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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

How To Solve Retention Problems With Advanced Education

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 30, 2016 10:34:44 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 a serious crisis going on in our nation regarding patient care. Due to an aging Baby Boomer generation, there is an increase of people needing long-term healthcare options. We’re also experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers, often a result of poor employee retention. In this article, we’ll discuss why this retention problem exists, its effect on patient care, and how you can combat it.

Causes & Effects of the Retention Challengeretention

Nurses, aides, and other healthcare workers are a vital part of the patient care equation. Without qualified and dedicated caregivers, patients fail to receive the level of care they so desperately need. Unfortunately, healthcare employees as a group tend to move around from job to job searching for the perfect career opportunity. Although, what they generally find is:

  • Poor benefits

  • Lack of respect

  • Low wages

  • Few career advancement opportunities

  • Physical and mental demands

Employee retention in the homecare arena is struggling and affects more than the business’s bottom line. It influences the kind of care your patients receive, their quality of life and their health. Continuing retention difficulties will also disrupt your organizational culture and sense of team.

When caregivers stay in the same place long-term, they build strong patient relationships and trust. This means they get to know their patients’ needs and preferences, making life more comfortable for those under their care. But when homecare employees come and go, no one is given the chance to develop relationships. This results in distress, worry, frustration and often discomfort for your patients and their families.

Solving the Retention Challenge

What can homecare managers or owners do to combat the problem of poor employee retention? Start by giving appreciation and respect to your workers on a regular basis, and then consider implementing the following:

While some of these things appear costly at first, they are well worth the price. This is especially evident when you consider the data showing the cost of replacing just one employee costs you between $3,500 and $6,000.

Advanced Education and the Retention Challenge

If resources are too scarce for your organization to increase pay or offer health insurance benefits, consider less expensive options. One opportunity and a proven way to encourage staff to remain in your employ without breaking the bank, is advanced education.

With advanced education, you not only improve the level of training employees receive but you also provide career advancement and growth possibilities. This alone is often enough to improve retention. Advanced education also results in a more encouraging agency culture, improves staff satisfaction and boosts employee confidence with knowledge. So with this one step, you’re knocking out four ways to solve your retention challenge.

Advanced Education and Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

When you’re ready to work on solving the employee retention problem facing today’s healthcare industry, you’ll want to seriously consider providing an advanced education program.

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting’s Aide University, homecare workers receive the in-depth knowledge necessary for providing five-star patient care. With this training, employees also attain valuable skills that allow for career advancement. Reach out to us today to learn more.

This article, HOW TO SOLVE RETENTION PROBLEMS WITH ADVANCED EDUCATION first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent 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 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

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 Software Geek Explains How Software Customization Should Work

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 22, 2016 3:32:53 PM

The Home Care Software Geek posts in this blog don't talk about Home Care Nursing Software, Private Duty Telephony, DME Delivery Software, Care Transitions 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 with bigger companies like MicrosoftGoogle and Apple.

home_care_software_geek.pngI grew up in my career at GE Healthcare and although I developed and delivered software, we weren't a software company (at least not the part I worked in).  Instead, the software I developed initially ran inside the X-Ray machines and we pretty much had one set of software for all of the customers. 

When I left GE I joined a software company that made software for businesses (similar to what Ankota does but not in the healthcare space).  This was in an earlier era when it wasn't the norm to host software in the cloud as it is done today.  Instead the software was deployed "on-premise" meaning that each customer had their own copy.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing (for example, the apps on your phone all have their own copy), but frankly, the way that company did customization was really bad... and I vowed never to do it that way again.  What they did was to make a custom copy of all the software for that customer, and then a team would make the changes needed by that customer to get them what they needed.  The problems with this approach was that since they had a custom version they couldn't get upgrades and fixes easily, and essentially they were "stuck."

How Customization Should Work

In Ankota's home care software, we have one and only one centralized version of the software. There are three "flavors" of customizations: 1) the customization is a totally separate feature, 2) the customization is requires the software to work one way for some customers and another way for other customers, and 3) the proposed customization seems like a better way than the way that we built it in the first way and should be made available to all customers.  Here's how these scenarios are handled:

  1. Brand New Feature: When the customization is something brand new this is the easiest case. We build it and make it a "configurable option" and then we only configure it for the one customer who needs it.

  2. Some customers need it work a different way than others: This gets trickier, but we isolate the part that needs to be different and then we implement two versions of that small piece.  The trick is that we make it "configurable" so that we can set whether each customer will get the "old way" or the new way and we make the appropriate setting.

  3. Improvement that will benefit everyone: This is especially tricky.  The first thing that we do is make a decision as to whether this change is small and intuitive and we think that the customers will hardly notice the change and will like it better.  If this is the case, we will just release it (after thorough testing of course).  If instead, we think that the customers will like it better but might need some training or at a minimum won't want to be surprised by the change, we first deploy it into our customer accessible staging environment, we notify customers about it, ask them to try it out, offer to go through it with them if they'd like, and then deploy it when they're comfortable.

The Software Should Get Better All the Time and You Should Hardly Notice

In a nutshell, if your software vendor is doing it right, your software should get better all the time and you should hardly notice (except for in a good way).

Signs That Your Software Isn't Built Right

Here are the signs that your software isn't developed in the right way to enable customization and upgrades:

  • Annual Releases or similar: If your vendor does "annual releases" or something similar like a release every six months or more then they are likely on the old model where the code is all connected and one small change in one area of the code might break something else.  For this reason, they do big releases and from your perspective, there will be a big disruptive change wither lots of differences from what you're used to and you will likely lose productivity for a while

  • Come to our User's Conference to discuss desired changes: This indicates that they can't make changes quickly and have likely made decisions about what will be in their next release (next year) already so they're trying to divert your attention away from your immediate need.

  • Prohibitively Expensive Prices for Changes: Some of the vendors charge $225/hour or more for any customized changes.  By setting these high prices, they're trying to put up a barrier and make it your problem (or hopefully talk you into living without the change).  Note that any software company will need to pay their software developers and testers to customize for you so it's reasonable that they charge a fee (so long as it's not outlandish).

You Need Next Generation Software!

Next generation software is flexible and comes from vendors who are excited to meet your needs. The releases are more like your experience from Google and Amazon.  They improve all the time and you hardly notice, but if you think back to the past you realize how much better it's gotten.

To learn more about next generation home care software, please contact us.

Contact Ankota

 

 

Ankota_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_Home_Care_Agencies

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 Health Aide Software, Home Care Best Practices, Care Transitions, September 2016 Newsletter

Creating Meaningful Activities for Home Care Clients with Dementia

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 22, 2016 10:00:00 AM

 

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are tough for everyone involved, including the home care client who is experiencing memory loss as well as their family members and their care providers.  The symptoms of Dementia and most notably the memory loss are often the reason that home care is required.  At this stage in the individuals life they need help with activities of daily living like eating and hygiene.  But to enhance their lives, a great home care agency will also provide them with opportunities for meaningful activities that can bring them joy or make their days special.

Meaningful activities give people a sense of purpose or joy, and finding out the right activities that will Memories.jpgbring joy to a particular client may be tricky because everyone is motivated by different things.

To find the meaningful activities for an individual a great start is to learn about their past hobbies and interests.  A great way to start is to see if there are any photo albums in the house where you can get an idea for activities that interest the client. I heard an Alzheimer's expert speak at a conference and share that a former homemaker may get great joy from folding towels, or a former engineer might really enjoy building things with legos.  These are also activities that they can potentially do over and over again.

Another article from ComForCare gave an example of a client who really enjoyed baseball and although he can no longer throw a ball it brings him great joy to go for a couple innings of a little league game or to have a baseball story read to them.

We had a recent guest blog about gardening as a meaningful activity for some seniors.  This can be a way to give them joy and also get them some time in the sun.

Referring back to the ComForCare article, they shared the following:

 

Meaningful activities can be important for seniors with dementia. These types of activities provide positive sensory, intellectual, cognitive and social stimulation. According to various research, they can also enhance relationships and may stimulate memory and use of language. Activities may also help reduce challenging behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

 

Focusing on Memory Care
May Be a Way to Differentiate Your Home Care Agency

In the private pay sector of home care, it's often hard for a client and their family members to choose one agency over another so they are looking for you to stand out in some way.  I've heard many stories of why an agency was picked.  In the case of my aunt Myrna, she chose an agency because the owner grew up in the same neighborhood that she did and took the time to share neighborhood stories with her.  As a result of that she perceived that his agency would provide better care.  Maybe memory care can be your niche.  If my mom had memory issues, this would likely be a top selection criteria for me.  If memory care isn't your thing, then make sure that you have a different way of standing out!

For more Best Practices, you can download a free eBook Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  Just click the link or the picture to download.

If you're interested in scheduling a live demo of our software solutions, just click the button below:

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.

 

 

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

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

3 Hurdles Home Care Must Jump to Win Care Transition Referrals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 16, 2016 11:58:26 AM

Care Coordination Concepts, Inc. provides practical approaches to help non-medical home care providers enhance market position by focusing on delivering health maintenance value to clients and their health system providers.  Cathy Meckes was co-founder and president of a licensed and Joint Commission accredited provider of private, insurance and waiver program funded in-home skilled nursing, nurse care coordination and non-skilled supportive services.  Cathy has written todays blog (and the white paper below).  Enjoy!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAlwAAAAJDk2Zjc5ZWZjLWFjNTgtNDIwMC1hNDY4LTEzYjNhYjA3MTYxYQ.jpgRecent focus on transitional care has non-medical home care providers excited.  Maybe as providers consider how to ensure smooth transitions home from acute and long-term care, they will begin to understand and recognize (finally!) the role non-medical (supportive) services can play.  Maybe (finally!) providers will recognize that non-medical in-home care can cost effectively help ensure all the important aspects of transitional care, including medication management, follow-up appointments, red flag alerts and accurate information about how the patient is functioning back at home.Maybe…but maybe not.  Here are three reasons why:

 

Focus Shift Needed

The healthcare system should be focused on supporting individuals in the phase “Health Maintenance”—where in-home supportive care can make a huge impact—but the phase “Acute Care” has traditionally consumed the lion’s share of available resources. Transitional care is simply the connector between the most expensive and well-supported health system phase—acute care—and the phase we’re actually all seeking (but not adequately supporting)—health maintenance.  If providers don’t understand the role that non-medical care plays in the critically important but least supported phase of the system—health maintenance—what makes us think providers will recognize that role for transitional care?

Lack of a Clear Standard

There isn’t a uniform well-established and recognized transitional care process. Although hospital and physician groups frequently draw from research-based transitional care models for program components, the actual processes vary significantly in terms of provider leadership, other provider involvement, specific activities and communication/documentation systems.  That makes it harder for a non-medical provider to fill a standardized role, or offer a standardized service.  And because transitional care connects a patient to home, additional variables beyond those attached to the patient’s specific diagnosis and health condition—issues like home safety, cleanliness, nutritional support, transportation, personhurdles_in_home_care_1.jpgal hygiene, family support, etc.—make standardized protocols less effective.

Medicare Mindset

Some providers and even more patients think “If Medicare doesn’t pay for it then it’s not important.” Medicare does not pay for supportive services, not because they aren’t important, but because they are beyond the scope of the Medicare mission.  Fortunately, payment reforms that are moving providers toward risk and performance-based payments should underscore for providers that how long and how successfully a patient lives at home has a huge impact on successful health outcomes, defined by the triple aim goals of effective and efficient care that meets patient expectations.

So, What’s a Non-Medical Home Care Provider to Do?

  • Start by adopting health maintenance as your end goal.

  • Analyze the services you currently provide and those you could develop in light of how and what they contribute to health maintenance.

  • Consider how your services could be targeted more directly towards a contribution to improving and maintaining health, and how you can communicate that directly to the providers responsible for the patient’s long-term health.

  • Document and communicate how both the direct services you provide and the quality of the care oversight built into your processes contributes to the maintenance of good health and the avoidance of costly acute care.

The in-home supportive care providers who earn recognition and referrals for a role in long-term health maintenance will find their services in demand for transitional care.

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Cathy has written a recent whitepaper that we think you'll finf useful, entitled "Non-Medical Supportive Services: Establishing a Role in a Heath-Maintenance-Focused System" that you can download for free by clicking the link.

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 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, September 2016 Newsletter

A New Dream For The Home Health Care Plan

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 13, 2016 9:48:13 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).

For years I have dreamed of a day when home health nurses and therapists would be in charge of their own services. Doctors would be a part of the team but not the “directors” of the care plan. To me, it has never made sense that a physician who knows little about home health services is required to sign off on all orders.

I agree physicians or nurse practitioners must confirm the working diagnosis and the medications. But in home health the professional clinician completes the assessment, defines problems in terms of their discipline and establishes the care plan, not the physician. A physician directing the home health plan of care makes as much sense as asking a plumber to sign off on and be in charge of the electrician, the sheet rocker, and the roofer when building a house. Physicians have repeatedly objected to this requirement and now with the addition of face to face documentation, their objections are even more stringent.care plan

Current Care Plan Paradigm

So how did we get here? When and why is there a paradigm that the physician directs the care plan for other providers? Therapists have individual practices not requiring physician oversight, but not nurses. The origins of physician control over nursing practice started in the early part of the last century. It was determined that the independent practice of nurses was the single biggest threat to the financial future of physicians. As a result, the American Medical Association succeed in getting congress to pass legislation requiring nurses to work under the direction of a physician. Unfortunately for nurses, doctors, consumers and payers, this has not always been the best practice.

Many physicians signing the care plan developed by clinicians tell us the plans make little sense to them. They sign what is required so patients can get the care they need. Is it any wonder the plans make no sense to them? They aren’t medical plans of care, but nursing and therapy plans written in the language of each discipline. Is it time for a change? My idea is for physicians to continue to sign the medical components – the diagnosis, medications, and required diagnostic tests – while disciplines write specific plans which are signed by individual disciplines.

Think of the money spent trying to support this false paradigm! Think of all the hours spent by home health staff gathering a physician signature on the 485 and verbal orders. Think of the patients denied services because physician didn’t want to be deal with the paperwork burden required for home health services.

Future Care Plan Paradigm

So what could the future look like?  I dream of a home health future where physicians are part of the team and work with other disciplines to achieve desired patient identified goals. Each discipline is responsible for their part of the care plan and nursing is responsible for coordinating the overall plan. Long ago, Medicare recognized home health nurses as the patient coordinator or case manager negating a change in current practice.

The physician confirms the working diagnosis and medications electronically and each discipline signs and dates their plans. Compliance with the home health conditions of participation would continue to be the home health clinician’s responsibility. In my new world, the requirement that the physician certify home bound status will go away.

Homebound Rules Need to Change 

If the intent of physicians certifying homebound status was to prevent fraud, it has not been successful. The clinician in the home doing the assessment is the best person to determine homebound status. However there is second serious issue with the homebound rule. It interferes with the ability to provide the care needed to return clients to full capacity and independence.

Much of home health’s role is assisting patients to make lifestyle changes, stabilize their condition and prevent further exacerbations which may lead to more expensive care. To achieve these goals, particularly for those with chronic diseases and co-morbidities, time is needed beyond a 60 day episode. But, because of the homebound requirement, the patient is just beginning their needed changes when they are discharged. Evidence and experience proves it takes as long as 6 months to successfully integrate a lifestyle change. We are finally seeing a glimmer of hope as CMS begins to recognize that those with chronic diseases need longer periods of care and support beyond the current homebound phase.

Also, the 485 must be revised to reflect these new changes. Numerous physicians have complained for years that the 485 makes no sense and provides little useful information. Physicians are asking for patient progress information, response to provided services and any identified medical issues that need their attention. These are not unreasonable requests and as team members are our responsibility to provide. However, this will require a paradigm shift for home health clinicians.

A New Care Plan Dream

I believe returning to an individualized plan of care structured in care plan format is the goal to strive for. Not only will this help the team plan better, but will help those new to home health better understand the care planning process. The current system does not support critical thinking skills and the entire process has become an exercise in checking off boxes.

The system is starting to change from rules of enforcement to becoming outcome focused. This change must emphasize the importance of patients achieving desired goals and outcomes as well as care cost reductions. I believe with these changes, costs will decrease and outcomes improve as well as physician, clinician and patient satisfaction.

It’s time to dream a new dream! These are just a few ideas I see the home health industry needing to achieve true patient centered care. This will allow each team member to fully use their skill set to assist patients in goal achievement. What are your dreams for the future of home health?  Contact Ginny Kenyon at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to discuss or leave a comment below. Together we make a difference!

This article, A NEW DREAM FIR THE HOME HEALTH CARE PLAN first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent 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 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

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, September 2016 Newsletter

Are Your Home Care Sales Reps Focused on What Matters to Clients?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 13, 2016 8:21:17 AM

I grew up in my career at GE Healthcare as a technology guy and I wasn't at all involved in sales.  When I left GE to work in a tech company, my role was in technical sales support meaning that I worked with the sales team and did demos and project scoping and answered technical questions for prospective customers. In observing the sales team I was concerned that they were often focused on the wrong things, but since I was new to the world of sales I presumed that I just didn't understand sales. In hindsight my gut was right.

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I recently came across an article written by Mark Roberge who is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School (HBS) and who also works at HubSpot (the company that Ankota uses for our website, blog and marketing automation).  The article is called Are You Discussing What Your Buyers Want to Discuss? Or What You Want to Discuss? I usually try and provide a link to the original article, but in this case it came to me as an email and I couldn't find it online.  I was however able to find a link to a book review on Mark's book entitled The Sales Acceleration Formula.

Are you discussing what your customers care about?

Mark's article included the graph below that compared what customers want to hear about with what sales people want to talk about.  As you can see, they're not well aligned.  

 

BANT_What_Buyers_Want_vs_What_Salesmen_Sell.png

Back to my first sales experience that I mentioned above, the sales guys focused a lot on a concept called "BANT" which stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing.  The sales meetings mostly focused on the B and the A. "Do they have a budget for this?" and "Who has the authority to buy?" were the main questions.  The one customer focused piece, "need," got the least attention. Then timing was discussed but it wasn't from the customer's perspective and rather was "you need to pull this deal into the quarter."  The picture above shows that the BANT components are the last things that customers are interested in.

How Does This Relate to Home Care Sales?

The data depicted above generally represents B2B (business-to-business) companies who sell their product or services to other companies, but the lessons can be applied to B2C (business-to-consumer) sales as well.  A few key takeaway are as follows:

  • Price is very important to customers:  If you are a low price agency you should highlight this.  If you're a higher priced agency, you need to focus on your differentiation and the added value.

  • Use Stories to explain how your service works: How the product works is listed above as the second most important concern of customers. Rather than walking through your brochure (which is likely not highly differentiated), tell stories of how you have helped similar customers and how it delighted them

  • "Yes We Can" should be your answer to special requests: If you are a private pay agency one great way to differentiate would be the a "yes we can" attitude.  Think of the case of a family member who flew into town when their mom fell and injured her hip. This family member doesn't know how to get services in your area, but you do.  So if they ask if you can install grab bars, or cut the grass, or get the dogs in a kennel, or drive their mom home from the hospital, if you answer "yes we can" (and charge for the service) then you'll be satisfying the customer, making a few extra dollars and maybe even establishing good partnerships with others who will refer to you.

For more Best Practices, you can download a free eBook Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  Just click the link or the picture to download!If you're interested in scheduling a live demo of our software solutions, just click the button below:

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.

 

 

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

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

What Rate Should You Charge for Your Home Care Services?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 6, 2016 11:00:04 AM

One of my current hobbies that will perhaps later be a career is to teach in business school and to mentor start-up businesses.  Earlier this spring, I taught business strategy at the University of Massachusetts.  I'd like to now bring some of the techniques taught in business school to the topic of pricing for your home care services.   

The question of "what rate should I charge?" is an important one for every agency. To answer that question we need to look at two things.  First, we need to look at what competition in your area charges.  Second we need to understand your strategy for creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

What are Competitors Charging in My Area?

There are two resources that we've come across for you to benchmark rates in your area.  

  • Genworth: The first resource is a free website provided by the long term care insurance provider Genworth.  You can access it here. Since they are paying claims they have accurate statistics on the rates that are charged in each geography. Two things you should know about this survey are as follows:

    1. In addition to home care you can see rates for adult day care, assisted living and nursing home care

    2. The math is based on an annual rate where there are 44 hours of care per week over a 52 week year. So in order to find the hourly rate, you need to divide the annual rate by 2,288 (44 hours time 52 weeks). The depicted example is for the Phoenix Arizona area.  By dividing to get the hourly rate, we get a rate of $20 for homemaker and around $21.30 for home health aide services. 

  • Home Care Pulse: There is a private duty benchmark and quality improvement company called Home Care Pulse.  We've featured content from them on our blog many times such as this article.  Their benchmark study, which is available here, breaks down rates by geographic area and also give the low, medium and high rates. 

Where Should I Price Relative to Competition?

dollar-1362244_1920.jpgOnce you understand the pricing in your area, you need to determine where you should price and that pricing should correspond to your strategy.  The easiest explanation I can give for strategy is that it is that way that your business creates and sustains a competitive advantage.  The authority on strategy is a Harvard Business School professor named Michael Porter and he describes four generic strategies based on two dimensions.  The first dimension is whether you  are differentiating via a "low-cost" strategy or "differentiation" strategy. By means of comparison, are you Timex or Rolex?  Second, do you serve the broad market or focus on a narrow market such as memory care or pediatrics? 

Home_Care_Rates_AZ_-_2016.png

Based on Your Strategy, Pick Your Price Point

If you're going to provide a highly differentiated service to the broad market, you should be able to charge on the high end of the range for your area, whereas if you go for low cost then set your pricing that way.  By focusing on a niche you can likely charge a higher rate but you'll have a smaller potential market. There's room for successful companies with any of these strategies, so choose your course and succeed!

For more Best Practices, you can download a free eBook Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  Just click the link or the picture to download!If you're interested in scheduling a live demo of our software solutions, just click the button below:

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.

 

 

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

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

5 Ways Nursing Brings Value to Modern Healthcare

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 2, 2016 10:21:55 AM

Today's guest post is from Anita Ginsburg and offers an interesting perspective on how nursing has changed over the years. Interestingly the age of house calls was dying out 50 years ago but is now back on the rise (and we believe that the future of home care will entail more integrated delivery with nurses, aides, call centers and automation).  Please enjoy Anita's article.

Nursing is a career that has dramatically changed over its long history. Centuries ago, nursing was reserved for women and knowledge was handed down from mother to daughter. Over the last 50 years, the nursing field has experienced a remarkable amount of changes.

Training

Navy_nurses_attending_class_-_1940s.jpgDecades ago, nurses lived at the hospitals in nurse dormitories. They received a majority of their training on-site and hands on. Nurses were to treat doctors with a respect, they were required to stand up when a doctor entered the room. Today, nurses are required to have a degree, and a large majority continue their education. For example, many professionals in the field have a degree in nursing, which offers many opportunities for career advancement. They are able to have specialized areas, such as anesthesia or pediatrics. Nurses play a large role in the medical field.

Technology

16731-a-nurse-giving-a-middle-aged-man-a-vaccination-shot-pv.jpgTechnological advances have made the job of nurses much easier than in prior decades. It has given nurses additional time to devote to patient care. The bulk of the change has been focused on the management of patient records and the tracking of medication. The advances are streamlining the medical field and has allowed patients to be treated by multiple providers. Equipment has changed as well. Bedpans used to be metal and reusable. Syringes were reusable. This means that nurses had to clean them with fire after each use. IV bottles were made of glass and IV bags weren't developed yet. Nurses were responsible for caring for the equipment.

Salaries and Demand for Nurses

The salaries of nurses have changed dramatically in 50 years. While there was a short period of time when the supply of nurses was more than the demand, the demand is on the rise currently. Studies say that this trend will continue, and a shortage of nurses may be expected in the next ten years. As a result, salaries have grown at a surprising rate. Many Registered Nurses can start their career at a comfortable salary range.

Nurse Practitioners

Depending on the state, some nurse practitioners can work independently. This category of nurses grew out of a need for additional doctors. Now, we see physicians shifting a bulk of their patients to their nurse practitioners. They are respected and trusted. More and more nurse practitioners are providing primary care services, and this trend may continue to grow in the coming years.

Demand for Nursing at Home

House calls were typical for doctors and nurses, but that subsided over the years.  Now, the demand for nursing in patients homes is growing rapidly. Many patients and families feel more comfortable with this option, and the demand has greatly increased, and continues to be a need. It offers families independence and peace of mind. Supporting loved ones can become difficult on family members, and nursing at home provides a way for them to get the care they need at a personal level.

Nurses have experienced even more changes, and the field has grown as a whole. Nurses are moving towards an even brighter future as the demand increases. They are the heart of the medical field.

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, home, education and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn't writing. To succeed in the field of nursingtoday, she suggests getting a bachelor degree of science in nursing.

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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.

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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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