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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

The Future of Transportation and Home Health

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 29, 2017 9:29:12 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).

Transportation

Self-Driving Cars?

One of the big costs and barriers for home health agencies is transportation.  How many times have we all lost money on unfilled shifts or visits because of car problems?  At the CAHSAH conference last month we heard that some agencies are solving the problem by using Uber.  While it does cost the agency a bit more, it is more than made up by not having the entire shift lost because the aide or nurse had car problems.

With the projection that in the very near future most of us will have self-driven cars, this will be less of a problem especially if as projected. An article I read that posted on theguardian website provides some insight into this impending innovative approach to transportation. We will not own the cars. Instead, there will be a monthly bill to pay for the use of a car that will be summoned by cell phone to pick us up and drop us off.  No more missed shifts or visits and for those of you with teenagers, no more speeding tickets or totaled cars, as the cars all have sensors that prevent crashes as well as maintain the speed limits and are not driven by the younger drivers.

This article entitled, "The Future of Transportation and Home Health", first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's whitepapers, entitled "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies" 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

7_habits_effective_home_care.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, Ginny Kenyon, July 2017 Newsletter

3 Home Care Population Health Lessons from the Dutch

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 24, 2017 4:09:27 PM

windmill-384622_640.jpgI always found "the Dutch" confusing... If we're talking about "the Spanish," the country is called Spain, the language is Spanish, and the people are either called "the Spanish" or Spaniards. It all makes sense.  By contrast, the Dutch people are from the country sometimes referred to as the Netherlands and other times referred to as Holland. It's all quite confusing...

Nonetheless, the Dutch have come up with an interesting "neighborhood care model" that I learned about in this article.

Neighborhood Care Model

In summary, the neighborhood care model in the Netherlands works as follows:

  • There is a self-managed team of nurses providing the care

  • Rather than only providing the nursing portion of the services, the nurses are performing all needed home care tasks related to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

  • A team of about 10 nurses is able to manage the care needs for a town of around 10,000 people. Of course only a small number of residents need care.

  • On average a nurse sees 4 patients per day

  • One factor that makes this model possible is that all citizens have the same government provided insurance, so the nurses can collaborate easily with the associated physicians and don't have the burden of marketing and sales.

What Can Home Care in the US learn from This Dutch Model?

At Ankota, we focus on the "next generation of home care" and a big aspect of that is driven by demographics. Most importantly, the population of Americans over 80 (a good indicator for the home care market size) will triple in the next 20 years. We believe that, by necessity, the US model will need to change to a home care model where caregivers are providing services for multiple care recipients in a neighborhood model. 

Here are some specific points to ponder and items we can learn from the Dutch model:

  1. The care focuses on a community and embraces "population health" (which we don't seem to be embracing here in the US as explained in this article about The Triple Aim).
  2. Today in the US model, there are multiple visits to the home by specialists (nurse, aide, etc.) whereas in this Dutch model one person (a nurse) is doing all of the services. We believe in this model but don't think we'll have enough nurses and will instead want a model where home health aides are providing the care (and doing more med related tasks like loading pill-boxes under the training and direction of nurses)
  3. We further believe that by having a caregiver provide services to multiple proximate care recipients instead of the current norm of seeing one care recipient per day, that we'll be able to pay caregivers a living wage with benefits.

Next Generation Home Care from Ankota

When your agency is ready to explore readiness for the next generation of home care including growth in the elderly population, moves to managed care delivery models, and optimizing care for population health, you'll be ready to meet with Ankota. If that time is now, please contact us.

Contact Us!

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, August 2017 Newsletter

5 Finance Tips for Healthcare Administrators

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 19, 2017 8:17:00 PM

Today's guest post comes from Dixie Somers, a freelance writer from Arizona. Please enjoy Dixie's article.

To operate a successful medical institution, healthcare administrators are required to keep accurate and meticulous financial records. However, economic challenges often make it harder for healthcare administrators to effectively meet the hospitals financial obligations. The following tips can assist a healthcare administrator in effectively operating a health center.

Have Clear Guidelines

Healthcare administrators should advise the hospital staff to be keen on checking the patients’ insurance eligibility before each visit. While hospitals have different policies on evaluating their patients’ insurance, it is advisable to make sure that a patient’s insurance information is always updated. Furthermore, you can ensure that non-insured patients are advised to always have a form of payment when coming for their appointment. Make certain that all the financial policies are communicated clearly to the patients so that they are not caught off guard.

Updated Records

In a busy medical establishment, it is easy to overlook some minor details in the records. For instance, medical equipment that is no longer in use should be removed from the hospital and also clearly indicated on the records to avoid paying unnecessary insurance. Thankfully, electronic records are much easier to manage than they used to be.

Staff Turnover

Those with a PhD in nursing know that staff turnover can have negative impact on a medical institution. It takes a lot of resources and time to train new employees. Therefore, it is better to address underlying issues within the organization and seek effective solutions.

Easy Payment

To efficiently operate a healthcare center, you must adopt various forms of payment methods. For instance, patients should have the option of using credit, debit, or cash payments for their appointment. To avoid delays and inconveniences, make sure that the medical facility accommodates variety forms of payment methods. Patients will opt to go an institution that has no limitations in terms of payment methods. The payment options can be communicated to the patients prior to their appointment.

5 Finance Tips for Healthcare Administrators (1).jpgAvoid Outstanding Balances

For a healthcare to operate smoothly, there has to be sufficient cash flow. In most cases, the major cause of limited or inadequate cash flow is unpaid patient fees. For this reason, it is important to ensure that your patients’ insurance premiums are fully paid. In case of outstanding balances, you can give the patients a grace period of a few days to clear he debt. Most importantly, communicate to the patients the importance of paying up their medical insurance.

Conclusion

As a healthcare administrator, you should ensure that you clearly communicate the hospitals financial policies to all the relevant parties. Perhaps the most important policy is financial regulations. It is important for the staff of the hospital to understand the financial policies so that they can clearly communicate it to the patients.

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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

2 Question to Ask to Improve Your Home Care Website

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 17, 2017 3:12:00 PM

Today's article is by Jason Chagnon from Providentia Marketing.  Jason and Providentia's goals are to help to drive client referrals and attract caregivers to your agency.  In today's blog, he offers an introduction on how to improve your SEO, your website performance, and ultimately, how to improve your marketing.  Enjoy his post (below) and feel free to leave a comment!

backlinks-for-home-care-websites.jpgYour home care website is responsive. Fast. Secure. And delivers an amazing user experience.

What else should you be doing to ensure it generates solid leads and attracts more qualified clients?

You need a plan – for content and backlinks, that is. In this final installment of our SEO in 2017 post series, we’ll explain why an ongoing content plan and a plan for obtaining relevant backlinks are critical to your home care website’s ongoing SEO.

Missed the first two posts in this series? Read them here:

SEO in 2017: A Checklist for Your Home Care Firm

SEO in 2017: Boost Website Rankings and Conversions with Speed, Security & UX

Part 3: You Need a Plan

Well, two plans, actually, if you want to rank well with Google:

Do You Have an Ongoing Content Plan?

Back in 2011, Google made a core algorithm change to reward websites that were regularly providing fresh and relevant content. Not only is fresh content seen as a plus by search engines, it tells humans you’re alive and well.

Every home care agency should have a long-term content plan in mind based on specific goals. Do you need more clients or do you need more caregivers? If you need more clients, are you creating content that appeals to those in need of care? If you need more caregivers, are you writing information that is helpful to job seekers?

For ongoing SEO, content creation is key to your survival. Your content is an asset, and the best way to get people started down the sales funnel.

Do You Have a Plan to Obtain Backlinks from Niche-Relevant Websites?

Backlinks are, and will continue to be, a core part of Google’s algorithm. It’s the one thing that cannot be easily manipulated, but it’s perhaps the most powerful ranking signal.

Not all backlinks are created equal. Obtaining links from irrelevant nameless blogs may not do anything for your rankings. In fact, low-quality links may actually harm your ability to rank well. The real movement happens when you obtain quality backlinks from authoritative, niche-relevant websites. There are many ways to obtain high-quality backlinks legitimately, but manual outreach and custom content creation is still the most effective approach. Please note, this post isn’t meant to be a comprehensive approach for link building. It’s simply intended to highlight the importance of having a backlink outreach strategy within your ongoing SEO plan.

Final Thoughts for 2017

As Google becomes more sophisticated in its ranking criteria, so does the job of an SEO expert. Building a home care website for both search engines and humans can be a challenge if you don’t have the proper experience. At Providentia Marketing, we can guide you through the process of building a modern and engaging website that leads to conversions. Contact us today and let’s talk about your goals!

This article, originally titled, "SEO in 2017: Create a Plan for a Long-Term, High Performing Website (part 3 of 3)" first appeared in the Providentia Marketing blog.

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One of Ankota's recent wBlueprint Healthcare Cover.pnghitepapers, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Homecare at Home"  is available for download.  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

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, August 2017 Newsletter

Homes of the Future - Home Care Ready

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 16, 2017 11:12:59 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).

Universal Homes

The Universal Homes Of The Future

I am hearing more and more about Universal homes these days and it is beginning to appear in home health related news. “Universal design, also called barrier-free design, focuses on making the house safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, or stature. True aging in place!

When thinking of home design for disabilities, most of us think immediately of ramps and grab bars when we think of accessible housing, but universal design goes far beyond that while remaining largely invisible to the casual observer. In fact, applying universal design concepts such as wider doors and hallways makes a house feel more spacious.”

As Fred Astaire said, “Old age is like everything else,”. “To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” These same principles apply to home design: Plan for all stages of life when remodeling or building, even if you are in perfect health now. You never know what life may throw your way, be it be a minor mishap (breaking your leg) or something more serious (being confined to a wheelchair)”

The most important aspect of Universal Design is flexibility. Remember that technologies are always evolving and your lifestyle is similarly inclined to change at a moment’s notice. Universal Design allows your home to transition with you as life happens rather than forcing you to work around frustrating barriers.

So, what will the home of the future look like?  The following is just a beginning of what I am seeing architects begin to incorporate into home designs:

  • There will be limited use of stairs,

  • lighting systems will be automatic, coming on when someone enters a space and turn off when they leave [motion sensors]

  • large windows, French doors, placed throughout the house to maximize natural lighting. Additionally, the use of skylights and solar tubes to bring in natural light

  • Curbless showers, grab bars designed to look like part of the feature not like an addition, towel and robe hooks next to the shower, recessed storage in the shower for soap, shampoo and conditioner

  • Faucets throughout the house that works with touch or movement

  • Levered handles on doors

  • Soft slide cabinet and drawers that require little effort to open and close

  • Slip resistant floors

  • Cabinets that sit on the counter space for easy access

  • Increased space between areas especially in the kitchen that accommodate a wheelchair or a walker

These are a few of the elements that we will be seeing in all home designs and remodels.  

This article entitled, "The Homes Of The Now And The Future; The Universal Home", first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's whitepapers, entitled "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Private Duty Home Care Agencies" 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

7_habits_effective_home_care.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, Ginny Kenyon, August 2017 Newsletter

3 Tips for Homecare Agency to Improve Website Rankings and Conversions

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 10, 2017 1:12:00 PM

Today's article is by Jason Chagnon from Providentia Marketing.  Jason and Providentia's goals are to help to drive client referrals and attract caregivers to your agency.  In today's blog, he offers an introduction on how to improve your SEO, your website performance, and ultimately, how to improve your marketing.  Enjoy his post (below) and feel free to leave a comment!

home-care-website-speed.jpgWant your home care website to rank better, generate more leads and attract more qualified candidates? Then this series of posts on SEO is a must-read! In our first installment, we explained how responsive design and AMP technology make both Google and your site visitors happy.Today, we’ll explain three more factors which dramatically impact your home care website’s SEO and overall effectiveness as a marketing engine.

Speed, Security and UX Matter.

Is your home care website fast?

Here are some facts about website speed that will surprise you about the behavior of your fellow humans.

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Now consider this…

  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

If the customer is always right, then most of us have a lot of work to do. Building a fast website starts with a solid framework. You can always optimize an old site to make it faster, but that’s like putting a turbo on an old Civic. The fastest cars (Ferrari and Lamborghini) are built from the ground up with performance in mind. To get the most out of your website, consider the following:

  • Do you have fast web hosting?

  • Do you have proper caching implemented?

  • Did you minify JavaScript and CSS files?

  • Do you utilize a CDN (Content Delivery Network)?

  • Are your images properly compressed?

  • Does the website use clean code with lightweight plugins?

Is your website secure with SSL?

In 2014, Google encouraged webmasters to use SSL encryption on their websites to improve data security. Google’s initiative to create a secure web prompted them to provide slight boosts to SSL compliant websites within the search results. In 2016, Google told webmasters that unencrypted sites would soon be marked as “unsafe” by displaying a red “x” over a padlock in the Chrome browser. Although this has not officially been rolled out yet, it’s on Google’s timeline. Many consider this to be a form of shaming for unencrypted websites, but the truth of the matter is, HTTP is not secure, and HTTPS is secure. If you are not utilizing SSL encryption, you’re two years late to the party, and this should be at the top of your list for 2017.

Is it built with user experience in mind?

The ultimate goal of your website should be to drive new business. This means conversions should be the main priority. Each page should be designed with user intent in mind. For example, ask yourself, “If a user looking for home care services lands on this page, will they find what they are looking for?” If the answer is no, you have two choices:

  • Fix the page, so the answer is yes.

  • Optimize the page using different terms that are more relevant to the page’s content.

With user engagement slowly becoming a core part of Google’s algorithm, gone are the days of keyword stuffing to rank. Your website must offer value to the user and answer their query. It’s that simple. Of course, keyword optimization is still a large part of whether a page can “stick” for a query. But more weight should be given to the following items:

  • Encouraging users to stay on your website

  • Encouraging users to visit more pages on your site

  • Encourage users to contact you

Keep in mind that Google will not be a paying customer. It’s the humans that find you through Google will want to do business with you!

This article, originally titled, "SEO in 2017: Boost Website Rankings and Conversions with Speed, Security & UX (part 2 of 3)" first appeared in the Providentia Marketing blog.

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One of Ankota's recent wBlueprint Healthcare Cover.pnghitepapers, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Homecare at Home"  is available for download.  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

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

5 Ways Gardening Can Improve Your Health

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jul 5, 2017 11:05:00 AM

Jane Anderson is a person who loves to write an article on various topics such as health, gardening, lawn care etc. He spends his time doing things that make him feel happy like gardening. He believes yard is an important part of the house. For more information visit yardday.com

Gardening.jpgThere’s no doubt gardening can refresh your mind and spirit. Digging the soil, planting flowers and vegetables and watering them are an instant mood-booster. Your day looks brighter when you see your plants greeting you a pleasant morning.

But aside from the mental and emotional benefits that gardening provides, did you know that it has a positive effect on your health as well?

Yes. Gardening doesn’t just improve your surroundings but also your health as well.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety, if not managed property, can bring harm not just to your mental and emotional state but to your physical health as well. It can lead to eating and sleep disorder as well as conditions such as hyperacidity, hypertension, heart disease and a lot more.

Spending time doing lawn care at the end of a crazy day can lower your stress and anxiety. Having some fresh air and the physical activity required in gardening are an instant mood-booster.

A study conducted where participants went through a stressful activity and then asked to spend 30 minutes gardening while the others were asked to spend 30 minutes reading afterwards showed some interesting results. Both activities reduced stress, but those participants who spent gardening had a bigger impact.

Improves Mental Health

Humans have always found healing and tranquility in nature. Gardening is not only a good physical activity but it also has a positive effect in our mental health.

Just like yoga and meditation, gardening gives us the opportunity to think and focus clearly. It can also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s one study shows. Other research finds that gardening is a good activity for patients with dementia and improves their overall wellbeing.

Improves Sleep

Spending time mending your garden every day can improve your quality of sleep.

The physical activity required in gardening can tire you out and when you’re tired, you get knocked out earlier. Digging, planting, watering and cutting dried leaves are no easy job. Even Samson would need to get some rest after spending some time in the garden. Since it’s a good form of exercise, you will get better sleep as a result.

Another reason why gardening improves your quality of sleep is its ability to reduce stress. When you’re calm and at peace, you will have no trouble going to the dreamland.

Keeps Your Mind Sharp

Sure, brain exercises will keep your mind sharp. Spending time answering mathematical problems will harness your brain’s capacity.

Gardening, on the other hand, offers a sweet alternative way of keeping your mind sharp. It improves your brain health and provides significant stimulation for your brain. According to Huffington Post, gardening improves your mental clarity as well as promotes learning, problem solving and sensory awareness.

Garden fanatics noticed an improved concentration and ability to recover from a mental fatigue. That’s because gardening requires brain stimulation as you have to plan what to plant and schedule gardening tasks and activities.

Promotes Good Nutrition

Gardening is not just a fun physical activity but it also helps you with choosing healthier food choices. 

It’s easy to prepare meals that are healthy and good for the body when you have vegetables in your garden. When you grow your own food, good nutrition follows as it helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. You appreciate and savor the food more because you know how much effort you took to get them to the table.

Start developing a green thumb now and learn the habit of gardening. You’re not just helping Mother Earth through gardening but you’re also helping yourself to become healthier. Plant your first flower or vegetable now and live a happier and longer life.

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If you are looking for some reading material, Ankota's latest eBook, Blueprint for the Next Generation of Healthcare at Home is available by clicking the previous link or the picture below.

Blueprint Healthcare Cover.png

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

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, August 2017 Newsletter

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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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