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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

4 Ways Home Care Can Improve Sales via Content Marketing

Posted by Jed Hammel on Nov 30, 2015 10:48:13 AM

BostInno-logo.pngBostinno is a useful online resource that covers the startup and innovation industry in the Boston area.  They also have sister sites that cover Chicago, Washington DC, and Austin TX.  One of their recent articles, "When Content Marketing Doesn't Work," caught my eye.  It offers some easy-to-implement ways for our home care audience on this blog to improve their online content campaign and perhaps increase their content marketing ROI.

I suggest you give the full article a look, it's a pretty quick read, but as a start I'll summarize the main points below.  You also might find this previous Ankota blog post useful, Do You Have Strong Landing Pages on Your Home Care Agency Web Site?  

4 Ways to Improve Your Online Content Marketing

  • Have a Strategy 

  • Post Consistently

  • Provide Quality Content Relevent to Your Customer 

  • Investment in the Tools, Time, and People Needed for Your Campaing to Succeed

These days, most folks know they need to have a website, that SEO is important, and blogging is something that they should do.  But with so much else to focus on to operate your business and to maintain a robust sales pipeline, content marketing can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. I would suggest that creating, implementing, and measuring your online content plan, though it does require some time, can often pay big dividends to your business with relatively little effort. 

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In other news, Ankota has partnered with a new company called Triple Aim Technologies, that helps home care and home health agencies achieve the Triple Aim.  Click here to learn more about the Triple Aim and download a free whitepaper by clicking here:  "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model".  

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, December 2015 Newsletter

The 10 Most Prescribed Drugs in America: A Home Care Primer

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 27, 2015 12:21:06 PM

 In non-medical home care, whether it be private duty or programs like Medicaid, we don't get too involved directly in health care matters and instead focus on activities of daily living (ADLs).  In some agencies, this is changing and people are realizing that paraprofessional care providers can play a key role in helping the people they care for to avoid preventable hospitalizations.

Forward-Thinking Home Care Agencies are Learning More About Healthcare

This is why Ankota has published our white paper Why Care Transitions is the Next Big Thing for Home Care, and also why our friend Ginny Kenyon from Kenyon HomeCare Consulting has created her Aide Academy.

As forward-thinking agency leaders, we need to start brushing up on our healthcare skills.  One key topic that would be much too complicated to tackle in a blog article would be an understanding of prescription medications, but the infographic below from the University of Florida's school of Pharmacology gets us started by providing an overview of the 10 most prescribed medications in the US. The original infographic is available here.

UF-PharmD_MTM-A-Guide-to-the-Top-10-Prescription-Drugs-in-the-US.jpg

How Aides Can Help with Chronic Disease Management

A good way to learn about medications is one disease at a time.  Some of the most common chronic illnesses faced by home care clients are Arthritis, CHF (congestive health failure), COPD (chronic obstrictive pulmonary disease), Dementia, Depression,  and Diabetes.  By learning, for example, about CHF you are also likely to learn about several medications like Lisinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide (more commonly called HCTZ) and Lasix. As the country moves more towards bundled payments, health systems and health plans will be looking for home care partners to help manage care.  Will your agency be ready?

You can learn more about the role of home care in managing care transitions in Ankota's free white paper "Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals"  Please download by clicking 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

The New York Times Shares "Home Care 101" with its Readers

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 23, 2015 2:19:01 PM

I think of the New York Times as a serious news source that generally teaches me things that I don't know.  By contrast, I think of home care as being something that everyone understands, but I guess I'm wrong...  The New York Times recently published a piece entitled "Learning the Unfamiliar Language of Home Care."  Reading this article didn't teach me new things, but it did remind me that not everyone understands home care, and when their loved one is in need of additional care, they might need a crash course.  

Here are some of the key concepts presented in the article:101.jpg

  • Many elderly people would prefer to stay in their homes than go to a nursing home or other institutional form of care

  • Of those who need help, many won't admit it because they fear losing independence and/or don't want to be a burden on their families

  • Home care has many names like caregiving and non-medical In-home services (they didn't mention private duty).

  • They provide examples of care services such s help with toileting, dressing, eating and shopping (but they never refer specifically to Activities of Daily Living).

  • They talk about the desire to keep people in their own homes for as long as possible and the cost savings of this as compared to some other alternatives.

  • They refer to home health as being able to provide medical services covered by Medicare

  • They quote that average hourly rate at $20 with discounts for live-in

  • They give a lot of examples of the mental anguish that families go through

This is a case where I'd highly encourage you to read the full article because it provides the view of someone learning about home care for the first time, and this likely describes most of your customers.

For some other home care best practices, take a look at our white paper, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  

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, December 2015 Newsletter

10 Reasons to Provide Advanced Chronic Disease Education

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 19, 2015 4:23:49 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).

When it comes to training employees, there’s no better way to create an elite homecare staff than with chronic disease education for aides. This advanced education goes far beyond simple traditional employee or caregiver training. With chronic disease education, your aides receive the knowledge and experience required to differentiate your organization launching you toward greater homecare success.Chronic disease education

Benefits of Chronic Disease Education to Your Bottom Line

There are numerous programs from which to choose for employee training. But if you want your organization to succeed beyond your wildest expectations, then you need more than just training. You need in-depth education.

Here’s how providing advanced chronic disease education for your aides saves money, boosts profits, and generally improves your bottom line.

  1. Increases client satisfaction by providing a specific level of care designed for each diagnosis, leading to repeat business and more referrals.

  2. Improves employee retention by providing a career ladder and opportunities for growth. This, in turn, saves money by reducing turnover.

  3. Reduces rehospitalizations as a result of more knowledgeable aides who are better able to distinguish between serious warning signs and normal symptoms.

  4. Provides the chance to advertise and offer unique services, which are essential with the rise of chronic diseases.

  5. Gives you an edge over the competition because your staff is trained to provide specific services others can’t provide.

  6. Enhances your reputation within the community, leading to an influx of new clients.

  7. Prevents legal penalties by ensuring aides manage client care correctly and efficiently.

  8. Betters professional referral relationships and leads to an increase in referrals from these sources.

  9. Reduces the cost of training because there are no lecturers to prepare or travel expenses to pay.

  10. Online education stays up-to-date, current and easily accessible by your caregivers.

Choosing the Best Chronic Disease Education

You’ve made the decision to give chronic disease education a try. Now what? How do you choose the right program for your organization?First, consider your learners. Your aides are adults who work full time, in addition to having family and community obligations. Studies show that adults learn differently than younger students, so consider what adult learning principles are used when choosing an employee education program. For the best return on investment, choose education that is:

  • Convenient for learners

  • Relatable to real client care situations

  • Allows for independent self paced study

  • Cost effective for both employees and your agency

When you offer online education that enables aides to learn as their schedules allow, complete at their own pace, and affords elite status, they’re more likely to excel.With online chronic disease education, your aides can study from the comfort of their own homes or in-between taking care of clients. They have the ability to learn at the tempo that works best for them, without taking away from their everyday responsibilities.

What Aide University Offers

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Aide University, students learn everything they need to provide top-notch, five-star chronic disease care to your clients. This program teaches aides how to recognize red flags, report condition changes before hospitalization is needed, and specific care options for chronic conditions. Aide University is the only online education program of its kind, so don’t hesitate to contact us get started today!

10 REASONS TO PROVIDE ADVANCED CHRONIC DISEASE EDUCATION 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

How Bob Villa's Winterizing Tips Can Help Your Home Care Agency

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 16, 2015 2:22:28 PM

Bob VillaWe all love Bob Villa formerly of "This Old House."  I just came across a great article on Bob's website entitled 11 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget.  Whether or not you consider this to be relevant to your home care agency as outlined below, you should read this article for yourself and see if there are some easy things you can do to winterize your own home.

Inexpensive Ways to Winterize

Among Bob's 11 easy and inexpensive suggestions, explained as a slide show, are the following:

  • Run ceiling fans in the other direction (to push heat down)

  • Put draft guards under drafty doors such as the door to the attic or basement.

  • Use Weatherstrip Tape around drafty window or door casings

  • Install a programmable thermostat

  • Get your gutters cleaned

Why Might This Matter to Home Care?

Carpenter womanSeveral of the successful home care agencies we work with offer home improvement services to their clients.  This might be a way to differentiate your agency and increase profits.  A recipe to try out would be as follows:

  1. Meet with some handy folks in your area and see if they'd like to work with you to grow your business and theirs.

  2. Prepare an inexpensive offering for a home winterizing inspection to your clients.  Maybe even do it for free since the session is likely to uncover a list of paid items that would benefit the client.

  3. In addition to your clients, send the offer out to your prospects.  This differentiation might win you the business.

  4. Send it out to the clients that you didn't win (either because they chose a competitor or decided not to proceed with home care).  They may not be happy with their previous decision

  5. Do the billing for the services with your other billing (to keep things simple for the client and their family members)

  6. If it goes well, think about expanding.  Many of your clients can likely use grab bars, ramps or other home repairs

For some other home care best practices, take a look at our white paper, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  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, December 2015 Newsletter

A Word to the Home Care Industry about Breast Cancer

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 11, 2015 8:49:45 AM

Breast Cancer Awareness RibbonLast month there was a lot of breast cancer awareness pink on display, but even though the pink is gone, it's not too late to get yourself screened for breast cancer, and to recommend the same for your caregivers 40 and over.  As described in this New York Times article entitled Why the Annual Mammogram Matters, the US breast cancer survival rate is almost 90% and this is attributed to early detection via mammograms and improved treatment options.The bottom line is that by detecting breast cancer early, there's an excellent survival rate.  Many tumors detected early can be treated or removed easily.  You make be asking what a guy who makes home care software would know about this topic, but I actually do know a lot based on the experiences of my sister and my wife.

  • My sister Amy is a breast cancer survivor.  She blogs about her experience at http://amy.growingbolder.com/

  • My wife Tracy leads engineering for Hologic.  Hologic's breast cancer detection machines are a cut above the competition.  Instead of taking a straight X-Ray, Hologic's "Genius" machines are able to build a 3D model of your breast, leading to a > 40% better chance of accurate detection.

Hologic logo

To learn more, here's a link to a very comprehensive report by the American Cancer Society. If you're not already subscribed to the Ankota blog, you can subscribe on the upper right hand side of this page.  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

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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 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 Steps to Building and Maintaining Home Care Referral Sources

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 9, 2015 12:35:20 PM

Today’s guest post is from Max Gottlieb, the content manager for Senior Planning. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors or the disabled and specializes in long term care—mainly finding and arranging care services, transitioning people into senior living facilities, and applying for state and federal benefits.  

Building and Maintaining Referrals 

Referal Ankota Home Care BlogIf you want to increase the amount of referrals coming into your home health business, then building and maintaining a referral source network is crucial. Building a strong network won’t happen overnight, but with the right amount of patience and hard work you can have a steady stream of referrals. Each business has specifics, but I’ll list five universal tips below.  

Make it Personal

This to me is the most important and most frequently overlooked strategy. Many people have referrals from hospitals or doctor’s offices, but don’t personally know the doctors, caseworkers, or social workers that are making the referral. What many people forget is that referrals are relationships. You need to know who is referring to you—not just the name of the hospital, doctor’s office, center, agency, etc. Nurturing a personal relationship will provide you with many more referrals in the future while showing the person that you’re a trustworthy resource.

Communicate Regularly With Referral Partners

Regular communication is key, but avoid the habit of always seeking a referral when you’re speaking to a referral source. Find ways to talk to the referral source about topics other than what your business does. Find some resources that may benefit them or their clients. Many times, doctors are extremely rushed and are unable to thoroughly discuss all available options with their older patients. Offer free advice, education, and advocacy so your referral partner will begin to see you as aid their patients can rely on. Not only does this alleviate some work for them (something anybody is thankful for), but this also establishes credibility, which is immensely important in the long run.

Measure and Track Referral Sources

If you want to see an increase in your referral volume then you need to have an idea of your current referral trends. Who in your network is referring and are the numbers remaining constant, increasing, or decreasing? Without keeping track, it becomes nearly impossible to measure the effectiveness of your outreach efforts. It doesn’t make sense to exert a ton of effort and time on sources who are not effective, so follow these four steps:

  • Look back at the last 12 months and pinpoint the source for each referral you’ve received.

  • Count the total number of referrals per source.

  • Examine and document any frequency trends.

  • Adjust your game plan. Step up your effort with some sources while easing up on the less recurrent ones.

Join Associations Related to Your Target Group

Networking Group_Ankota Home Care BlogJoining an association has obvious benefits. Associations and groups provide new contacts, social opportunities, up-to-date industry news, seminars, and even speaking opportunities. Speaking in front of a group of other likeminded individuals can show your expertise and increase your clout. Joining an association, however, isn’t the end-all be-all, but rather the first step in creating new relationships. You still need to follow up with people you meet because a one-time interaction isn’t enough to solidify your business in people’s minds. 

Make it a Two-Way Street

This is another simple point that many people forget. Remember that in order to receive referrals, you also have to occasionally give referrals. Keeping things even strengthens your relationships and influences people to refer to you again. Making yourself an asset is the best way to convince people to contact you frequently.  

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We really appreciate Max’s post and thank him for the solid advice that benefits us all!  If you have an area where you can share some expertise and would like to be a guest blogger, please let us know.  For some other home care best practices, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  

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

3 Ways Home Care Startups Can Improve via Agile Development Principles

Posted by Jed Hammel on Nov 5, 2015 9:06:09 AM

There is a growing industry of Success and Time Management gurus who promote different paths to success in life and business.  One well-known author/blogger/speaker is Tim Ferris, author of "The Four Hour Work Week."  As the title suggests, this book offers ways to streamline your work time/practices down to the bare mininum.  The hope is to create and maintain a successful business(es) on only 4 hours of work per week.  Another well known author/blogger/speaker is Gary Vanyerchuk.  "Gary V" believes that success requires constant "hustle," and that working 15+ hours a day as well as the weekend is what is usually needed to acheive success in business.

Whether it be Ferris' 4 hour work week, Gary V's 70+ hour work week (and I'd guess these two would share more beliefs about success than the above may make it seem), or one of the many other success principle systems out there, one idea I've noticed is pretty constant with them:

Getting specific and granular with time management/project goals in order to create efficient systems is a big Key to success.

The trick is to get clear on your goals, create the most efficient system you can to reach those goals, and remain flexible to adjust as needed when the situation or goals change.

The above may have illicited a collective "Duh" from a lot of folks reading it, since this may be both obvious and easier said than done in practice.  What makes this ideal harder to achieve in a startup or small business environment is that not only is "a different job description or two a day" mentality becoming more the norm, oftentimes, it is what is required to make the business thrive.  This mentality can be hard for folks to adopt who have worked in a corporate or structured work environment in the past.  That said, there are a few simple things folks can do to create and maintain systems when growing a business.

By way of example, Ankota Co-Founder, Ken Accardi, gives an insightful interview with TechTarget surrounding Agile vs. Waterfall (click the link for a rundown) software development that also serves as primer for what may be the future of workplace thinking.  I encourage you to read the entire interview, but as a start, here are a few key takeaways:

1.)   If you put a good person in a bad process, the process is going to win every time.

2.)  Be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, it could be the difference-maker in your businesses success.

3.)  Startups and small businesses are built on relationships, but to scale up, effecient proccesses and systems need to be in place for growth. 

If you do read the full interview, let us know what you think and if you have any success principles you'd like to share! 

Achieving the Triple Aim in Home Care

Ankota has partnered with a new company called Triple Aim Technologies, that helps home care and home health agencies achieve the Triple Aim.  Click here to learn more about the Triple Aim and download a free whitepaper by clicking here:  "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model".  

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, agile development, triple aim technologies

What are the Types of Nurses? A Home Care Primer

Posted by Ken Accardi on Nov 2, 2015 8:55:50 AM

Nurses are wonderful and in the editorial opinion of this blog, nurses and home care workers will be the key to health care reform in the US.  Our belief is that by having nurses oversee the care of our large population living with multiple chronic illnesses, that we can achieve better patient satisfaction and lower healthcare costs to the broadest population (also known as achieving "The Triple Aim").

Not All Nurses are Created Equal

Understanding the types of nursing degrees and certifications is helpful in determining how to best provide care solutions.  So, if for example, you're a home care agency working to provide a care transition program with your aides, and you're looking to partner with the nursing services of a hospital or home health agency, you might be asked what kind of nurse you need on your team.  The infographic below, from Maryville University does a nice job explaining the types of nurses.  To see the original posting , click here.  You can learn more about online nursing education programs at Maryville University by clicking here.

Maryland University_Nurse Infographic _Ankota Home Care blog

Achieving the Triple Aim in Home Care

Ankota has partnered with a new company called Triple Aim Technologies, that helps home care and home health agencies achieve the Triple Aim.  You can learn more and download a free whitepaper by clicking here:  "How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model".  

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

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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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