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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

4 Reasons to Beef Up Your Home Health Aide Training

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 27, 2014 2:31:21 PM

In her recent blog post, Ginny Kenyon of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting makes a compelling case for why home health care agencies must be on the front lines of home health aide training or risk being left behind the pack.

As Ginny points out, the expectations of your clients and the industry itself have greatly changed of the past few years.  Here are four reasons you need to beef up your home health aide training:

  1. More home health care patients are suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses – and that means your home health aides need to be trained on how to care for these conditions in order to accept these patients.Ginny_Kenyon_Home_Care_Consultant
  2. The use of specialty services in the industry is a growing trend as well. To stay competitive, more home care agencies are offering specialty care services, such as diabetic care and Alzheimer’s care. You need to educate your staff on these conditions and make sure they are current with any new or current treatment procedures.
  3. The health care industry is driving rapid advancements, and new technology and treatment methods are released monthly. Unfortunately, that means that one-time home health aide training or even annual training sessions are no longer enough. You may need to provide training sporadically throughout the year to meet this demand.
  4. Finally, think of how many regulatory changes your agency has seen this year alone. From the Affordable Care Act to Medicare to changes regarding ICD-10 coding, your staff needs to not only be updated regularly, but also thoroughly trained as soon as new regulations come into effect. Inadequate health aide training could lead to loss of income, loss of your license, or loss of contracts with major medical providers. It can put your agency out of business.

Deciding what to train your employees on – and when – can be a daunting task. Kenyon HomeCare Consulting can help design a training program based on the unique needs of your home care agency.

To learn more about home health care transitions, visit us at http://www.ankota.com/care-transitions.

 care_transitions_video-1

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.

Topics: Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Home Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care, Home Health Therapy Software, Ginny Kenyon

Home Care Leadership Styles: Simon Cowell or Chef Ramsay?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 12, 2014 12:16:00 PM

 Do you lead your home care organization like Simon Cowell or Chef Ramsay?

True confession, I watch reality TV...  I'm really into music and cooking and I've watched my share of shows like "American Idol" and "The Voice" on the music side, and shows like "Hell's Kitchen" on the cooking side.  Both of these shows have (or in the case of "American Idol," had in the past) judges with similar characteristics.  Both  Simon Cowell (music mogul formerly with "American Idol") and Chef Gordon Ramsay (chef and host of "Hell's Kitchen") are good looking and articulate British men who are know for raising their voice and giving harsh negative feedback for poor performances.

But there's a big difference...  Simply stated, Chef Ramsay can cook, but Simon Cowell can't sing.

Simon_Cowell_and_Chef_Ramsay_Ankota_Blog

On Gordon Ramsay's shows, there are often challenges for the chefs to prepare a fantastic dish in a short amount of time, and perhaps working with something they haven't worked with before.  One recent example comes to mind in which the contestants were given a fresh salmon - the entire fish - and they had to filet it into perfect portions and then prepare their dish.  Gordon Ramsay accomplishes the task on television with ease and never breaks a sweat or lets a hair get out of place.  When he tastes a dish and it's not quite right, he can tell you precisely what ingredients were in it, where the ratios were wrong and what was wrong with the cooking technique, down to the point of identifying exactly how much more or less time the dish should have cooked.

By contrast, Simon just tells you what he didn't like.  Don't get me wrong, he's generally right in his assessment, and back in the early days of "American Idol" he was the only one of the three judges with useful criticism (the other judges were Paula Abdul, the attractive Laker-girl who had a short-lived career as a pop start in the '80s who would generally say something nice, and Randy Jackson, who played bass for the band Journey, who tended to give general feedback of only a few words).  To be fair, Simon is also a very successful man who was earning north of $50 Million a year in his prime, so there's no question that he's bright.  It's just a question for me about how he led.

How Does This Affect Your Home Care Leadership?

Simon_Cowell_and_Chef_Ramsay_Ankota_Blog

Not a lot of home care leaders come up through the caregiver ranks.  On the home health side, a good number of owners are nurses, but on the home care side not so much...  In any event, when you lead your organization, I'd highly recommend that you lead more like Chef Ramsay and less like Simon Cowell.  You should be willing to roll up your sleeves and lead by example.  I have a lot of respect for Chef Ramsay and if he were to criticize me, I'd know that it would be constructive and that I could learn from it.

I've found often that successful home care/ home health leaders and by extension successful agencies, exhibit this type of leadership style.  If you would like to learn more about ways to improve your Home Care business, you can download a free white paper from Ankota called:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies, you can download it for free by clicking the photo link below: 

7_habits_effective_home_care

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care

5 Key Strategies for Winning in Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 8, 2014 11:23:52 AM

Hats off to Stephen Tweed, CSP and CEO of Leading Home Care, for an outstanding article he wrote recently called “The Art of Winning…in Home Care”.  The inspiration for this terrific article came from a discussion Stephen had with Dennis Connor, 3-time winner of the America's Cup and author of "The Art of Winning: America's Most Successful Competitor Shows How To Motivate-And Win-In Business And In Life!”

 Stephen and Dennis teamed up to present 5 key strategies for winning in home care. Here they are for you:

Ankota_winning_pic
  1. Attitude – It all starts when you commit yourself to winning.
  2. Performance – Associating with the best people, seeking incremental improvement, and tracking progress systematically are critical.
  3. Teamwork – Look for hunger and commitment in your teammates. Find people who can break the “good enough” barrier.
  4. Competition – Competition is one of the best sources of self-improvement.
  5. Goals – A strict deadline is almost as important as the goal itself.

If you're interested in learning more about Stephen and Dennis' list, you can read the full article here.

What about you?  What are you doing to apply “The Art of Winning” to your business?  Are there some key strategies that you'd add to the list?

If you would like to learn more about ways to improve your Home Care business, you can download a free white paper from Ankota called:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies by clicking the photo link below: 

7_habits_effective_home_care

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Topics: Home Care Entrepreneurship, Private Duty Home Care Blogs, Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Home Care

Home Care can Disrupt Healthcare with Care Transition Services

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 5, 2014 11:20:34 AM

Harvard professor Clayton Christensen literally wrote the book on disruptive technology.  In his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma; Christensen described disruptive innovation as innovation that unexpectedly creates a new market or value network and eventually disrupts an existingClayton_Christensen market and value network, displacing an earlier technology.

A classic example of disruptive innovation is in the computer industry.  In my lifetime, we moved from $2 million dollar mainframes (e.g., IBM), to $200,000 minicomputers (Sun Microsystems), to $2,000 personal computers (Dell) and then to $200 smartphones (Apple, Samsung).  You’ll notice that the dominant companies in the computer industry changed at each step along the way and part of the reason is that successful players in a market are generally not motivated to create a new technology that can replace their current success at a 10th of the cost.

Disrupting Healthcare

A similar phenomenon can occur in health care.  Today the predominant way that elderly individuals indicate their need for a hospitalization is by showing up in the emergency room.  Costs of emergency room visits vary widely but most studies show the average cost to be around $2,000.  Based on the computer industry example, perhaps there’s a way to make that determination for $200?  Also, hospitalizations in the case of the elderly are often more complicated and expensive and become the trigger event for an individual to become one of the 5% of the US population that accounts for 45% of all health care costs.  So if there was a way to predict and avoid the hospitalization, the value (as measured in patient quality of life, better health outcomes, and reduced costs) can be huge.  If for example the person moves from home and community based care to institutional long term care in a nursing home, their average cost of care in general will increase by $1,600 per month.  (Milligan C in Innovations in Integrated Care: New Opportunities to Better Serve Dual Eligibles.  February 23, 2011. Hilltop Institute)

Christensen has a lot to say about this.  He had enough, in fact, to write a sequelThe_innovators_prescription which was his 2009 Book The Innovator’s Prescription.   In this book he uses examples from other industries to forecast how health care can be reformed to provide better care at lower costs.  There are many concepts discussed in the book, but one in particular is the concept of decentralization.  At Better Health Boston, a one-day event for healthcare industry stakeholders hosted by McKesson Corporation, Christensen explained “In a typical hospital, overheads account for 85 to 90 percent of total costs because of the complexity of offering a ‘one size fits none’ offering.”  He went on to explain that diagnostic functions, surgery and acute care, and chronic disease management require three fundamentally different business models and ideally should be separated.    He also talks about how many of the services traditionally provided in hospitals today can be performed better and less expensively at the home.

Can Home Care Predict Hospitalizations?

Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, president of the company Care at Hand is seeking to disrupt the process of detecting the need for a hospitalization.   Ostrovsky has developed an evidence based methodology for analyzing patterns in care plan results reported by home health aides in order to predict and avoid hospital admissions.  In private duty home care, most of us are already collecting care plan results each time we visit clients.  Within this data lies the information needed to significantly decrease hospital admissions.  In a study involving 561 discharged patients in the second half of 2013, readmissions were decreased by 39.6% resulting in $370,721 in savings and a 257% return on the technology investment.Care-at-Hand-logo-1  Details of this study are published by HIMSS in the article (Case Study: Decreasing Costs and Improving Outcomes Through Community-Based Care Transitions and Care Coordination Technology) (http://www.himss.org/ResourceLibrary/genResourceDetailPDF.aspx?ItemNumber=28301).   Ostrovsky is making arrangements to offer his technology through arrangements with home care software and telephony providers.

But My Private Duty Agency isn’t part of the Health Care Ecosystem?

When the minicomputer companies were trying to displace mainframes, and when the personal computer companies were trying to displace minicomputers, they were in a similar position to where private duty home care is today.  But, there were two differences:

  1. They knew that they wanted to become the next generation technology in their market, and
  2. They built their markets by providing their technology to companies who couldn’t afford the alternative.

Home care’s role in health care transformation is different and more challenging.  There is no “new market” because all of the patients (our clients) exist today.  Also, we’re not trying to put hospitals out of business.  Instead, we’re interested in working with them on tasks where we can save the health care system money and increase satisfaction for our clients. 

Becoming part of the health care ecosystem will be challenging, and there are some obstacles that you’ll need to overcome...but there are also rewards in the form of growth and an opportunity to develop aides to higher levels of practice.  The obstacles will be tough.  Just like the mainframe companies who ignored the minicomputer and PC manufacturers, the hospitals don’t view you as likely partners and it will be tough to break in…

Playbook for Becoming Part of the Disruptive Transformation:

The great news about private duty home care companies is that you know how to compete and sell.  Despite the obstacles, hospitals have needs that you can fill.  Here are some of the concepts to incorporate into your sales strategy:

  • Understand the readmission penalties that hospitals are facing and the opportunity for home care agencies to help.  There’s a two minute video at www.ankota.com/care-transitions tocare_transitions_video-1 get you started.
  • Realize that in some ways, private duty agencies may be a better fit than home health to partner with hospitals on avoiding readmissions.  Many hospitals now have teams of nurses who focus on readmissions and high-risk patients.  But they don’t have people who can easily visit their homes and provide transportation to primary care and follow-up appointments.  This is a need that you can fill.
  • Additionally, care transition services do require some nursing skills related to medications and management of red-flags, but a lot of the work is in educating and empowering patients to advocate for themselves.  High performing aides and social workers are well suited to be trained in these skills
  • Realize that there is a big upside.  First of all, care transition patients become great candidates for ongoing home care services.  Second, hospitals will potentially view the rates you charge for services as being highly affordable
  • Make sure that your technology is ready.  Look into incorporating the Care at Hand technology described above.  Also, make sure that your home care software can accept referrals electronically and share care results with other players in the health care ecosystem.  If your software only does scheduling, you can be left out
  • You’ll need to commit to this opportunity and be persistent.  Don’t give up too easily.  There will be a lot of resistance at first.

The agencies that embrace and lead in these new opportunities will grow and thrive!

Click to Learn how to Increase Profit via Care Transitions

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.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Care Transitions, Accountable Care Organizations, Avoidable Readmissions

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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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