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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Ken Accardi

Recent Posts

4 Questions to Help Build and Grow Your Home Care Agency

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 26, 2017 10:52:00 AM

light-bulb-1002783_640.jpgI recenly read an interesting article entitled, "4 Questions You Must Answer to Develop Your Marketing Strategy," by  of Duct Tape Marketing.  I thought I'd share it here because I feel that it is a helpful read for our readers who are starting, growing, and/or marketing a variety of home care and home health businesses.  And ultimately, for anyone starting or marketing a business of any kind.

The piece offers a series of questions and steps to consider for folks to get granular on their business' approach and to bring clarity to how they can best approach marketing.  I've found that being as specific as possible about who you are as a business, what customers you're serving, and how you set yourself apart from your competition are important keys to understand in order to optimize your business.  Hopefully, you'll find it as interesting as I did!  

Jantsch's article is a quick read but it is full of great insights, so I strongly suggest that you read the entire aricle here.  That said, as way to pique your interest, here are the four questions that he suggests you consider:

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Who Specifically are You Best Suited to Serve?

What Differentiates You in a Remarkable and Unique Way?

How do You Get Clients Their Promised Results?

For folks who have are currently running a business or marketing one, are their any other questions you'd suggest others should consider?  For folks just starting out with their business, did these questions (and the article itself) help bring clarity to your approach?  Home Care is an ever-evolving industry and along with that evolution comes new Best Practices.  Sharing ideas, learning from each other's experiences, continuing our education, and reexamining our approach to our business are vital success.  So please feel free to comment below in our comment section! 

On a note related to the topic of learning new things:  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, Care Transitions

How Can Home Care Combat Isolation?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 24, 2017 11:34:00 AM

 winter-hike isolation.jpgIf you're reading this blog article, chances are that you're not isolated. You likely work in the home care services industry (or perhaps you're exploring the industry) and you have people in your life who you interact with. I'm sure that you've been alone at times, and perhaps you've been lonely now and again, but the likelihood is that you've never felt alone in the world and as if the next human was miles away and unreachable.

Sadly, that's not the case for everyone. Isolation is estimated to effect 8 million Americans according to the AARP-powered website connect2affect.org.

Isolation is a Health Epidemic

In our generally connected and not isolated worlds we might consider isolation to be a feeling, a temporary state, or a behavioral health condition at best. The AARP site above claims that the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. This is serious stuff!

How Can Home Care Help with Isolation?

Just by virtue of being a home care client, the people who we care for are less likely to experience isolation, but knowing some of the causes and responses can make use better care providers. Here's some good data:

  • Transportation challenges: If we can provide transportation services directly or connect our clients to community provided ride services, our home care agency will be providing a big service.

  • Health Issues: Our care staff can work with clients on fall prevention and keep them on their care regimens.

  • Life Transitions and Loss: Often an event like a fall is what transitions a person from independence to requiring care. Another example is loss of a job or loss of a life partner. We can get our seniors connected to support groups and other community programs.

  • Ageism and Discrimination: Home care can treat our clients as wise and respected elders. We can learn life lessons from them and eliminate any forms of ageism or discrimination that we might see.

  • Making Connections: It's likely that within our own care community we have multiple clients feeling isolated. Perhaps we can connect them so that they can talk on the phone.

Shifting Our Mindset from Home Care Services to Managed Care Partners

A lot of us think of our companies as in home care service providers and we are, but what if we started thinking ourselves instead as providers of managed care in the home. Population health is only partially related to healthcare. Other factors like poverty, nutrition, and issues like isolation play a huge role in society's health and this is an area where our agencies can make a big difference. Plus, we believe that as our population grows, that the health system will increasingly recognize and embrace the benefits of home care. The future is bright!

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, Care Transitions

Hire A Startup Expert for Your New Home Care Agency Or You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 19, 2017 10:05:00 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).

If you’re considering starting a home care business or expanding the services you currently offer, there’s a lot you’ll want to know first. It’s often challenging to find the right resources and prepare for everything that’s likely to come your way.

You have two options when facing a business expansion or a startup. The first is to go it alone, digging deep until you’ve learned what you need to know. The second option is to work with a startup expert, someone who can guide you every step of the way and help you avoid costly errors.

startup expertWhat Happens Without a Startup Expert?

By choosing the first of these two options, you’re setting yourself up for a long, hard journey.

Let’s take a look at 10 issues that are probable when embarking on a homecare startup or expansion without the help of a qualified consultant.

1. Not Enough Market Research

When you don’t conduct enough—or the right kind of—research, you miss information that’s vital to your success. You may end up with services already saturating your market. Or worse, in a community where there aren’t enough potential clients needing your specific offerings.

2. Little to No Initial Revenue

Starting any business and turning a profit is always a challenge, but even more so for the homecare industry. Organizations must obtain their license, accreditation, or certification before they can charge clients or insurance companies for services rendered.

This process can take upwards of a year in some states. If you aren’t prepared with a cash reserve, your agency could quickly go under.

3. Regulatory Roadblocks

From OSHA and HIPPA to federal, state and accreditation requirements, there’s a lot to master before your homecare organization is up and running. Do you have the time and knowledge necessary to get to the finish line without the help of a startup expert?

4. Insufficient Resources

You will need lots of resources! These include employees, policy and procedure manuals, computer software, and education. Neglecting to prepare with adequate resources before launching is the fastest way to a disastrous startup.

5. Incomplete Processes

When embarking on a startup or business expansion, entrepreneurs must hone their processes for maximum efficiency. Staff orientation, client admissions, emergency preparedness, and quality improvement are areas that require specific attention and detailed processes.

6. Poor Referral Practices

Referrals, whether professional or client-based, are the lifeline of any homecare organization. The first step to starting or growing your agency is knowing where to look for referral sources. Without that, it’s nearly impossible to obtain a steady stream of new clients.

7. Inadequate Marketing Plan

Marketing is perhaps the most difficult task associated with being an entrepreneur. The wrong tactics can end up costing you significant time and money, without garnering any worthwhile results.

8. Insufficient Tools for New Business Lines

Maybe you’ve already stepped foot into the home care industry but now wish to expand your reach by offering a new business line or opening an additional location.

Do you have the ability required to plan, troubleshoot, communicate, and troubleshoot this new venture while keeping your current operation in growth mode?

9. Lack of Support

Support groups are essential to any startup founder’s success (and sanity). If you decide not to work with a startup expert, you won’t know where to turn. State and national industry associations and small business groups are examples of support resources.

Succeeding With a Startup Expert

If this all seems overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. Every entrepreneur has felt the startup stress at one point or another.

The good news is that hiring a startup expert will save you from most, if not all, of these issues. With the right consultant, expect to reap the following benefits:

  • Guidance on choosing a location and the right services
  • Help with obtaining the best resources for your specific agency type
  • Direction on how to obtain licensing and accreditation in your state
  • An effective plan for business growth, funds management, and in-house processes

Work with a startup expert at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to avoid hating yourself because of the time and money lost by trying to do everything alone. Let our professionals point you toward success right from the beginning!

Contact us or call 206-721-5091 today for your 30 minute free consultation!

This article entitled, HIRE A STARTUP EXPERT NOW OR YOU'LL HATE YOURSELF LATER, first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent 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

Ankota's Book of the Year: Being Mortal by Dr. Atul Gawande

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 17, 2017 1:01:00 PM

 Here at Ankota, now and again we read a book that we think is important for our readers and that we'd like to share.  For this blog, our recommended book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Dr. Atul Gawande.

We've written about Dr. Gawande before. His bookThe Checklist Manifesto, shows how care check lists (an approach our caregivers use everyday) are now being embraced by physicians and greatly improving medical outcomes. We've also written about several of Dr. Gawande's articles in the New Yorker Magazine.

Being Mortal: A Doctor's Perspective on End of Life

"Being Mortal" shares a doctor's perspective on end-of-life matters. It is especially compelling because it talks about what doctors and medicine can't do. You can buy it in many places, but you can find it on Amazon.com here.

Being Mortal - Atul Gawande.jpg

I can't do any justice to the compelling nature of the book in this short review, but I promise that you'll be moved. I'm also hoping that reading this book will open your eyes to working more closely with the healthcare world. 

Here are a few key themes in the book:

  • Setting the tone, Dr. Gawande shares, "I never imagined that among the most meaningful experiences I'd have as a doctor - and, really, as a human - would come from helping others deal with what medicine cannot do as well as what it can."

  • There is a lot of discussion about the trade-off between ending life at home with palliative care as compared to prolonging life in the hospital.

  • He talks about the tough role of geriatricians, who deal with a population convinced that everyone can be ageless. But then he talks about how good geriatric physicians can help their patients live longer and happier lives.

  • The most compelling, but hardest to take parts of the book are the discussions of terminal cases. They're tough to read, but worth doing it.

Why This Book Matters to Home Care

As we train our home care clients on how to enter their client schedules we generally put in a couple of clients together, then use the teach-back method to have our new customer try it on their own. Then we leave them to put in the rest of their schedules and meet several days later to see how things went and what questions arose. It's typical in one of these sessions to hear "Mr. Clements passed...  Can you help us take him off the schedule." Even though we never knew Mr. Clements, this always effects us... I'll think back about who Mr. Clements was and who he left behind. Candidly, I'm happy that we don't deal with this sad aspect of agency leadership on a regular basis. "Being Mortal" can help us all learn more about end-of-life.

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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

Top 5 Reasons Home Health & Hospice Agencies Need Accreditation

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 12, 2017 11:52:02 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).

As our industry continues towards a pay-for-performance model, success and survival is dependant on quality patient care.

Importance of AccreditationAccreditation

Regardless of the focus of your agency, whether home health or hospice, here are the top 5 reasons to begin accreditation.

1. Shifting Payment Models

This industry is shifting to a pay-for-performance models of payment. This means patient outcomes and patient satisfaction become crucial for reimbursement.

Accreditation helps you improve quality measures which increases payment for services.

2. Insurance Contracts

Many insurance providers refuse contracting to Medicare home health agencies without accreditation. Accreditation proves to payers your agency is serious about quality patient care.

Think of it this way: Payers for services expect to pay less for emergency and hospital care with provision of quality home care. It’s in their best interest—and yours—to focus on care quality.

3. Stricter Measures

Accreditation requires a higher level of quality standards than being a medicare provider only.

Accreditation requires implementation and evaluation of quality measures in provision of clinical care. The process allows agencies to meet and exceed quality standards of care.

4. Improved Culture

Accreditation requires organizational assessment which determine strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Agencies engaged in this process promote team approach and atmosphere for employees.

Additionally, agency evaluation to maintain accreditation allows the collaborative environment within your agency is ongoing.

5. Agency Growth

When you focus on improving patient care, employee participation, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction; growth is a natural result.

Satisfied patients are more likely to recommend services to others and use services from you in the future. Satisfied Payers refer to agencies providing quality outcomes that saves money.

How Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Helps

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we’ve been there, done that when it comes to accreditation. No matter your agency type, we guide you toward accreditation.

Our experts provide professional, effective organizational assessments that give you guidance to successful accreditation. Reach out today for your free consultation.

This article entitled, TOP 5 REASONS HOME HEALTH & HOSPICE AGENCIES NEED ACCREDIDATION, first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent 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

99 Recruiting Ideas for Hiring Great Caregivers

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 10, 2017 10:10:00 AM

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 around 100 creative ideas to improve your agency recruiting efforts.  Enjoy his post (below) and feel free to leave a comment!

caregiver-recruiting-ideas.jpgDisclaimer: These creative and innovative recruiting ideas range from the common to the off-the-wall! Some are serious, some are humorous – but all are intended to get you thinking!

Recruiting New Applicants

  1. Use alternate locations for registration.

  2. Offer larger than normal referral bonus for difficult-to-fill positions.

  3. Staff a mall kiosk to apply for work. Give gift certificate after 40 or 80 hours of work.

  4. Hire a full-time recruiter.

  5. When applicant turns down an offer, ask if they know someone else who might be interested.

  6. Systematically call applicants to ask for referrals.

  7. Ask for referrals from restaurants, retail stores, hair salons. Give them company information to hand out. If they refer someone, give the applicant a certificate for free service at the business.

  8. Publicize your training; better market your training abilities.

  9. Work with companies who are laying off – offer to help displaced workers.

  10. Scenario recruiting – setup a scenario, ask people to refer the people that fit the scenario (e.g. workers from other services, someone just laid off, someone going on summer break, etc.)

  11. On-campus job fair – after 40 hours of work, donate $25 to school fund – $50 if school refers person to us.

  12. Form alliance with human resources department to recruit applicants they can not use. If client later has a need for the applicant at their company and you haven’t hired him permanently, give the applicant back (second chance).

  13. On-hold (phone) advertising.

  14. Direct recruit during your lunch hour.

  15. Sponsor a break during a night course – provide free refreshments.

  16. Use “free training”, if you provide it, in your classified ads.

  17. Align with outplacement or resume services.

  18. Recruit from 3rd party training schools.

  19. Meet instructors of classes at local schools, continuing education, etc.

  20. Advertise online.

  21. Ads for college interns – Get experience with ABC Home Care.

  22. Staff a booth or table in a grocery store for registration.

  23. Make the application process more fun.

  24. Lunch is on you – if applicants register on lunch break, buy them lunch.

  25. Borrow space at a university, or set up a table in the student union.

  26. Ask other companies for creative and innovative recruiting ideas.

  27. Go to employment and job fairs.

  28. Hold a marketing event / open house.

  29. Speak at a class at community education or continuing education.

  30. Ask your clients for referrals.

  31. Open branch offices.

  32. Advertise in your newsletters.

  33. Shop your competitors to get creative recruitment ideas.

  34. Instruct a class at community education / continuing education.

  35. Guest lecture at a local college.

  36. Raise your minimum referral bonus amount.

  37. Get testimonials from your caregivers.

  38. Place a coupon in the paper – give something to the applicant.

  39. Write articles / columns in the school newspapers.

  40. Use space at the Department of Labor.

  41. List available positions with the Department of Labor.

  42. Present a high school career day.

  43. Contact local libraries.

  44. Recruit from GED classes.

  45. Work with the Board of Education.

  46. Advertise at theaters on-screen.

  47. Offer remote testing.

  48. Advertise on radio.

  49. Get on your local morning news program.

  50. Consider an infomercial.

  51. Produce an ABC Home Care video.

  52. Advertise on city buses.

  53. Go downtown and hand out $10 coupons to register.

  54. Advertise on back of supermarket register tapes.

  55. Hand out brochures in front of your competitors’ offices.

  56. Have outside sales people display magnetic signs on their car doors.

  57. ABC Home Care bumper stickers – Honk if You’re a Caregiver.

  58. Give away phone calling cards to your caregivers.

  59. ABC Home Care “Classifieds” – mail ad listings to local colleges & training centers to be displayed.

Applicant Retention and Reactivation

  1. Keep your best caregivers engaged.

  2. Offer better pay to your caregivers – pay higher than your competition.

  3. Don’t wait for the caregiver to end an assignment to plan for the next.

  4. Hand out referral bonuses; take picture for your newsletter.

  5. In-office bulletin board with photos of your caregivers in action “ABC Home Care on the Job.”

  6. Offer free seminars on getting a job, preparing a resume, etc.

  7. Automate “Come Back & See Us. We want you back” cards. Mail with W-2’s.

  8. Have a “Where are you now?” reunion. Share success stories. Have former caregivers bring a friend, etc.

  9. Implement an incentive program to pay for medical benefits. Ideas: work a minimum number of hours, or refer a minimum number of people.

  10. Must work 28 hours per week to stay on the plan. After 90 days eligible for the program; after 6 months you pay part.

  11. Send monthly relationship builders to highly qualified caregivers – post cards, notes, birthday cards, etc.

  12. Call to reactivate highly skilled caregivers.

  13. Provide discounts on daycare.

  14. Hold a special drawing for new applicants.

  15. Develop a process for sending postcard, “Haven’t heard from you lately, are you still interested?”

  16. Provide bonuses to long-term caregivers.

  17. Provide more recognition for caregivers.

  18. Offer a scale for increased vacation time – earn more than one week.

  19. Offer an ABC Home Care day care service.

  20. Hold an ABC Home Care picnic for caregivers.

  21. Hold a happy hour / cocktail party downtown.

  22. Hold a family fun night.

  23. Develop and give away an ABC Home Care Cookbook.

  24. Hold an ABC Home Care mini golf outing.

  25. Offer an ABC Home Care Visa card.

Improving Skill Level of Current Applicants

  1. Put a process in place for automatic follow-up after caregivers are interviewed. Encourage them to work for you.

  2. Get lists of needs from clients, and train around these needs.

  3. Gather evidence that training pays off for your caregivers – higher pay, better support, etc.

  4. Quantify what improved skills mean to your caregivers.

  5. Include an article in each issue of your newsletter discussing need for specific abilities.

  6. Provide coupons to your applicants for free training.

  7. Provide training on a specific skill.

  8. Offer additional training room hours, after business hours.

  9. Ask the trainees why they are training.

  10. Training party – hold a training class followed by a barbecue.

Other Caregiver Recruitment Ideas…

  1. After scheduling interviews, sell specific openings to create a sense of urgency.

  2. Confirm scheduled interviews.

  3. Follow up to no shows – ask them why they didn’t show.

  4. Double-book interviews.

  5. Give caregivers a bonus for client referrals – tickets, training, free lunch, free training.

This article, originally titled, RECRUITING IDEAS FOR HIRING CAREGIVERS, 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, Care Transitions, Ginny Kenyon

3 Advances in Medical Care to Look for in the Future

Posted by Ken Accardi on Apr 5, 2017 10:16:00 AM

 Today's guest post is by Kara Masterson.  Kara is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.  Her article outlines some advances to look for in medical care in the future.  Enjoy Kara's article and feel free to comment below!

pulse-trace-163708_640.jpgMedicine is advancing in ways previously unseen. Hospitals can have x-rays reviewed in minutes from trained professionals for little money. Small offices can accept new insurance in under an hour. And this is only the beginning. In the coming years patients in foreign lands will be able to get immediate help when in trouble, and ER providers will be able to see full medical records with no hassle. This will lead to better patient care, especially for those who live far from major hospitals. Here are just a few things we can expect in coming years to help evolve the medical

More Online Access

Patients need doctors to know about their health in a hurry when they are at the ER, but those same patients need to know if the doctor is licensed. The coming standard in the medical field is that WebServicesID medical license info will be available at the touch of a screen. This is great for doctors and patients alike, because the result will be the assurance that sick patients prone to worry will be cared for. Just as a doctor needs to see how the patient is, patients need to know about the doctors.

Better Patient Care

Not only will the above noted development lead to better patient care, but so will the coming changes in new doctors. Duke Medical School noted recently that they have been stressing the need for empathy of its students. While doctors of the past may have been taught to disassociate themselves from the plight of a patient, today's latest doctors are learning to relate. This will result in doctors considering how the patients and their families will feel about pending news, and the need to inform them in full so that they can accept the information they are hearing.

Rural Access to Urban Centers

Beyond the face-to-face care patients will receive is the care from a distance. Many people need medical care but do not want to live in a city or suburban setting. While hands-on care cannot be replaced, patients with access to the Internet will be able to meet with a doctor or nurse virtually. One's heart rate and blood pressure can be taken through new apps, and there are more developments in the works.

Just as advances are taking place in business and science, patient care is changing, too. Between access to files and profiles online, better provisions of care, and more choices for patients it is looking like health care may be very different in just 10 years.

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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

10 Tips for Communicating Health Issues via AARP

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 29, 2017 10:25:00 AM

Ankota's marketing director, Jed Hammel doesn't come from the home care world but instead is an expert is social media marketing, filmmaking, event planning and more.  His post today is a recap of an AARP article with tips for getting the most out of your next visit to the doctor.  We hope you enjoy this article! 

medical stethoscope.jpgI recently had my yearly physical which is probably why this article from AARP, "How to Talk So Your Doctor Will Listen" by Amy Patural, resonated with me.  Though I am not in AARP's demographic (yet), I found the article relevent to my experiences and I will be using the 10 tips in order to improve my interactions with doctors and other medical personnel in the future.  

I'm guessing is that the article would be relevent and helpful to all sorts of folks.  For Ankota's blog audience, my thought is that these tips are useful both for medical personnel in gaining insight into the challenges that lay-people face when comunicating with learned medical individuals.  Beyond that, I feel that these tips may be a good resource for caregivers to share with the clients or patients under their care in order to improve the client's interactions with doctors and others in the medical field.

I suggest that you read the entire article, but here's a taste of what the full article covers: 

  • Make a Human Connection
  • Stay on Message
  • Tell the Whole truth
  • Rehearse Before You Go
  • Don't Accept 'It's Just Aging'
  • Don't Save Questions for the End
  • Explain What You Can Afford
  • Have That End-of-Life Discussion
  • Don't Go It Alone
  • Don't be Afraid to Make a Switch

Sometimes we can forget how much of an expert in our field we are that we forget what it's like to not be as learned as we may be.  But when we are in a position of a not being an expert on a topic or situation, most of us know how frustrating that can be.   So, if you have any suggestions or tips that you'd add to the list then feel free to comment below! 

On the topic of learning, Ankota has a new White Paper available, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Healthcare at Home".  Please click the link 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, April 2017 Newsletter

One of the Multi $M funded Tech-Enabled Home Care Start-ups Shuts Down

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 22, 2017 1:09:00 PM

electronic-devices-514184_640.jpgIt was announced in the past few weeks that one of the tech-enabled home care start-ups, HomeHero, closed its doors. For a quick background, Silicon Valley has become interested in Home Care recently and funded three very well publicized start-ups called Honor, Home Team, and HomeHero. Each of these companies started with more than $20M in funding. You can read some previous articles at these links:

Good News and Bad News

On the one hand, as someone who started or grew a home care business without a lot of venture capital, it should be heartening to know that you're still here and HomeHero is not. That's some good news!

The bad news is that our industry faces challenges that can ONLY be solved with better technology. In the coming years the number of Americans over 80 will triple, the pool of available caregivers will decrease, and minimum wage is likely to rise. Technology is the only answer that will make your home care agency viable in the next generation. 

Some Specifics about HomeHero

In my opinion, HomeHero was the most "Uber-like" of the tech-enabled start-ups that we discussed. Let me explain:

  • From the passenger perspective, Uber is an app to connect you with drivers that have been vetted by Uber for having a nice newish car and a clean driving record. HomeHero prided themselves on the vetting.

  • Uber pays the drivers most of the money. HomeHero tried to do the same.

  • Uber ran into the issue of drivers wanting to be compensated as employees. Uber faced this too but since it doesn't affect all of their geographies, it only maimed them and didn't kill them. In the case of HomeHero, it did kill them.

A Tribute to Kyle Hill

I've read several articles from people I respect about the HomeHero situation, and like most articles about business failure, the articles strongly criticize Kyle Hill, the HomeHero CEO. My perspective is different! I've had the privilege of talking with Kyle and advising him on a TED talk. I've also learned a lot from him about what he was trying to do with HomeHero and how he ran his company. I respect and admire him a great deal, and I'm confident that we'll see him again.

Next Generation Home Care

Above, where I talked about the "bad news," I said that there are inevitable changes in our industry that will ultimately cause every agency that doesn't embrace technology to fail. In order to help make sure that your agency isn't one of them, we offer you our latest free eBook, "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Healthcare at Home" Just click the link or the image below to download it.

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, April 2017 Newsletter

Creating Unparalleled Aide Care With Advanced Education

Posted by Ken Accardi on Mar 20, 2017 10:42:00 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 those of you who follow Kenyon Connects regularly, know that Kenyon HomeCare Consulting has developed Chronic Disease University. This online platform targets aides and currently offers advanced education with 9 college level courses focusing on care of those with chronic disease and conditions. Why would I spend so much time and money to create this tool you ask? The simple answer is because health care is heading in a new and different direction. Third party payers such as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance as well as individuals paying out of pocket are demanding value for the money spent.

Business Education on the Mechanism of Golden Gears. Business Education - Illustration with Glow Effect and Lens Flare. Business Education - Concept. Business Education - Industrial Design. 3D.

The Value of Educating Today’s Aides

What value do you contribute by continuing to staff cases with aides who are ill prepared to care for clients diagnosed with major health care issues? Today, aides not nurses provide “bedside” care equating to hours passed with these fragile clients. Therefore, these aides need to receive education on how to care for, recognize and understand their client’s diseases and conditions. How can we expect aides to report to their nurse managers if they are unable to recognize symptoms and meaningful relay what they are seeing?

My Real Life Example

Let me give you one of my real life examples. Back in the mid 1970’s, I was working for the Visiting Nurses Service, the only home health agency at the time. Most aides were hired as they came in and applied. There were no requirements for basic education, no criminal background checks and no reference checks, as there is now. Consequently, the caliber of aides varied widely.

One of the aides I worked with often was Rose. She had minimal education and was slow to recognize patient issues. Aides were assigned two hour shifts and responsible for personal care, housekeeping and meal preparation as reflected in the care plans. During unannounced supervisory visits, I frequently found Rose eating in front of the television watching her favorite soap opera. Consequently, the patient went without personal care, the house was a mess and no food was prepared.

One day I got a call from Rose about one of our patients, I will call him Carl. Rose said Carl didn’t feel well. When I asked her how she knew “he doesn’t feel well” she replied, “Because he says he doesn’t feel good.” I asked if she was looking at him and she replied yes. So I asked, “What does he look like?” She said, “He looks like he doesn’t feel good.” Needless to say I quickly reorganized my day and went to visit Carl.

A Nursing Visit To Carl

Upon arrival, the first thing I noted was Carl’s fruity breath. Although a brittle diabetic, he had been in good control for the last two months. I checked his blood sugar and found a level of 580. Additionally in the fridge, I found three filled insulin syringes containing his weekend insulin doses. While assessing Carl, he admitted to being on a friend’s boat all weekend partying and drinking, forgetting his insulin. This necessitated a call to his physician getting an order for short acting insulin. After picking the insulin up from the pharmacy, I returned to his home to administer the insulin. I gave Carl instructions to check his blood sugar in an hour, call me the results so I could report to the physician. An hour later his blood sugar was under 200 and his primary physician gave the order for me to visit the next day to reassess.

The Difference of Advanced Disease Education for Aides  

This situation would have been much different if Rose was educated to recognize symptom changes in a diabetic patient. She would be able to recognize red flags and call me to report Carl’s elevated blood sugar, fruity breath, and unused filled syringes. My immediate response would be a call to his physician getting orders for short acting insulin with dosage. Saving time, Rose could pick up the insulin so I could administer it as soon as I arrived.  All these tasks would be accomplished in an hour instead of the three it took.  Additionally, Rose could reinforce with Carl past teaching on the dangers of missing his daily insulin and the harmful effects of drinking for a diabetic.

Client/patient care must be a team effort. To be a member of the team, aides must receive disease education. They must be able to recognize symptom red flags and understand what and when to report to their supervisor. To become the agency of choice for referral sources, advanced disease training for aides is paramount.

Agency Rewards of Aide Advanced Disease Education

Think of the sales advantage when informing professionals at your local cardiac clinic that 20 of your 120 aides are certified in Congested Heart Failure (CHF).  And then assuring them that these aides will be caring for all their patients. Think of the value your agency will contribute to the entire health care system. Unnecessary hospitalizations and ER visits will be avoided reducing health care costs. Think of the value you will bring as a partner in newly forming ACOs, Medical Homes and other groups. Think of the marketing and sales advantage over your competition!

Get started today! Provide your aides with advanced disease training. Give the comprehensive in-depth knowledge and skills needed to deliver five-star chronic disease care. Discover Aide University, the only online continuing education program of its kind.

Call 206-721-5091 or contact us to schedule an appointment for more information.

This article entitled, CREATING UNPARALLELED AIDE CARE WITH ADVANCED EDUCATION first appeared in Kenyon HomeCare Consulting blog.

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One of Ankota's recent 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

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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, Ginny Kenyon

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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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