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Ankota: Ushering in the Next Generation of Homecare Blog

Ken Accardi

Recent Posts

5 Ways To Help Nursing Staff Avoid Nursing Errors

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Today's guest post is from Tom Moverman. Tom established the Lipsig Bronx Firm with Harry Lipsig and his partners in 1989; The firm’s focus is in personal injury, construction accidents, car accidents, products liability, and medical malpractice. Tom's website is www.lipsigbronx.com.

Patients put an enormous amount of trust in the hands of healthcare workers. Efforts to avoid breaking this trust must be continuously implemented. Nurses are required, both ethically and legally, to treat patients according to the standards of their profession. Unfortunately medical mistakes are most likely the third leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, ten percent of all deaths in America are said to be medical error related. In order to avoid nursing errors, following these standards, as meticulously as possible, is necessary.

Double Check Every Procedure

In a study from the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 68.3 percent of nurses remember making at least two to five errors over the course of their careers. The majority of these errors occurred when a doctor's order form was too difficult to read or illegible. The second major cause of nursing mishaps was distractions from patients, coworkers, or events.

Home Health Nurse

Statistically, the highest rate of nursing errors occurs with prescriptions. Dosage errors are committed at an alarmingly high rate. To prevent these types of errors, nurses need to check medications multiple times before they are administered to patients. If a nurse has any questions or notices something out of the ordinary, they must approach a doctor. There is no place for shyness in this profession.

Less than half of all nurses involved in the study indicated that they believe drug errors are only reported 45.6 percent of the time. This reveals that nurses are hesitant to report errors and may fear a medical malpractice lawsuit if they do. Unfortunately, not reporting errors can severely diminish patient care and prevent the improvement of future procedures. Miscommunication and lack of communication in a healthcare environment is highly detrimental to all involved.

Give Complete Reports

Hastily completed medical documents or documents that lack information are a huge cause of nursing mishaps. To avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit, nurses should be as prepared and concise as they can when talking with a doctor. A patient's chart, a list of questions, and any suggestions should be available and ready before meeting with a doctor over the care of a patient.

Nursing errors frequently result from treatment miscommunication. In this situation, a nurse must be fully aware of all treatment methods. If multiple tubes need to be drained, if blood needs to be drawn every few hours, etc., a nurse must learn to communicate effectively with doctors to derive all necessary information. This collaborative environment must be reflected in all documentation and during in-person procedures.

Avoid Time Mismanagement

Time mismanagement is common in chaotic healthcare environments. Nurses may become overwhelmed and neglect patients or haphazardly fill out patient charts. To avoid nursing errors nurses must learn how to set priorities. A nurse must also realize the importance of flexibility and patience. Patients are present because they suffer from some sort of ailment. Remaining calm, collected, and level-headed is necessary during dire healthcare situations.

The most important time management skill for nurses is learning when to take a break. Healthcare workers work long, physically demanding shifts. It's easy to often forget to take care of your own body as a healthcare worker. Fatigue, burnout, and other serious medical issues can all contribute to the productivity breakdown of a nurse. If a break is needed, it must be taken.

Limit Overtime

It is well-known that healthcare professionals work long shifts. Administrators may try to schedule workers for back to back or extended shifts and this is particularly common for nurses. To avoid nursing mishaps, it is important to give nursing staff an adequate amount of downtime.

According to a study in the Journal of Safety Research, all nursing errors were directly related to working more than 40 hours a week. Medication errors had the most consistent relationship to overtime. Ignoring nursing fatigue has been proven to cause nursing errors and, ultimately, a medical malpractice lawsuit. This information should be thoroughly considered when a nurse is scheduled to work overtime.

Do Not Understaff

In a study from the Journal of Clinical Nursing, 82 percent of nursing errors were caused by a hospital administration's forced understaffing. Understaffing a hospital, or other healthcare environments is destructive to patient access and care. It is also a legal liability that can easily result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Healthcare entities must schedule the right amount of staff for possible patient intake. They must also avoid treating staff unfavorably. Healthcare professionals work frequent shifts and shouldn't be performing these shifts alone. To provide the best level of care possible to patients, professionals need to actively collaborate with each other.

In order to avoid nursing errors, nurses must actively take steps to adhere to medical standards ascribed to their professional behavior. Double checking every procedure, limiting overtime, alerting administration to understaffing, checking reports for completeness, and managing time correctly are all methods that will work to prevent nursing mishaps. In a profession where accuracy is key, nurses must be vigilant in maintaining efficient, effective, and error-free patient care.

One of Ankota's recent whitepapers, entitled "Blueprint for the Next Generation of Healthcare at Home"  is available for download.  Please click the link or the picture below to download.Blueprint Healthcare 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

7 Keys to Starting a Home Health / Hospice Agency

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 9, 2017 5:17:17 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).

There are well over 12,000 home health & hospice agencies in the US, and the industry grew some 4% annually between 2010 and 2015 due to a rapidly aging U.S.. population. For someone with an entrepreneurial spirit to meet the real healthcare needs of people, the homecare industry represents a real opportunity. But, how do you get started? What is involved in a successful homecare agency startup? Seven key areas of concern for every new homecare agency startup are as follows:

1. Vision and Business Plan

 The first step in starting up your new home health organization is formulating a clear vision of meeting community needs. A detailed community assessment gives you direction and your own background and focus will play into the decision.

There are many types of home health & hospice agencies, some focused only on non-medical daily living assistance for seniors and disabled persons, others equipped with nurses and therapists to take care of medical needs. To make your vision a reality, you need to think and put into writing a detailed business plan and find effective ways of marketing your vision to the community.Home Health

2. Licensing Issues

Step two in getting your homecare agency startup off the ground is obtaining all necessary licenses. A good consulting firm, will guides you through this complex legal process and uses experienced senior consultants to expedite the process to licensure.

Your agency will need to be incorporated with a Tax ID. You will also need to obtain a NPI (National Provider Identification) number with Medicare/Medicaid. There are differences in licensing from state to state. Expert guidance helps you properly prepare for successful practice.

3. Medicare Accreditation

 Next, as a large portion of your reimbursements will come through Medicare (Parts A and B), you must go through the certification process. This involves a three-day Medicare survey in which your policies/ procedures, record keeping, and clinical practice will be evaluated. Consulting trains and prepares you to pass the first time.

Often times, agencies will choose accreditation from CHAP, ACHC, or JCO instead of the Medicare certification every three years. Accrediting bodies hold agencies to all Medicare Conditions of Participation as well as standards of excellence above and beyond Medicare/ Medicaid.

4. Software Selection

Today’s healthcare industry requires advanced medical equipment and computerized record-keeping. An existing agency may update software systems as needed, however, a homecare startup agency should carefully select the most effective software program to meet their needs. Senior level consultants help with making sure agencies do not make the costly mistake of choosing the wrong software.

5. Preparation of Manuals

To run your agency smoothly from day one, you will need to develop customized administrative policy and procedure manuals, employee handbooks, forms manuals, and other important organizational tools. Optimizing your manuals can save you valuable time and money.

6. Staffing Your Agency

So far, we have defined goals, removed legal barriers, and provided an organizational structure. This is like a naked skeleton. To put flesh and bones on this plan, you next develop effective recruitment and retention strategies. Hiring the well-trained and reputable staff members dedicated to providing top-quality care is key to fulfilling your mission. If you fail to fill your ranks with conscientious staff members, you could retain staff but fail to retain clients. On the other hand, retaining good managers may be a function of your overall policies and standards.

You can hire some staff directly full-time, some part-time, and contract out other specialists as needed. But you must do a thorough background check on anyone who will be working under you agency’s name, to protect patients, to avoid a possible lawsuit, and to protect your agency’s reputation.

7. ICD-10 Readiness

Finally, you should realize cash flow and reimbursement rates depend on efficient, accurate, and complete ICD medical coding practices. You need to train in-house coders or use a 3rd-party ICD-10 coding partner. Your clinicians need extensive documentation training to back up coders and keep everyone on the same page.

Do your homework before starting hiring your consultant. Look at the background of your consulting agency. Do they have expertise in all the items you need to begin your agency? Find the agency that offers specialists in all areas of the process. Are you obtaining access to one individual or a team of individuals working for you?

To accomplish all of the above and more for a successful homecare agency startup, you should invest in homecare consulting services such as those offered by Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. To learn more about Kenyon’s start-up packages, which cover everything from A to Z and are run by senior administrators with 20-plus years of experience, contact Kenyon online or call 206-721-5091.
 
One of Ankota's recent eBooks, 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.

Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals CoverRead this post on Tim Rowan's Site

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

EVV Best Practice: The One Day Time Sheet

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 2, 2017 11:00:00 AM

circuit-158374_640.pngAs agencies move to Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) they will achieve numerous benefits including regulatory compliance and increased speed for processing billing and payroll. To learn more about EVV, please see our earlier articles explaining EVV and the 21st Century Cures Act.

Challenges to Overcome When Implementing EVV

There are several issues that will arise as you implement EVV, as follows:

  • Reported Times will no longer be "perfect:" When your not using EVV, your time sheets will generally be "perfect." Your caregiver will show up right when they're supposed to and leave right on time. A visit scheduled from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM will be recorded as arrived at 8:00 AM and departed exactly at 10:00. When EVV is added, these times will no longer be perfect. For example they might arrive at 7:56 AM and leave at 9:53 AM.

  • You'll need to "round" or "truncate" visits in accordance with the rules of your funding source: Most Medicaid programs have you bill personal care visits in 15 minute units. Some programs only pay for completed 15 minute units, while others employ rounding rules. A typical rounding rule is called the "rule of seven eigths," which means that 7 minutes rounds down and 8 minutes round up.  Other rules apply too. For example labor laws often require you to pay for every minute worked even if you're not able to bill for those minutes.

  • Resistance to Change: In a typical organization, 20% of your workers will love and embrace EVV right away and 60% will be fine with it but the last 20% will be unhappy about it and come along "kicking and screaming." The best thing you can do to prevent this is to make sure that the EVV system is easy to use and that you provide training and hand-holding in the early days.

  • Caregivers will make mistakes: In the early days of your implementation, caregivers will forget to clock in or clock out or make other mistakes. When mistakes are made, it is likely that a time sheet, signed by the client will be required.

A Best Practice: The One Day Time Sheet

One best practice that we share is the idea of a one day time sheet. Most agencies who are "on paper" use a one week time sheet. Continuing with a one-week time sheet makes it "too easy" for your caregivers who are resistant to the new approach. They'll just keep doing it the "old way."

The idea of a one-day time sheet changes this. If the caregiver makes an error, you ask for them to fill out a time sheet for that one day and have the client sign it. Some agencies even mandate.that the time sheet be brought to the office that same day  This is a bit difficult, but that's by design. If the caregiver has to fill out a paper time sheet and get it signed each time that they forget to clock in our out, they will quickly learn.

More Best Practices

If you have additional questions or are seeking further best practices for implementing EVV in your organization, we'd be happy to help. The easiest way is to click here to contact Ankota or call us on 844-4-ANKOTA.

I Need Help with EVV

 

 

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 2017 Newsletter

Creating Goals for Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Posted by Ken Accardi on Sep 1, 2017 9:49:57 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 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!

Building Your Brand

Having a strategic social media strategy is a great way to create a strong online presence. Social media gives your company an opportunity to showcase your culture, values and personality and to be easily accessible to your audience. Having an active presence across the social platforms your audiences are active on makes you available and allows you to become a valued resource.

Being Available for Your Audience

You should be active where your audience is active. If those seeking in-home care or educating themselves on aging are active on Facebook (they are!), you should have a strong Facebook presence. Share helpful articles, original content from your blog, top tips and links to valuable resources – such as your downloadable brochures or contact form. Some social platforms also serve as a way to communicate directly with you – from direct messaging on Facebook to responding in real-time on Twitter.

Driving Targeted Traffic

Gaining new clients, new referral sources and recruiting caregivers are three common goals of a social strategy. In order to do this, you should carefully define your target audience and tailor your strategy to share content your audience will find valuable – and that will drive them back to your website. We strongly recommend driving them back to pages where they will find relevant, helpful information. From this point, strong calls-to-action should drive them to take the action you are striving for – such as applying for a job or requesting an assessment or consultation.

Having a social strategy is a great way to build your brand, become a valued resource and to drive targeted traffic. To learn more about the value of social media in your home care marketing strategy, reach out to our marketing educators today!

This article 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

Save Time and Money Creating Your Own Home Care Manuals

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 27, 2017 2:29:07 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).

Running a homecare organization is no easy task! The process of keeping your agency running smoothly can quickly become overwhelming. In the throes of your day-to-day responsibilities, you may even consider it insanity. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of tunnel—at least when it comes to customized homecare manuals.

Cost of Creating Your Own Customized Manuals

Customized Homecare Manuals

Time is money don’t go waisting time, isolated clock with money time icon

Customized manuals are crucial to the success of your homecare agency. In these manuals, you find all the information necessary to maintain your organization’s integrity, remain in legal compliance, keep employees on track and so much more.

Writing your own manuals is an overwhelming task, one that is best left to manual experts. Otherwise, you simply add to the insanity of your daily routine.

The Time Aspect

Research has found that it takes approximately 300 hours (otherwise known as six 40-hour work weeks) to create a typical homecare manual from scratch. As crazy as that amount of time sounds, it doesn’t even include other important factors, such as:

  • Researching what to include;
  • Designing the template and content structure;
  • Incorporating accreditation standards;
  • Adding state-specific standards.

In all that time, you or whichever management-level employee you hand the task to, should be performing numerous other tasks that will help grow your business. Here are some ideas of better ways to allocate your time:

  • Investigating and developing ways to branch into additional services
  • Focusing on approaches to increase referrals
  • Finding new marketing avenues
  • Researching what competitors are doing better than you
  • Educating employees to create an elite staff
  • Attending home visits with staff
  • Evaluating goals and creating new ones
  • Brainstorming ways to improve your daily operations

The Money Aspect

Time is money, right? So, just to give you an idea of the kind of resources you’d be spending by creating your own manuals from scratch, we did the math.

At $25 an hour, a respectable wage for a leadership role in your agency, you would pay someone roughly $7500 to write a compliant manual. And, as we mentioned above, this doesn’t even include the preliminary research time, or regular updating once the manual is complete. That’s a pretty nice chunk of change. Think of all the ways you could spend that money to further improve your organization!

Peace-of-Mind Benefits of Purchasing Customized Manuals

Instead of driving yourself more insane by creating your own homecare manuals, consider purchasing customized manuals from an industry expert. Doing so helps you maintain peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what’s most important. Here’s how.

  • Purchasing customized manuals helps you stay organized and up to date.
  • Know your staff’s time is being spent in the most productive ways possible.
  • Customized manuals are effective and accurate, allowing you to rest assured that nothing important is missing.
  • Custom designed by knowledgeable experts to include necessary requirements for your state and specific agency type.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, be sure your customized manuals are electronic making them easy to access, maintain and update. This alleviates the stress of overhauling and reprinting your manual every time a regulation changes.

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting’s Customized Manuals

Whatever your needs, Kenyon HomeCare Consulting has a manual for you! Our manuals follow best practices, are easily customizable, are accreditation ready and simple to update. So, we offer something for everyone! Simply click on a title below to learn more about how we can meet your specific needs.

In addition to these manuals, we offer many other services—ICD-10 Coding Plus, Aide University, Interim Management, numerous consulting services— to help your agency thrive. Reach out to us today to get started!

This article entitled, "Save Time and Money Creating Customized Homecare Manuals and Updates" 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

6 Findings from Healthcare Strategist Stephen Tweed

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 22, 2017 9:47:00 AM

Stephen-tweed-2014.jpgStephen Tweed, CSP, is an internationally known health care and business strategist, award winning professional speaker, published author, and industry researcher.  Over the years, we have shared some of his articles or drew on his Thought Leadership for topics on our blog.  The seventh book he has authored or co-authored is Conquering the Crisis: Proven Solutions for Caregiver RecrHuiting and Retention.

Here is a quick summary of the book as well as some industry data for you:

The biggest challenge facing CEOs and C-suite leaders in home health care, hospice, and personal in-home care in America is “The Caregiver Recruiting and Retention Crisis.”  There are simply not enough nurses, therapists, home health aides, and personal caregivers to meet the growing needs of an aging population.

According to industry data:

  • Registered Nurses are the largest group of health care professionals in the US, and the vacancy rate continues to escalate

  • 55% of RNs are 50 years of age or older, and the average age when nurses leave bed-side nursing is 52

  • U.S. Nursing schools turned away 79,659 students in 2012 due to a shortage of faculty, clinical sites, and budget

  • In the United Kingdom 20% more nurses quit the profession than joined in 2016

  • The turnover rate for person caregivers for in-home care was 65.7% in 2016

  • 69.7% of home care agency CEOs said the biggest threat to their agencies is “The Caregiver Shortage.”

Stephen has studied this alarming trend, conducted industry research, and interviewed CEOs of top tier companies.  He has defined the crisis, developed a solution, and created a seven-step system to help companies attract, select, develop, and retain high quality front line caregivers. 

Using stories, examples, illustrations, facts, and data, Stephen has created a highly readable book that is short enough to hold the attention of readers and long enough to give them the strategies and insights to conquer the crisis. 

Marki Flanner, the Executive Vice President for Home Health Care at the Visiting Nurse Association of New York, the largest single-location home health agency in the world, had this to say about Conquering the Crisis: 

Stephen Tweed has written a must-read primer for organizations struggling with caregiver recruitment and retention.  I have been in the home health care business for 35 years and have found Stephen to be one of the most knowledgeable and insightful professionals in the field.”

Monica Smith, Deputy Director of the Home Care Association of Florida, describes Conquering the Crisis this way:

“At a time when 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 years old every day, it has never been more critical for health care providers to recruit, train, and retain quality caregivers for our aging population. Stephen Tweed’s “Conquering the Crisis” is a timely and dynamic resource that gives insight into and actionable steps for tackling the caregiver crisis with clarity and optimism. A must-read for any home care provider!”

The Solution

In-depth conversations with CEOs and C-suite leaders from home care agencies in the Top 10% of the industry show clearly that this crisis has no short-term solution.  The caregiver crisis will be with us for decades.  Agencies who are serious about Conquering the Crisis will need to develop a long-term solution.  It’s based on crafting a “Culture of Attraction and Accomplishment.”  Stephen Tweed describes in detail the process of crafting a culture in a fast-growing profitable home care agency.  He describes how this will enable agencies to create distinction is a highly competitive employment marketplace. 

The System

While having a strategy and crafting a culture is critical, implementation is the key.  In this powerful book, the author lays out a Seven Step Caregiver Quality System that readers can implement in their own agencies.  It begins with a process to Define the Best Caregivers. Then the book describes how to Attract the Best, Select the Best, Hire and On-Board the Best, Train the Best, Recognize and Reward the Best, and Retain the Best. 

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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, September 2017 Newsletter

3 Medical Career Options for the Tech Lover

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 17, 2017 7:22:00 AM

Today's guest post is from Emma Sturgis.  Emma is a freelance writing currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2

Technology is one of the fastest growing industries and those who love everything technical have created some of the everyday items we take advantage of today. Technology created the smartphone we carry, the large flat screen television in your living room and the high-tech washing machine in your laundry room. One industry where technology is growing rapidly is in the medical field, opening up a wide range of careers if you love the awe of science and are obsessed with invention.

Radiology and Ultrasound

There are many different careers in the area of radiology and sonography. Radiology technicians operate imaging equipment used to diagnose injury or illness, including x-ray machines, CT scanning machines, MRI’s and mammography equipment. Radiology technicians make approximately $58,960.00 annually. A diagnostic sonographer operates ultrasound machines which are commonly used during pregnancy, but can also be used to diagnose other medical conditions. A radiologist is a physician who reads the images that a radiologist or diagnostic sonographer produces. Radiologists don’t often interact with patients as they usually communicate findings directly to the doctor who ordered the test. Radiologists also have the benefit of telecommuting as most images are produced digitally and can be read from almost any computer.

Medical Laboratory Scientist

Medical laboratories have grown significantly high-tech over the past decade. In order to succeed as a medical laboratory scientist, you need critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as a desire to work with technology. Medical laboratories are on the front line of diagnosing, monitoring and creating treatments for diseases. Using extremely technical instruments, a medical laboratory scientist analyzes and interprets data used to treat diseases. They may also work in laboratories that develop new testing methods or new treatments for illnesses. Some of the highly technical equipment found in a medical laboratory include kinetic imaging plate readers that allow live cell assays to be screened, cameras that rely on chemiluminescence rather than fluorescence and laboratory robotics.

Healthcare Information Technology

3 Medical Career Options For The Tech Lover.jpgThe Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, created a need for people with experience in healthcare information technology as the law required patient records be stored digitally. This has led to a need for individuals who understand how to protect patient data from breaches while allowing patients and physicians easy access to information that can create better, more continuous care. Since 90% of the data in the entire world was created in the last 2 years, it’s important that these individuals have experience, education, and expertise as well as the desire to continually be learning. In addition to those who are trained to safeguard patient medical information, other IT positions in healthcare include database administrators, software training experts and network administrators.

These are just a few of the careers available in the healthcare industry if you are fascinated with technology and want to work in a field that will benefit others. The healthcare industry is growing rapidly and, as it grows, more advanced technology is necessary to identify illness, create treatments that cure disease and help people live longer, healthier lives.

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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

5 Tips When Considering Furthering Your Education in Healthcare

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 14, 2017 2:49:00 PM

 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.  Enjoy Kara's article and feel free to comment below!

After high school, you may have gone to college without really know what you wanted to do, or perhaps you ventured into a trade that no longer holds your interest. Regardless, you've made the decision to return to school or to procure a higher degree. Some suggestions can help you figure out what to do next.

Assess Your Desires and the Field

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Getting to know where the demand is can prove useful in your decision. For example, the field of health care is now requiring advanced degrees in areas where it did not. Returning to school for this type of degree now can mean that you're ahead of the competition. Of course, you want to make sure you select a path you'll enjoy too.

Consider the Logistics

Once you know the field that intrigues you, figure out how to make taking classes work logistically. Perhaps you have children, and you need to work in order to support yourself and your household. If that is the case, enrolling in a program that offers at least some online courses is a wise decision. On the other hand, you may have the flexibility and freedom to attend a traditional campus full-time.

Research the Payment Options

Now that you're an adult, you want to ensure you're making a decision that doesn't put you in financial disarray. Although it might be frightening to look, start by determining exactly how much tuition is. You can't mak

e a plan for addressing a problem unless you know what the issue is. You may discover that you can pay for some of it. As for the rest, start applying for scholarships and financial aid.

Visit the School

When you're planning to enroll in a program, you also want to see if the school itself is the right fit. A tour of the facilities can provide you with at least part of that answer. While you are there, find out if you can speak with an admissions counselor and the chair of your department to ask any questions that you have.

Allocate the Time

You might think that you're all set in terms of time management because the schedule of the classes works for you, but college is much more than that. You should also block off periods of time in your schedule where you can tackle the assignments as they can require serious effort.

Taking the next step can help you to get started on a path to a career that you love. In many career paths today advanced degrees are encouraged and rewarded. Moving from an RN to BSN program, for example, can create a significant raise in pay.  If you’re serious about making the most of your potential, advancing your degree should be something you seriously think about.

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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

Does Blogging Help Drive More Inbound Leads for Home Care Agencies?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 10, 2017 8:28:40 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 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!

blogging-case-study.jpgThe short answer: you better believe it!

Take a look at what we were able to do for a staffing client. Our marketing team recently began blogging for a staffing agency with two offices in Wisconsin.

The Goal

This company has two main goals (just like nearly every other home health care organization):

  • Drive more inbound leads from clients.

  • Get more applications from qualified candidates.

Do those sound like familiar goals for your home care company? Most home care clients we talk to are constantly looking for new clients AND new caregivers.

The Solution

To help meet these goals, we developed a content marketing strategy. Each quarter, one of our Social Media Marketing Advisers develops a custom content plan. When developing this plan, we look for topics that are relevant to the company’s core audiences (clients and job seekers) and topics that get a high level of search traffic and engagement. We also take a close look at past content to determine what themes and topics get high engagement and conversion.

Once we develop the content plan, we turn our professional writers loose. Each month we produce four custom-written blog articles. For this particular client, we write two client-facing posts and two candidate-facing posts. Each blog post is search-engine optimized, so that we can drive more targeted search traffic from people and prospective clients in their local markets who are looking for the services they offer.

Once this content is posted on the client’s blog, we also push it to their social media accounts. By sharing this content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profiles and LinkedIn Groups, we are able to dramatically increase reach and drive traffic back to the website where people can take action.

Finally, we also send out a monthly email newsletter. This allows us to reach a very large audience with the push of a button!

The Results

To gauge results, we pulled website traffic data from the first several months of the marketing program (12/16 – 2/17) and compared that to the same time period one year prior (12/15 – 2/16). By comparing the same time period we can eliminate any seasonal differences that may skew our results. Here’s what we found:

  • Overall web traffic more than doubled: up 127.64%

  • Search engine traffic is up 303.49%

  • Referral traffic is up 115.34%

  • Social media traffic is up 442.86%

Pretty Amazing Results, Right?

Well this is just the start. Increases in traffic are great, but we need to make sure it’s the “right” traffic, going to the “right” places. So we dug a bit deeper to look at visitor behavior and conversions:

  • The first goal was to reach more candidates:

    • Traffic to the careers page rose 132.18%

    • Traffic to the submit an application page was up 21.09%

  • Our second goal was to reach more clients

    • Traffic to their specific services pages increased by as much as 255%!

Perhaps the most telling statistic was actually traffic to the contact us page. After all, we want people to pick up the phone and call or complete a contact form. Traffic to the contact us page alone was up 87.32%!

Want results like these? Give one of our marketing educators a call at 888.229.8057 or get an estimate.

This article 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, September 2017 Newsletter

7 Ways Business Consultation can Help Your Startup Home Care Agency

Posted by Ken Accardi on Aug 5, 2017 10:19:50 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).

startup home care

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. You need the right support to help you prepare for everything that’s likely to come your way.

Support for Your Startup Home Care Business

Is it possible to succeed in the home care industry on your own? Sure, but there will be many obstacles along the way.

Working with a professional consultant is a sure-fire way to overcome those obstacles with ease and speed. Thereby helping your dreams become a reality faster with fewer expenses and less stress. Here’s how!

1. Help Getting the Required Tools

Yikes, startups must have employee handbooks, forms and the all important home care manuals. The amount of documents needed for running a thriving—and compliant—home care agency seems to be endless. Going it alone means you’re responsible for creating or compiling these documents, and for finding all the information required for each one.

Instead of spending hours upon hours researching, writing, and editing documents, consider purchasing customizable products from a trusted industry expert. A professional who know exactly what’s required for your business and has experience crafting the documents you need. This helps speed up the process for your startup or new business line so you can focus on other pressing matters.

2. Accreditation and State Licensure Preparedness

Before you can open the doors of your startup home care business, you must be licensed and, depending on your business plan, accredited. An experienced consultant leads you in the right direction, helping you with obtaining your license and becoming accredited.

Through policy revisions, on-site evaluations, and mock surveys, your home care consultant will guide you toward 100 percent preparedness for licensure and accreditation.

3. Industry Knowledge and Professionalism

A world of information is at your feet whether you’re brand new in the home care industry or attempting to grow or save your organization. But wading through all the available info is time-consuming and stressful.

Expert consultants gain extensive knowledge through working with startups and expansions of all sizes and types. They’re in the know about regulations for each type of agency and can steer you towards what works and away from what doesn’t.

4. Hiring and Orientation Assistance

One of the most stressful aspects of a startup home care business is finding the right team to support your goals. The hiring and training process is exhausting, but a trusted expert helps you streamline the process. Thus ensuring you hire people who truly fit your agency’s culture.

Once you’ve secured a team, it’s important to provide sufficient training and orientation. The right consultant offers guidance and tools for turning your employees into an elite staff.

5. Software Expertise

Selecting software that meets all the needs of your startup home care business is a crucial part of success. From client care to billing and scheduling, efficient software is paramount. It helps to keep your organization’s operations running smoothly with as little headache as possible.

When you partner with a knowledgeable home care expert, you receive advice and guidance on choosing the software that best fits your agency’s requirements.

6. Help with All Things Coding

Accurate and efficient coding is vital to the success of your startup home care business. When done correctly, it can mean higher reimbursement for your agency, but when coding falters, so does your revenue.

Obtaining a coding outsourcing partner is a great option for making sure there are minimal errors before billing or submitting claims. It prevents you from needing certified coders and provides documentation and coding education for staff. All while ensuring you receive maximum reimbursements!

7. Guidance for Staff Education

Many home care consulting firms, provide compliant, industry specific staff education and training. This education fulfills requirements, enhances client care, improves employee satisfaction, and sets you apart from the competition.

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting and Your Startup Home Care Business

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we offer everything outlined here, and more. Our consultants are experienced, professional, and knowledgeable. And our Aide University program is the only online continuing education program of its kind.

Contact us to speak with one of our experts!

This article entitled, "Getting Startup Home Care Business Support Will Help Your Dreams Come True Faster With Less Stress", 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, September 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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