows:

  • Start with your ultimate outcome in mind.  This will provide the foundation for your financial objectives
  • Think hard about Geography.  Too small will curtail your potential whereas too big might result in sacrificed service
  • Structure Correctly.  Setting up a C Corp, S Corp or LLC isn't that hard but changing later can be costly
  • Follow the Rules imposed by your structure.  If it requires annual reports or board meeting minutes, do them
  • Your Office is a Marketing Tool.  Focus on choosing the right location and creating the right image.

I'd encourage you to read the full article and to subscribe to Ginny's email list so you get the follow up installments.

Kenyon Home Care Consulting

Partners31 Risa Baker

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: Starting a Home Care Business, Elderly Care, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care

Home Health Therapy: PT/OT Home Exercise Programs

Posted by Will Hicklen on Sep 6, 2011 1:34:00 PM

Therapy agencies—including Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy & Speech—are among Ankota’s fastest growing customers and we’re always on the lookout for technologies that can help our clients take better care of their clients.Home Exercise Plans BPM Rx

Physical therapy exercise handouts for home health agencies

Today's guest blogger is Ben Musholt, PT, of BPM Rx. BPM Rx provides a simple and important, web based product that allows therapists to easily provide exercise handouts to clients. Right now, Ankota’s customers can access the system directly and enjoy a FREE TRIAL and special discount using the code included below.

We’d like to hear your thoughts. Would it be useful to be able to select exercise programs directly from within TherapEZ? Would you want to retain these care plans along with the client’s record in TherapEZ? Or, is accessing this type of site outside of TherapEZ adequate? What other thoughts do you have? We’d like to hear from you! Please send comments/suggestions to will.hicklen@ankota.com.

Ensuring adherence to a home exercise program (HEP) is often a major concern of physical therapists, when they are getting close to discharging a client.  I should know, I’ve been a physical therapist for almost 10 years and it’s always a bit nerve racking to say good-bye to a patient when their goals have been met, but they still need to continue with an exercise routine.   You want the best for your client, thus you’re nervous that they could backslide on their progress after they’ve been discharged from your service.

  • “Will they keep going with their exercise routine? 
  • “Did they understand and remember all of the movements correctly?”

Home Exercise Plan for Physical Therapy

Being sure that a client is fully independent with his or her exercise routine is a crucial function of physical therapy, whether it is rendered in a clinic or a home-based setting.  When clients taper off from their prescribed activities too soon, they may see a return of their symptoms, which they may attribute to PT not being successful; or worse, if they are in the senior/geriatric population, they may begin to regress in their functional status, and lose independence at home.    As all physical therapists know, the solution to this predicament is to provide a HEP handout that illustrates which exercises are to be performed, how often, and at what intensity.

BPM Rx, Inc. is a web-based exercise prescription software company that has aligned itself with Ankota to provide home health agencies with a mobile platform for physical therapists to issue exercise handouts to their clientele.  Therapists can select from hundreds of exercises appropriate for geriatric patients, orthopedic injuries, balance skills, and surgical rehab.  There is even a category of movements specific to activities of daily living (ADL) for occupational therapists.  

What’s unique about this software program is that it can be accessed from any computer or tablet device that has Internet access.  That means that the therapist can browse through the exercise library while on-site with the client, and choose which exercises are most appropriate, then email a PDF to them, or print off a paper copy, once there is access to a printer.   In addition, rather than utilizing pre-written instructions, the therapists get to write in personalized instructions and reminders, unique to each client.

Current users of Ankota’s TherapEZ software can access the BPM Rx exercise library with the coupon code: ANKOTA15; which gives 15% off the monthly subscription price.

Find out more about BPM Rx here: http://www.BPMRx.com.

Topics: Home Therapy, Home Health Therapy Software

Home Care Software Geek shares Social Media Time Saver called Roost

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 1, 2011 2:58:00 PM

If you're reading this post, then you are proving that social media matters in home care.  There is debate as to how important a tool social media is for home care agencies to find clients.  You can read more about that in Ankota's recent post Home Care is Talking about Social Media: Point and Counterpoint.

Today's post is for those of you who have are either using social media or contemplating its use and not sure how to find the time.  I use a tool that allows Ankota to publish 9 or 10 items a week on our Facebook page and on my Twitter (@AnkotaCTO) and it takes me less than 15 minutes a week to set it up.  The tool is called "Roost" and you can sign up for free at www.roost.com.

Roost for home care social media

Here's how it works:

  • Signing up for Roost takes about 5 minutes. 
  • Go in once a week for about 15 minutes to set up a "campaign" (which is a set of postings for the week)
  • Roost proposes a mix of types of posts for you.  For example, 2 news/blog links, 3 status updates, 1 Quote, 2 Questions, and 1 Photo (see screenshot below)
  • There are built in tools to help you find content (like a tool for finding famous quotes and a tool that shows you relevant blog articles, such as from New York Times Health or others, that you may wish to post).  You can also add in other sources that you like (such as the Ankota blog)
  • Once you're done, Roost releases your posts for you throughout the week

Roost home care social media campaign setup

Roost is a free and easy service, so I'd encourage you to give it a try.

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

Topics: home care software geek, Home Care Technology

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About Ankota

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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