The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

Educating Homecare Aides: What You Need to Know!

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 28, 2015 9:28:31 AM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

There’s no shortage of methods for growing your homecare organization these days. But one sure-fire way to boost your growth – that you probably haven’t thought of – is advanced chronic disease education for aides.

With numerous benefits to your staff, your clients, and your bottom line, homecare aide education should be an integral part of your growth strategy.educating homecare aides

Why Educating Homecare Aides Matters

Caregivers receive training while becoming certified aides, so why is it important to focus your efforts on educating homecare aides further? The reasons are practically never-ending, but we’ll start with these three:

  1. Initial training isn’t enough. Although aides are required to become certified prior to employment, the training is very basic and doesn’t include specifics needed to adequately provide chronic disease care. In order to reap the rewards of a fully-educated staff, your aides must be knowledgeable of care beyond the basics.

  2. Chronic diseases are on the rise. According to the CDC, chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, stroke) are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Unfortunately, the ability to treat these conditions isn’t keeping pace with the rate at which the diseases are rising. Nationwide clients and/or their families are looking for specialized care to help manage symptoms and live as normal of life as possible.

  3. The medical field is constantly changing. Technological advancements are responsible for the bulk of these changes. While this is certainly a good thing, it makes continuously educating homecare aides more crucial than ever.

It’s no longer enough to employ average caregivers – not if you want to make a difference in the lives of your clients and grow your organization. Providing advanced chronic disease education is not only necessary, but also greatly advances your success.

Educating Homecare Aides Benefits Your Organization

When you provide advanced educate beyond the minimum requirements, you set your agency apart. Here are just three of the many benefits chronic disease education provides:

  1. Creates an elite group of caregivers. What does this matter? Simply put, well-educated aides are elite having the ability to provide better care, which increases client satisfaction. When clients are satisfied, they tell referral sources. This has a positive snowball effect on your profit margin.

  2. Sets you apart from the competition. As mentioned earlier, clients are in need of advanced chronic disease care now more than ever. Your competition isn’t offering this level of care or the specialized services you offer when your aides are well-educated. So clients and referral sources will turn to you for the care they require.

  3. Increases employee retention. Give your aides a career path and a reason to become an elite caregiver, and they’ll stick with you longer.  Research shows that employee replacement costs average about $75,000. That’s a big chunk of change! Educating aides ensures that you’ll avoid some of your current replacement costs.

Whichever reason for educating homecare aides resonates with you, there’s no questioning the importance of advanced education. At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we offer everything you need to meet the needs of your community, satisfy clients and employees, and boost your bottom line – all through the one of it’s kind, Aide University.

Check out our courses when you’re ready to make a difference in your community, organization and your bottom line!

EDUCATING HOMECARE AIDES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW! first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

Ginny Kenyon is the founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, a home health consulting firm that gives agencies a market advantage, promotes creative product development, and offers viable ways to achieve and sustain organizational and fiscal success.

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One of Ankota's recent care transitions whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please download click the link or the picture blow for tips on how to construct optimal care transitions offerings and sell them to hospital partners in your geographies.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon

5 Networking Tips for Home Care Professionals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 26, 2015 8:31:57 AM

Business NetworkingThe biggest thing that sets successful home care agencies apart is that they build a network of partners who can send them referrals, and continue to nurture those relationships. Here's an earlier story on the power of networking in home care. 

Once you get on board with the power of networking, the next hurdle is to be good at it.  Some people are great at networking events.  They are the life of the party and networking skills come naturally to them.  For the rest of us, here are some tips to make you a better networker:

  1. Put your name tag on the right side of your chest: The reason for this is that as you shake hands with people, it will be easy for them to see (and hopefully learn and remember) your name.

  2. Put your business cards in your left pocket, and other people's business cards in your right pocket: This little tip keeps you from fumbling when sharing cards.  If your left pocket only has your cards, you can confidently reach in and grab a card without even looking.  If someone doesn't have a card and I want to remember them, I sometimes pull out one of my cards and jot down their information and then stick it in my right pocket.

  3. Think of a way to remember each person you meet: I'm personally bad with names so the trick I try to use is to think of someone else I know with the same name as the person I meet.  If that doesn't work, try to pick up something from your conversation such as a place you can associate with the person.  The typical conversation starts with an introduction, then "what do you do?" conversation, and then "where are you from?" If you've visited the place they're from, perhaps you can remember them that way.Networking_Ankota Homecare Blog

  4. Network with everyone: You may be thinking that you want to meet the director of the ALF you're visiting, but you're better off to meet everyone. As an example, the front desk receptionist is generally more accessible than a director, plus they often know who is in the building and who is available to talk.  This can potentially be your most valuable relationship at the facility.

  5. Follow-Up with the people you meet: When you get home, reach into your right pocket, pull out those cards, and follow up.  You can send an email with a title like "Great to meet you!" and then write a short personal note.  My advice here is to remind them (and yourself) of a way to remember the conversation, like "it was great to meet someone else whose been to Butler PA."  I recommend NOT trying to sell them in this note. Building the relationship is more important.  If the person doesn't seem to use email a lot, perhaps you can leave a nice voice mail on their work phone.

Good luck with your networking and relationship building!  For more home care best practices, please download our free guide, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  Just click the link or the picture below to download.  

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care-4.jpg

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

8 Proven Tools for Improving Care Transitions

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 21, 2015 10:45:05 AM

According to this article from the Health Information Network (www.hin.com), there are 8 tools in particular that are being used to manage care transitions.  When I first saw the title of the article, I expected to see competitors to our own comprehensive care transitions software, but instead this article shows "techniques" used in managing care transitions, such as med reconciliation, a discharge template and others as shown in the graphic below.

Care Transitions Tools_Ankota Healthcare Blog

Develop Your Process First and Then Automate

I like the concept of this graphic, because before automating something in your business, you should first understand the process that you will follow.  To develop your care transitions program, here are some of the things that you should consider:

  • What skills do you have or lack in your agency?  For example, if you're a home care agency without sufficient nursing staff, then you might want to partner with the discharging hospital so their nurses can prepare the med list and identify red flags.

  • What schedule will you follow? When will you meet your patients?  Will you meet them at the hospital before discharge?  If all is going well, will your follow-up check-ins be on the phone?

  • How will you make money at this?  Can you construct a program that the hospital will pay you for?  If not, what about a paid service charged to the patient?

These points are discussed in Ankota's whitepaper  "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals"  that you can download for free.

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo or to view a quick video of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

5 Healthcare Fun Facts (Actually More Alarming Than Fun)

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 19, 2015 10:11:02 AM

Just the Facts_Ankota homecare blogA friend of mine sent me a link to the healthcare page on the website www.justfacts.com.  I also found an article called 50 Depressing Facts About the Healthcare System That Will Make You Beg for Reform. There are a plethora of facts on these pages that are eye-opening, informative, and in many cases just sad.  I'd encourage you to go to the sources (via the links above) to see which facts are most interesting to you, but for now here are 5 facts that I found quite interesting:

  1. In inflation-adjusted dollars, healthcare spending in 1960 was $1,082 per person.  In 2010, it was $8,218 (an increase of 760%)

  2. The $2.4 trillion spent on healthcare in 2008 was nearly as much as food, clothing, and national defense combined.

  3. A quarter of Americans throw away prescriptions because they can't afford to fill them

  4. Healthcare spending dwarfs the combined profits of every corporation in America

  5. Doctors spend $210 Billion per year on procedures based on fear of liability, not patient need

Silver Lining 2 I always try to find the silver lining...  In this case that silver lining is that we can make a lot of improvement, and I believe that home care can be at the heart of that improvement.  Ankota has established a strategic partnership with the new company, Triple Aim Technologies (TAT).  TAT offers an automated solution that enables home health and home care agencies to very inexpensively keep tabs on their at-risk patients in between visits, and to be tipped off when they're exhibiting symptoms that are likely to lead to a hospitalization.  We're offering a free white paper explaining the Triple Aim solution (see below), and if you download the white paper, you can also express your interest in a free TAT pilot.

 "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model" is available for download by clicking the link or the picture below.  

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Ankota Home Care Triple Aim White Paper

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, triple aim technologies

What Shark Tank Can Teach You About Homecare Startups

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 16, 2015 2:33:25 PM

 One of the industry experts I learn from every time we speak is Ginny Kenyon, principal at Kenyon Home Care Consulting.  Ginny helps open home care agencies and has given Ankota great inputs on our software.  We at Ankota strongly believe that keeping elderly people healthy and comfortable in their homes (and out of the hospital) is an important step in the evolution of healthcare.  Ginny is one of the pioneers driving moves in home health delivery.  Enjoy her post (below).

If you’re thinking of diving into a homecare startup, there are many areas to consider before taking the plunge. As with starting other organizations, launching a profitable homecare agency is an intricate, involved process that requires your dedication and perseverance.Fortunately, at your disposal are a few secrets to success in the home health industry. To learn how to achieve your goals with homecare startups, consider the success stories from the popular TV show, Shark Tank.Homecare Startups

What Makes Entrepreneurs Successful on Shark Tank

In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, Shark Tank provides an avenue for budding entrepreneurs to pitch their products to potential investors (also know as “sharks”). From crazy to practical, we’ve seen everything imaginable brought before the sharks. But what does it take for these entrepreneurs to secure an investment deal on the show?Here are three things all successful Shark Tank ventures have in common.

  • Clever, unique ideas that set them apart from the competition. Consider Aaron Krause and his Scrub Daddy product. According to Business Insider, Scrub Daddy is the most successful of all Shark Tank stories. Why? Because the product is unlike other sponges on the market with its unique ability to contour to the shape of utensils, and with its one-of-a-kind Flextexture technology.

  • Products or services that fill a need or desire. Take Mark and Hanna Lim’s Lollacup, for example. When the couple couldn’t find a decent straw cup for their infant daughter, they designed one of their own. The Lollacup is valve-free and comes with a special straw created specifically for helping little mouths get every last drop of liquid.

  • A willingness to accept help from the right partners. In the case of Shark Tank, these partners are investors. Smart entrepreneurs realize they can only get so far on their own. To really see their businesses soar, they must enlist the help of people with resources they don’t have.

What Homecare Startups Can Learn From Shark Tank Success StoriesUsing the three factors that create successful businesses on Shark Tank, here’s how you can apply the same principles to your homecare startup.

  • Partner with experienced experts outside your organization to help you make the best decisions for success. Homecare consultants, lawyers, and accountants are imperative to the profitable? process needed for homecare startups.

  • Set yourself apart from the competition with advanced chronic disease education for aides. This training allows you to create an elite group of caregivers providing a superior level of specialty care .

  • Engage an experienced interim manager to lead the startup transition allowing you to focus on your core business.

WHAT SHARK TANK CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT HOMECARE STARTUPS first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

Ginny Kenyon is the founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, a home health consulting firm that gives agencies a market advantage, promotes creative product development, and offers viable ways to achieve and sustain organizational and fiscal success.

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One of Ankota's recent care transitions whitepapers, entitled "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals" is available for download and we think you'll find it useful.  Please click the link or the picture below for tips on how to construct optimal care transitions offerings and sell them to hospital partners in your geographies.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Selling_Care_Transition_Services_to_Hospitals_Cover.png

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon, home care technology report, December 2015 Newsletter

Home Care Overtime is a "Double-Edged Sword"

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 13, 2015 2:41:09 PM

Overtime pay in home care is a tough issue to solve amicably for all parties. There's been a lot of attention to this issue among legislators and the latest is that the supreme court has denied the emergency stay regarding the overtime rule. This was released as breaking news by Stephen Tweed of Leading Home Care in this article.

Double-Edged Sword

Gavel and scalesThis is a classic case where if you hear either side of the argument in isolation, you're likely to side with what you hear.  For example:

  • I'm a caregiver providing round the clock care in the home of an elderly client.  Isn't only fair that I should be paid for all of my hours and be paid overtime?  OF COURSE!

  • I have a live in caregiver who helps me with my activities of daily living. She's been with me a long time and we are more like family.  If I have to pay her overtime, I won't be able to keep her and will need different caregivers for no more than 40 hours each week.  It's hard for me to deal with changing caregivers all the time and they don't know me as well as Carol.  Shouldn't there be an exception? OF COURSE!

The Consequences of Doing What Seems Right

An industry vet told me this morning about some well meaning politicians in California who changed the rules so that live-in caregivers would be paid for all of their hours.  The result of this victory was that many elderly California residents had to give up their caregivers and move into nursing homes.  It seems that both the caregivers and their clients lost - what a shame!

I've also seen lots of situations where caregivers work for multiple agencies doing 40 hours for each so they can get their hours.  I bet there are even situations where two caregivers switch places with one another.

A Tough One to Solve!

I'm not political and issues like this remind me why.  In the manufacturing industry, many US jobs have been lost to outsourcing and automation.  By contrast, Germany has tended to keep more manufacturing jobs in their country and their economy has thrived more than most.  

What Does This Mean for Home Care?

Home care is in a tricky situation with a huge shortage of caregivers.  My predictions are that 1) caregiver wages will go up,  2) automation and home monitoring will become more mainstream so that people can stay without caregivers for more hours of the day, and 3) home care will move more to a model where caPlato quoteregivers are meeting with multiple clients in a day. Ultimately I expect necessity to be the mother of invention here.

The Mother of Invention

At Ankota, we especially enjoy working with home care agencies who want to experiment with new models of care delivery.  If you have a great idea but your software is holding you back, let us know.  We'll listen, and if we can help, we will!

I Have a Great Caregiving Innovation to Share

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions

Home Health Formula for Better Outcomes, Lower Cost and Increase Referrals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 7, 2015 3:12:15 PM

If your home health agency could improve outcomes and star ratings, reduce cost for many episodes, and increase referrals, would that capture your attention?

This is the mission of Ankota's strategic partner, Triple Aim Technologies...

The Triple Aim is a framework created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) that describes as approach to optimizing health system performance.  IHI challenges US health plans to design programs that simultaneously pursue three dimensions (those 3 dimensions are the "Triple Aim):

  • Improving the patient experience of care (quality and satisfaction),

  • Improving the health of populations, and

  • Reducing the per capita cost of care

Triple Aim Technologies_Ankota Home Care Blog

How Can Home Health Achieve the Triple Aim?

First and foremost, healthcare at home is the least expensive form of healthcare. By contrast, the hospital is the most expensive.  Avoiding preventable hospitalizations for large populations is the best way to achieve the Triple Aim. Home Health and Home Care agencies are optimally suited to drive this change.

The Triple Aim Technologies solution helps home health agencies achieve this goal.  Imagine how many hospitalizations could be avoided if your best nurse, with full knowledge of the disease histories of your patients, could call every one of your patients, as often as every day, and ask them the most relevant questions that would indicate that they're trending towards a hospitalization.  Of course, this wouldn't be affordable with actual nurses, but this is what Triple Aim Technologies has achieved with automation.

Home health agencies that adopt the triple aim solution will have increased patient contacts, reduced readmissions, improved star ratings and reduced costs (because the additional automated calls can serve tor reduce some live visits). Once triple aim certified agencies are able to provide the necessary geographic coverage for hospital systems or health plans (such as Medicare Advantage plans), the solution can be deployed to them to assist with readmission reduction (for hospitals) or population health management (for health plans) leading to paid referrals to the triple aim certified agencies.

This is just a brief introduction to the Triple Aim solution, a more detailed backgrounder is available in a free whitepaper entitled  "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model".  Please download by clicking the link or the picture below.  

If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Ankota Home Care Triple Aim White Paper

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, triple aim technologies

Bundles of Joy? How Bundled Payments will Effect Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 4, 2015 8:41:34 PM

 Everyone has heard about how Obamacare is driving a change in healthcare reimbursement from a pay per service model (where each service is reimbursed against a price sheet) to a pay per outcome model, and ultimately to an accountable care model (where health systems that combine payer and provider will receive a fixed amount per patient and will need to manage the health of that population).

Bundled Payments

One of the ways that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement the  "pay per outcome" model is called bundled payments.  CMS explains the model here, as follows:

Traditionally, Medicare makes separate payments to providers for each of the individual services they furnish to beneficiaries for a single illness or course of treatment. This approach can result in fragmented care with minimal coordination across providers and health care settings. Payment rewards the quantity of services offered by providers rather than the quality of care furnished. Research has shown that bundled payments can align incentives for providers – hospitals, post-acute care providers, physicians, and other practitioners – allowing them to work closely together across all specialties and settings.

How Do Bundles Work?

There are various flavors of the bundled payment programs, but essentially the idea as described above is that there will be a fixed price payment made to the hospital to cover the procedure and its post-acute care.  The subtleties between the various "flavors" relate to the time period covered by the bundle and whether the reimbursement is via fee-for-service and then "reconciled" or whether a single payment is made (and the providers submit "no cost" claims").  Again, more details is provided by CMS at this site.

What is the Impact on Home Health?

It is possible that home health will be profoundly impacted by bundles in the following ways:

  1. You'll need to negotiate and be paid by hospitals for the bundles

  2. You'll need a different way of thinking.  Today your perfect world is to get a high agreed reimbursement and do enough visits to avoid a LUPA.  With bundles, you will be competing with other agencies who are able to provide the best outcome at the lowest cost.

  3. With bundles, the hospital won't be reimbursed extra for readmissions, so part of your competitive strategy will need to be to prove that your agency avoids preventable readmissions

Where Do Bundles Stand Presently?

As of July 1, 2015, there were 101 home health agencies enrolled in the bundled payment model.  There's a strong feeling among some home health experts that the successful bundle participants will be the agencies who thrive in the future and that others are in danger of extinction.  This was a major theme at Tim Rowan's Healthcare in Transition conference.  If this posting makes you nervous, perhaps you should book yourself at Tim's next conference.

What About Non-Medical Home Care?

Bundled payments - Ankota Homecare BlogThe editorial position of this blog is that non-medical home care agencies can play a key role not only in helping their clients stay out of assisted living and nursing homes, but also in avoiding hospitalizations.  When individuals are discharged who don't have the physical, cognitive, or mental capacity to engage in their care, they will be at higher risk of non-reimbursed readmissions than others.  Further, non-medical home care can likely fill that void to help them avoid the readmission at an affordable cost (and will likely transition these referrals to long-term clients). Home care agencies who will benefit from this will be the ones who do the following: 1) partner with home health agencies for referrals, 2) provide care transition services in addition to standard care, and 3) will start to build practices that help their clients with ongoing chronic and recurring health conditions to avoid hospitalizations.  If you aren't doing items 2 or 3, Ankota can help.

Ankota's latest whitepaper offering, entitled "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model" is now available.  Please download by clicking the link or the picture below.  If you're interested in scheduling an online demo of our home care or care transitions software solutions, just click this button:

Click Here for a Free Demo

Ankota Home Care Triple Aim White Paper

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 Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

 

 

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, January 2016 Newsletter

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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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