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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Reform: News & Obama's Response

Posted by Will Hicklen on Jun 28, 2012 3:59:00 PM

Ankota Technology Enables Healthcare Ecosystems, Manages Care Transitions Under Healthcare Reform.

Regardless of the politics involved, today's decision by the US Supreme Court to uphold "Healthcare Reform" is a landmark decision. For news and analysis on the decision, see the videos below. To learn more about how Ankota's technology helps coordinate providers to Plan, Coordinate, and Deliver Care under Healthcare Reform, click the orange button immediately below

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US Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Reform

Ankota is excited and proud to be leading the way with software solutions that enable the development of Healthcare Ecosystems today. Ankota's technology immediately improves care coordination, helps manage care transitions, and improves outcomes for patients with lower overall costs. 


Already undergoing dramatic change, these changes in the way healthcare is planned and delivered will only accelerate. More care will be delivered outside of hospitals, and highly disorganized, fragmented segments that make up post acute care will be foreced to work more closely. Providers are already seeking ways to better coordinate services, assure that transitions of care are well managed to lower overall costs and improve outcomes. Terms such as Acountable Care, Care Transitions, and Avoidable Readmissions will become even more commonplace. The economics driving these relationships will continue and will only become more compelling.  

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White House Response on Supreme Court Decision on Healthcare Reform



Click here to read the complete decision from the US Supreme Court 

Related Stories (click on logo for link):

New York Times Healthcare Reform 

Washington Post healthcare Reform

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Topics: Health Care Reform, Care Coordination, thought leadership, Aging in Place Technology, Will Hicklen, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO, Managing Post Acute Care, ACO Technology

Management Lessons in Health Care: Keeping Cool in a Crisis

Posted by Will Hicklen on Jun 25, 2012 6:17:00 PM

John Baldoni leadershipHealthcare is indeed a matter of life and death, and sometimes it's even more important than that. It does not matter which part of the health care continuum you are in: Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organization, a Respected Hospital, Primary Care, or any of the post acute care segments that we know so well, such as home healthcare, therapies, infusion nursing, or HME / DME. No matter where you are in the "ecosystem" of providers, new healthcare delivery models demand that services are better coordinated, and your patients and colleagues look to you for calm in the storm.

In his SmartBrief blog, Baldoni explains, "Composure is a desired leadership attribute. For some leaders, composure is a birthright. They take to coolness like a duck to water. It comes as second nature. For others, it must be cultivated — and not easily."

Take a look at this video from well known executive coach John Baldoni, in which he gives leaders some practical advice for maintining cool perspective in the most stressful of situations.

Topics: Care Coordination, thought leadership, transitional care, Will Hicklen, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations

Performance Improvement in Managing Care Transitions

Posted by Will Hicklen on Jun 20, 2012 5:29:00 PM

describe the imageThe Healthcare Finance Managers Association (HFMA) posted their most recent HFMA Education report, titled "Using Formal Process  Improvement for Revenue Cycle Management." I am going to ask  you to ignore those last words "...for Revenue Cycle Management,"  because there are a few lessons in this report that are applicable  across providers of all types-- including hospitals, ACOs and Care  Transitions collaboratives, and post acute care providers that  provide services in the home or residential facilities like Assisted  Living (ALFs) or Skilled Nursing (SNFs). Collectively, these are our  customers and Ankota refers to these organizations as the  Healthcare Ecosystem.

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Drop the "...for Revenue Cycle Management" because much of the report focuses on this facet of coding and billing to try to improve payments and subsequently, profitability. That's important for the fiscal health of hospitals, of course. The HFMA also refers to Lean and Six Sigma concepts specifically, but there are a number of performance improvement models that are likewise relevant. You may have heard of Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen (most famous for being the foundation for Toyota's rapid emergence as the world's leading auto manufacturer), Balanced Scorecard, and perhaps others. Don't worry about trying to learn a lot about these right now. Just remember that every performance management initiative has a few things in common besides a catchy name. 

HFMA critical success factors resized 600

Go ahead and read the HFMA report even if your are not responsible for Revenue Cycle Management in your organization. You'll pick up a few ideas that apply across the rest of your organization. It may even help you to think through how your organization might better manage processes-- Care Transitions -- with other providers. Care Transitions are largely unmanaged today and rely on an ad hoc approach driven by phone calls and faxes. As providers organize into Ecosystems, and some providers take on Accountability and risk for outcomes. technology like Ankota's will be critical to manage these transitions effectively and reduce avoidable readmissions.

Download the complete HFMA report here 

Topics: Care Coordination, transitional care, Will Hicklen, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, ACO, ACO Technology

Assumptions on In-House Home Health Agencies Debunked

Posted by Will Hicklen on Jun 19, 2012 11:43:00 AM

Hospice and Hospital Market Research Provider Dispels Myths Regarding Post Acute Care

Recent Healthcare Market Resources (HMR) research verifies that hospitals' "inhouse" agencies do not command a dominant share of discharged patients. This confirms vast opportunities for post acute care providers and further drives the need for advanced technology to better manage Care Transitions. Ankota is leading the way.

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The following is borrowed from Healthcare Market Resuorces news release:  

Dresher, PA - In the "Post-Obama Care" realm, post-acute providers feel pressured to integrate services and optimize partnerships and alliances. Today's home health agencies, jockeying for position in order to become a preferred provider for their services, often feel like second class citizens to in-house or captive agencies.

Healthcare Market Resources, (HMR) a leading provider of custom market data for hospices and home health agencies, dispels the myths associated with hospital-based home health referrals with its new metrics.

"There's a commonly held belief in the home health industry, particularly among freestanding organizations, that hospital-based and hospital-affiliated home health agencies(HHA's) monopolize all the in-house referrals," Richard Chesney, HMR CEO said.

Healthcare Market Resources set out to examine that myth with a new analysis by linking Medicare hospital inpatient claims to home health admissions or readmissions within a four day window.

Based on an analysis of 2009 Medicare claims data, HMR was able to determine the specific home health agencies that patients went to from each hospital. "The research goes beyond the boundaries of previous analysis which was limited to examining competition within a geographical area," explained Chesney. "Our analysis gives insight into the referral patterns established by specific hospitals bringing market share analysis down to the micro level." More than 67% of the hospitals did not have a dominant provider.

Whether you operate in the state of Alaska with over 86% of high market share hospitals that year or in Louisiana with just over 6% of hospitals considered to have a dominant agency in 2009, the research details how hospitals behave in a particular market.

Inhouse referrals by State

Healthcare Market Resources offers a glance at the state data used for its analysis with a comprehensive chart at www.healthmr.com/resources/highmarketsharehospitals. The data is an effective tool for home health agencies to discover referral opportunities to support their goals with strategies for growth in market share. Healthcare Market Resources' new market research is inclusive of any hospital and can be leveraged by any home health agency.

A review of the data in a particular market can reveal that while some of the states in the highest quartile have CON restrictions on access, that regulatory-limited provider base did not automatically lead to a high percentage of "single-agency dominated" institutions.

"Our data analysis can take into account that a hospital may attract patients beyond the service area of the captive agency or even go as far as to make note that in many metropolitan areas, patients can easily cross state lines to get care, while agencies cannot," Chesney explained. The research identifies the hospitals that have a dominant agency, with more than 70% market share, but this HHA may not be a captive organization

"By effectively connecting our research with a custom report on your market, Home health agencies looking to expand their market share can now take their sales strategies to a micro level." Chesney said.

A sampling of the detail inherent in the state-specific report can be found atwww.healthmr.com/resources/highmarketsharehospitals and additional descriptions of specific reports can be obtained by calling 215-657-7373.

"The consistent takeaway from all of our data, regardless of the state you operate in, is that home health agencies that look at their market share based on assumptions or myths will be off the mark when it comes to meeting their quotas." Chesney stated.

About Healthcare Market Resources

Healthcare Market Resources, Inc., a leading provider of reliable data enables home health agencies and hospices to make market decisions based on data and not perceptions. Its customized local market reports give healthcare executives a competitive edge for business development and strategic planning initiatives. 

Topics: Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Home Care Best Practices, Care Coordination, thought leadership, transitional care, Home Healthcare Delivery Management, Home Care Technology, Will Hicklen, Care Transitions, Avoidable Readmissions, Managing Post Acute Care

Home Care Software Geek Explains Why Google Chrome is # 1 Browser

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jun 13, 2012 9:06:00 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.

As of May 20th 2012, Google Chrome has overtaken Internet Explorer to become theGoogle Chrome Logo number 1 browser worldwide, surpassing long time competitor Internet Explorer.  I for one have jumped on that bandwagon and generally use Chrome (although we also test Ankota on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari).  Let me explain why I like Chrome:

  • It's faster than the others
  • Sometimes I want to go to a site (like Ankota.com) and other times I want to search for somthing.  With chrome, I can do either one just by typing in the address bar
  • The bells and whistles, like saving passwords and translating from foreign languages are really easy to use
  • When I type in Chrome (like now writing this blog post or composing email) it spell checks for me
  • It works on my PC and on the Mac
I spend a lot of time in a browser and this one makes my life easier.  I find that most home care people either use Internet Explorer (because it comes on their PC) or Safari (because Macintosh people generally believe that Apple does everything best).  I'm fond of both Microsoft and Apple, but I use Chrome for speed and convenience (I like Google too - they make Chrome).
The number 3 browser is FireFox and programmers (including my programmers at Ankota) seem to prefer it.  I asked my lead developer why and he explained that there are a lot of developer tools that he can plug in (for example to analyze the software while testing).
Here's a graph showing market share over time that I found at http://www.businessinsider.com (you can view the article by clicking on the graph).
Browser Market Share
So what does this mean for you and your home care agency?  Two things:
  1. Since Google Chrome has become the leader, it might be worth a try (click on the chrome icon above to go to the download page), and
  2. It used to be that software vendors wrote their software only for Internet Explorer, and that made sense because it used to have almost all of the market (in 2004 it had 90% of the market and stayed over 70% through 2009).  But for now, make sure that you get software that runs in other browsers...
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

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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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