The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

Using a Blog to Grow Your Home Care Business

Posted by Ken Accardi on Feb 15, 2017 11:11:00 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.  He writes on how to utilize regular blog content to build your business.  Enjoy his post (below).

sapling - growth.pngAs your home care business grows, your to-do list likely includes networking, advertising, recruiting and generating leads and referrals. All of these tasks warrant your time and your best efforts. But if you really want to maximize the results of your work, you must have a blog. Now you might be thinking “Really? Do I need a blog?” The answer is NO. You don’t NEED a website either. In fact, you don’t really need a sales staff or home care software for that matter. You get the point. If you really want to be successful and grow to your full potential, a blog is a must have!

Why Should Your Company Blog?

The list of benefits of blogging is a long one, but most benefits fall into two categories: branding and lead generation. As you blog, you’re providing valuable information to your current and potential clients. Essentially you’re adding value to your services by giving readers information free of charge, as well as giving clients a piece of who you are as a company and what you stand for. Your blog also establishes your business as an authority and expert in the home care industry. This in turn elevates your credibility and bolsters your reputation, both of which are encouraging to potential clients shopping for home care services.

Blog posts are also a great opportunity for self-promotion. Each blog post will have a subject that ties in with your services in one way or another. For example, if you write about the various responsibilities of home care workers, you could mention that your home care employees receive ongoing training and are well equipped to provide the services you discussed.

If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe some statistics will. According to Hubspot, companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website (meaning more potential clients). Plus, marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI (more profits). Aabaco Small Business says that small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not.

What Should You Write / Blog About?

Now that you’ve decided to seriously consider blogging, what topics should you cover? The possibilities are endless, but it is always a good idea to discuss industry news, innovations or any legislation that impacts home care. You can also use your blog as a platform to announce company news, events, new services or new employees. Your readers are likely reading your blog because they either use your services, or could potentially do so, so they will appreciate being kept in the loop about what is going on in your home care business. Finally, any tips and advice you can offer readers is valuable to them.

Example Ideas for Tips and Advice:

  • How to decide if a family member needs home care

  • How to discuss home care with a loved one

  • How to determine which home care service is right for your mother

How Can You Promote Your Blog?

Once your blog is up and running, you need to tell people it exists so that they can check it out! Your blog should have a link on your website (preferably in a main menu or header) so that readers can easily access it. Your next step is to announce your blog on all of the social media accounts that you created after reading our last post!  This allows your followers to read the news firsthand—don’t forget to provide a link that goes directly to your blog. Don’t be afraid to post this every few days, as a reminder to read your posts. You can also pay social media sites to promote your post that announces your blog. This ensures that more people will see the post. Of course, don’t forget that word of mouth has a lot of value, so let all of your employees, clients and referral sources know. Tell anyone and everyone that your company now has a blog. 

7 Ways Blogging Helps Your Home Care Agency

  • Blogging increases traffic to your home care website.
  • Blogging improves your rankings on search sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Blogging helps with social media marketing by providing more content to share.
  • Blogging demonstrates your expertise in home care services.
  • Blogging helps your sales team by giving them more to share and talk about.
  • Blogging informs your caregivers by keeping them updated.
  • Blogging educates your clients by giving them tips and advice.

If you are not sure where to begin, give us a call at Providentia Marketing. We can help your home care company start a blog and can even provide content to keep it relevant and current. Even if you want to do it yourself, we would be happy to talk to you and point you in the right direction.

This article, USING A BLOG TO GROW YOUR HOME CARE BUSINESS, first appeared in the Providentia Marketing 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, March 2017 Newsletter

Education: Proven Key To Health Care Organizational Success

Posted by Ken Accardi on Feb 13, 2017 10:13:00 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).

All administrators in health care acknowledge that education is one of the keys to assuring quality care.  Educated staff are more effective and this ultimately leads to reduced costs for the entire health care system.

Health Care Education of the Past

Chronic Disease Educations

Fifty years ago, when I first started nursing, Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) were the focus of education as they were caring for patients at the bedside.  Nurses, as the primary care staff occurred in hospitals, nursing homes and home health.  Both home health and nursing homes had aides, but there were no standardized training requirements and each agency or organization developed and trained as they saw fit.  RNs and LPNs were still the primary caregivers in these areas.  But in the late 1980s, Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), now called Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS), established basic training for all aides. Training and certification in fundamentals of care, was now a requirement for all aides in federally funded agencies. Then as now, very little education about diseases or care specific to individuals with primarily chronic diseases is thought necessary.

Is Health Care Education Any Different Today?

Fast forward to today.  RNs and LPNs are no longer the primary caregivers at the bedside, particularly in nursing homes and home health.  The Certified Nursing Assistant or aide is the primary caregiver working under the direction of the RN or LPN. Yet they still receive only minimal training and education in the most basic fundamentals of care.

Over the last ten years the readmission rate for hospitals, home health and nursing homes has been climbing. The data indicates that many of the readmissions are due to chronic disease. Some agencies or facilities have managed to reduce those rates with restructuring their delivery system, yet a total reduction eludes everyone.

When looking at data, the one missing link seems to be adequate aide education or lack thereof.  To address this issue, Kenyon Consulting developed a series of WA DSHS certified eight-hour chronic disease specific courses, appropriate for both aide and nursing education. While the initial focus was on aides, we soon learned the courses were equally valuable educational tools for RNs and LPNs.

Education Test Subjects

To test to see if chronic disease education would have an impact on care and reduce readmission rates, staff caring for patients on a nursing home subacute care wing agreed to test 2 courses, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).  The sample group of 32 full time staff includes RNs, LPNs and aides. For the first half of 2015 prior to completing the courses, the readmission rate for this unit was 32. Of the patients readmitted from the pilot unit, 13 were due to CHF and 3 for COPD. For the entire 164 bed facility, the readmission rate totaled 57 for the same time period.  Since 50% of all readmissions were for the two diagnosis of CHF and COPD, all 32 caregivers were to complete and pass CHF and COPD online courses to receive certification.

Chronic Disease Education and Hospital Readmission Results

Course completion and CHF and COPD certification occurred in June, July, and August of 2015. Data shows a decrease in hospital readmissions for the subacute wing during that quarter. By the end of the next quarter through December 2015, only 15 subacute readmissions were recorded with none for COPD or CHF. However, an unexpected result showed the entire facility experienced a marked reduction in hospital readmissions. Facility total readmissions for the last two quarters of 2015 was 29, with all 2015 readmissions equaling 87.

Nursing home data for 2016 indicates readmission reductions continue. From January through December 2016, only 27 readmissions occurred on the subacute wing, with none for COPD or CHF. During the same time, the entire facility also saw a reduction in readmissions totaling 71 or 13.4% for the entire year of 2016, with only one patient admission for COPD.

Chronic Disease Education Effects More Than Hospital Readmissions

The data demonstrates a significant benefit in educating all caregivers. However, to really improve care, all members of the caregiving team need chronic disease education. Nurses report that current education greatly updates their baseline knowledge. Aides report that the learning initially was difficult because the subject matter was entirely new.  We found it best for nurse educators to be available as aides complete their course work to assist with questions and areas difficult to understand. This is particularly true for aides for whom English is a second language.

After course completion, the aides expressed feeling much better prepared to care for the patients with COPD and CHF diagnoses. And all wanted to know when they could take other online courses! Management staff reported staff morale improvements. But best of all, readmission results prove that advanced chronic disease education, makes a difference in quality of the care!

Kenyon and Chronic Disease Management

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we make it simple for you to provide chronic disease management training. Aide University online courses deliver the knowledge and tools necessary for caregivers with to provide expert care to clients suffering from one or more debilitating conditions.

Give us a call at 206-721-5091 or schedule a time at your convenience to learn more about our chronic disease education program.

This article entitled, EDUCATION: PROVEN KEY TO HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS 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, March 2017 Newsletter

5 Ways to Avoid Asthma Triggers in Home Care Patients

Posted by Ken Accardi on Feb 8, 2017 11:54:00 AM

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

Asthma.jpgWhen serving in the role of caregiver, it’s essential that you be aware of all the medical issues of a patient. You may be coming into the home to provide home and health care services while someone is going through a rehabilitation process or when a cognitive impairment makes them unable to care for themselves. If that patient has asthma, you will need to take steps to prevent reactions in your patient.

Personal Habits

Smoking is detrimental to your health and to the health of those around you. If you are a smoker, quitting will be beneficial to your current and future health. You should refrain from smoking during the time you are in a home providing care giving services.

Fragrances

Perfumes, scented lotions and clothing that retains the scent from dryer sheets can trigger asthmatic reactions in people who are sensitive to fragrances. It’s best to avoid wearing any type of perfume while on the job. It’s also essential that you use unscented lotion and personal care products yourself and with your patient.

Outdoor Allergy Triggers

While taking a patient outside for some fresh air or to soak up some sunshine may seem like a good idea, it isn’t always a positive experience for someone with asthma. You need to be keenly aware of air quality conditions before taking a patient outside. Asthma triggers change as the seasons change, so you’ll need to be very selective regarding outdoor activities. Air pollution from factories, cars and other sources can also adversely affect those who are sensitive to pollutants. Foggy days, humidity and other weather-related aspects can play a role in how profound outdoor pollution is in a certain area.

Food Allergies

If part of your caregiving responsibility involves preparing meals for the patient, you must be aware of any foods that could cause acid reflux or heartburn. These can be a trigger for asthmatic reactions.

Pets

If you have pets, be sure to keep clothing or uniforms that you wear to work in a location in your home that your pet doesn’t have access to. Don’t pick your pet up and hold it against you before leaving for work. In doing so, you can inadvertently carry pet allergens into the home of your patient.

Awareness and prevention are vital when working with patients with asthma. Consult with an expert like Aerospan RX if you have questions. You’ll want to take all steps possible to prevent triggering an asthma reaction in a patient.

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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, November 2016 Newsletter

Applying "Nana Technology" in Home Care

Posted by Ken Accardi on Feb 6, 2017 2:09:00 PM

 

Today's title is not a typo but rather a play on words. Nanotechnology is used to manipulate atoms and molecules in the 1 to 100 nanometer scale. While this and other leading edge technology is amazing, we in the home care world need to deal with technologies that our average 83 year old client can handle. Today's post was written by Audrey Kinsella and originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report on 11/30/2016. I have known and admired Tim Rowan for many years and highly recommend that you subscribe to his Home Care Technology Report newsletter. I met Audrey in Boston and the same conference that inspired her article. Audrey is great and I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.

I remember it as though it were yesterday. imgres-1.jpgIt was the great Gene Tischer, former Executive Director of the Home Care Association of Florida, who taught me a memorable lesson years ago, as he did many audiences large and small over the years. An audience member had asked him, "Gene, what’s the best option for eldercare now? Nursing Homes? Assisted Living Facilities? Home care?” He said, "Have adult daughters." I walked away shaking my head. I have one son.

I was reminded of Gene's advice last month as one of the exhibits at the Partners Health annual "Connected Health" symposium caught my eye. MedSentry™ bills itself as "The Prescription for Medication Adherence." The Westborough, Massachusetts company offers a modular medication management system designed for patients with a high number of prescriptions. Booth personnel explained to me that the system features custom medication packaging, cloud-based pharmacist management, imaging technology, and compartments that can manage a dozen medications or more.

When I asked whether the dispenser was mobile, they told me the story of one devoted daughter who prepared he elderly mother's dispensary every month with 12 different prescriptions drugs that had to be taken at varying times of the day. Once filled, the mother was able to self-manage when she was at home and when she visited other family members, often for days or weeks at a time.

After telling me that story, they quoted a clinical validation study that had been conducted by Partners' Center for Connected Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. It found a 9% hospitalization rate among MedSentry™ users and a 50% rate for all-cause hospitalizations in the control group and a 36% rate of hospitalizations for heart failure.

Is Homebound a Healthy Goal?

I concluded, after my time in Boston, that seniors who live at home, get out more often, and remain active, are becoming more common. Connected technologies are making passive seniors obsolete, regardless of their chronic conditions. Robust new wearables help them share health data with their doctors and nurses. They are able to be more engaged with their care, even while away from home.

At all times, keynote speakers and product vendors returned to the theme that the technology must be usable to be worthwhile. Ease-of-use features were constantly cited as the key to new tools helping patients educate themselves and chart their own progress as they age. As mobile health tools evolve, they move in the direction of being easily used by people of all ages. That does not mean the adult daughter is not still critical. She may be able to use the tools more confidently.

Help May Be Near at Hand

senior-1559369__340.jpgThe old joke comes full circle. When mobile computers were new and CMS first began requiring electronic forms and claims submission, Healthcare at Home agency staff often balked. "I will never be able to learn how to use this gadget," they often said. The helpful manager would often reply, "Don't you have an 11 year-old at home? She can teach you."

Fast-forward to 2016 and that built-in 1980's computer instructor may now very well be the person filling the retired home health worker's MedSentry™ dispenser.

Enable the 24/7 Caregivers

Coaching elders in technology use and engaging them in their own care are key to teaching self-management routines and keeping them at home, where they prefer to live. Ease-of-use features benefit these adult daughters as much as they do their elderly parents with multiple chronic conditions. Consequently, keeping seniors engaged in self-management may begin with coaching adult daughters, who, as Gene Tischer taught us years ago, are becoming essential to both their elderly parents and their parents' care team.

As presenter Lauren Costantini, PhD, CEO of Prime-Temp, Inc., indicated in his keynote address, "Wearable Sensors Expand Human Potential," "We should not look at today's monitoring devices as "technologies in search of a problem." Rather, we must embrace them as "technologies as a service for life." This is the new and different patient we as an industry are soon to meet. Not the dependent, homebound person but the active, independent senior, living well at home -- and everywhere else -- thanks to tools that enable self-management of chronic conditions.

Audrey Kinsella, MA, MS, is HCTR's telemedicine reporter. She has written on home telehealthcare and new technologies for home care service delivery for 20 years, in 6 books, multiple web sites, and more than 150 published articles. Audrey can be reached at audreyk3@charter.net or 828-348-5308.

Simplifying Telehealth Technology for Elder Care

Another technology that is not as advanced as nanotechnology but still difficult for elderly patients is teleheath. This technology, generally focused on collecting vital signs, is often hard to connect to the Internet and difficult for elderly people to use. One of Ankota's innovations is called Foresight Care.

This solution check's in with elderly people that have health and social risks simply by calling them on the phone and having them respond by pushing buttons on their touch-tone keypad. The questions are simple and the calls are designed to take around a minute. Health systems are looking for affordable ways to reduce emergency room visits for the elderly patients who you care for. If you'd like to learn more about how Foresight Care can help your agency prevent avoidable hospitalizations at low cost, please let us know.

Learn More About Reducing Readmissions  with Foresight Care  

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, March 2017 Newsletter

3 Types of In-Home Care Clients and How to Best Serve Them

Posted by Ken Accardi on Feb 1, 2017 3:51:00 PM

Today's guest post is from Hannah Whittenly.  Hannah is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

hands-216981__480.jpgNo matter what profession you choose, there are bound to be different types of people you have to learn how to best interact with.  Working in the home healthcare or in-home nursing field you come across a variety people, and having specific approaches to best interact with each can help both you and the client or patient.

Clients are individuals, and each have their own unique outlook, style, and needs.  That said, the following are four types of clients that you might interact with and tips to help you do so.

The Rebel

The Rebels can be an adventure to interact with. These folks might miss appointments without telling you or they may simply avoid listening to your recommendations.  My advice is to be direct with them; for example, often, you can start by simply stating that the appoinments and recommendations as part of their care plan are the best ways for them to promote their own health.

Upset Patient

Because patients are typically going through a lot of life changes in regards to both their health and way of life, it’s understandable that they might not be in their best mindset.  Their emotions can run the gammut. The upset patient may be suffering from a chronic illness or an ailment that has stayed around for some time. Their stress could possibly even be from feeling and realizing that they are no longer in control of their own life. It is important that you do not take their emotions personally. Do your best to be compassionate about your patient or client's situation. Try to establish a peaceful environment by showing that you care. This can be done by engaging in active listening and using a tender voice to appease the upset patient.

The Lovely Ones

Great patients are the most common type of patients, but they are a little dangerous for medical professionals. Why? Well, great patients are usually pleasant and warm. It is very easy to get attached to them, which could compromise your objectivity. Keep in mind that objectivity is precious to a medical professional, especially when you need to be honest rather than overly optimistic.

Knowing what type of patient you’re dealing with and how to best approach them can be very valuable in any medical career field. Of course, if you already work as a nurse or doctor, you probably already know this. If you have yet to pursue this career path and would be interested in a medical career and working with the various types of patients, you can learn more here.

No matter where you go in the healthcare world, learning how to properly interact with patients is crucial. Hopefully, these suggestions have prepared you for that. If done right, it can definitely be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life!

For more food for thought, Ankota has a new e-book available for download called, Winning with the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Program, that offers further insight on the discussion.  Just click the link or the picture beow to download.

Winning-with-HHVBP-ebook-cover-2.png

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

Click Here for a Free Demo

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, March 2017 Newsletter

6 Ways to Increase Referrals for Your Home Care Agency

Posted by Jed Hammel on Jan 30, 2017 10:23:00 AM

As we've mentioned in the past, Tim Rowen and Home Care TechnolRowan_for_printing.jpgogy Report are favorites of ours here at Ankota.  Tim and HCTR are invaluable resources for folks interested in keeping up with innovations in the home care space.  I subscribe to HCTR's email list and I receive regular informational emails from Tim that includes industry news, reviews, and thought pieces. 

A recent email I received from HCTR resonated with me as a marketer because in only a few sentences, Tim provided a number of ways to increrase referrals for home care agencies.

In his email, Tim thanked a home care agency for the excellent level of care that his mother is receiving.  He also relayed a personal story to illustrate why he felt they were worthy of notice.  This seems simple enough, so why did it resonate with me as a marketer? 

Long story short:  It was a sincere and specific compliment based upon personal experience from an industry Thought Leader that was shared to an audience broader than the home care agency had already.  In other words, it was free promotion to a wide audience from a trusted source with direct experience of the service.  

What agency wouldn't want a recomendation from a trusted industry leader sent to an audience that is already requesting the information from that person? 

Given that introduction, the question becomes, what can we learn from the story to help improve and grow our business?  As a start, here are 6 lessons that sprung to my mind thanks to Tim's story:

Provide Exceptional Servicetrust-1418901_640.jpg

For the most part, the success of your agency begins and ends with providing exceptional and personalilzed service to your clients and their families.  Whether it's general word of mouth or a "shout out" by an industry leader, no one is going to reccomend your business if they don't feel that you truly care about the client and their family's well-being.  For veterans of the home care industry, you likely know this better than I.  Beyond that, it's likely that providing excellent service and caring about each individual client's well-being is not an issue for you.  Rather, the challenge is how to get the word out to prospects about all your great work caring for folks?

Glad you asked...  

Request Online Reviews

An increasing number of us look to online review sites such as Yelp to inform us about a new service or product we are considering purchasing.  I know folks in home care are often busy caring for their clients to do anything more than the basics for their online presence.  But based upon how consumers decide to spend their money, having strong online reviews are important.  If for no other reason than it is likely that your competition is working on improving their reviews, it is important that your business does as well.

The easiest way to acheive this is to either ask clients that you feel are particularly happy with your service to write one, or send a mass email with your request can also prove effective.  

Beyond Yelp reviews, here are a few online review resources you should look at.  If you haven't already looked, you may be surprised to find some reviews already posted!

  • Yelp.com

  • Google Reviews (connected to your business' Google search)

  • Facebook Page Reviews

  • Reviews Directly Posted onto Your Website

Build Trust with Influencers and Cohorts

There are a number of industry experts, Key Influencers, Thought Leaders, social media mavens part of every industry who have broad and loyal followers.  If you are active on social media, odds are that you've already connected with them in some way.  

Getting an endorsement, Mention, Retweet, or similar can often increase your web traffic, engagement, and the feeling that you're "in the mix".  Ultimately though, if the goal is to increase revenue and create loyal customers, building trust with both Influencers and others "in your boat" is more important than a social media engagement metric.  

That is, while consumers do tend to look at things like total followers, that's a pretty small part of their decision-making process when choosing their home care agency.  What folks add into their process is outside opinions and Social Proof.  And often what it takes to move the needle is simply providing value, support, and generosity to folks involved in your industry.  Put simply, be a good online Citizen involved in your particular community.

Getting a glowing review by someone who you've built trust with (Key Influncer or otherwise) will be easy because you've proven that you are someone they want to help suceed and that your offerings can bring value to their followers.      

Get Involved in Your Local Business Associations

While being a good online Citizen and contributor to your online is important, I suggest that you do likewise in the real world as well.  I've noticed some folks join their Chamber of Commerce or small business organization, they read the newsletter, and that's about it.  It's unlikely that approach will create dividends for you.

Building trust is the name of the game and that can only happen if you "show up".  So get involved, volunteer to help out on events or committees, get to know the business people both related to your field and outside of it...provide value.

Often the folks that are already involved in these organizations continually meet a lot of other folks in the community or industry, and have built a wide network.  If you do get involved, you might be surprised how often your name is the first one folks mention when others come to them for recommendations in your industry.

Connect with Folks in Your Industry from Outside Your Area

Here's a bit of a confusing mantra for you:  "You don't know who you know knows."  That is, folks you are connected to who you wouldn't assume could help build your business could possibly be connected to a treasure trove of prospects.  

Beyond that, if you do build trust with other businesses in your field but who operate out of your area (or those parallel to your business), they will often be more likely to refer folks to you over your competition.  They get to feel that they are bringing value to prospects who are outside of their expertise or local area and the assumption is that you will do the same for them when a prospect in the opposite situation comes to your attention.   

Build Your Email List

The story behind this blog article began when I received an email from Tim.  Or did it?  Another way to look at it is that this article began when Tim continually provided value to the home care industry to the point where I noticed him as an industry expert.  More to the point, this article would not have been written if A.) Tim hadn't built trust with me to the point where I felt is was valuable for me to be on his e-mail list and if B.) the home care agency that he mentioned in his article hadn't built trust with both him and his Mother.

To tie this all together:

In whatever fashion you can muster time for, build trust through your level of care and your industry/community involvement, ask those who you've built trust with to provide reviews and reccomendations, and finally, build your email list so that you can promote all your new glowing reviews!  How do you build your email list?  That will be a blog topic for another day. 

On a related note, Ankota has a new e-book available for download called, Winning with the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Program, that offers further insight on the discussion.  Just click the link or the picture beow to download.

Winning-with-HHVBP-ebook-cover-2.png

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

Click Here for a Free Demo

 

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Readmission avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact us.

Topics: Private Duty Agency Software, Home Care Best Practices, February 2017 Newsletter

Healthcare Education Regarding Chronic Disease On the Rise

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jan 25, 2017 11:38:00 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).

 

Chronic diseases are on the rise among the elderly, and serve as the leading cause of death and disability in the United States – killing over 1.7 million people each year. Approximately half of all adults in the U.S. suffer from at least one chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, diabetes, or arthritis. It should come as no surprise that these are the most prevalent diseases requiring caregiver assistance in order to help those affected maintain normal function.

It’s imperative that those working in the healthcare industry understand the symptoms, warning signs, and treatments associated with chronic diseases. Healthcare education is the answer, but how do you implement it into your organization? Consider taking part in a chronic disease education program designed to prepare your staff to provide specialty care for individuals suffering from one of these a debilitating conditions.

Healthcare Education and Chronic Disease

Chronic disease education is a form of healthcare education that teaches caregivers how to help their clients manage chronic illnesses while living a full life with their disease. Knowledge gained in this format includes:Computer Keyboard With Key Education, Internet Learn Concept

  • Specialty care clients with specific chronic diseases require

  • How to recognize red flags and warning signs of decline

  • When to report symptoms to a supervisor or doctor

  • Medication side effects and adverse reactions

  • Lifestyle changes or treatments needed

  • How to intervene before hospitalization is needed

Through this in-depth advanced training, healthcare staff members receive a comprehensive education that goes far beyond basic fundamentals of care. Why is this important for your healthcare organization? The benefits are numerous; just take a look below.

The Benefits of Healthcare Education Regarding Chronic Disease

Providing advanced chronic disease education for your healthcare staff is beneficial to your organization. Clients diagnosed with chronic conditions continue to rise and referral sources are looking for organizations with staff trained to provide specialty care. Other benefits include:

  • Improved client satisfaction – When caregivers possess an advanced knowledge of chronic diseases, they’re able to provide the specific care these clients require. This leads to healthier, happier clients with a better quality of life and more revenue for you as a result of increased referrals.

  • Decreased hospitalization and re-hospitalization rates – Before hospital admission, most clients experience symptoms that their condition is changing. With expertly-trained healthcare staff, those warning signs won’t go unnoticed. Your healthcare team will have the ability to catch and report potential problems before they escalate to the point of hospitalization.

  • Better employee engagement – Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees tend to stay at your organization. Providing the opportunity for staff to advance their careers and secure their futures with chronic disease education is a positive way to improve employee engagement.

  • Fewer legal issues – Because the majority of the yearly U.S. healthcare dollars are spent on chronic diseases, the government closely monitors the way organizations manage the care paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. If the government doesn’t think an organization is managing client care correctly, it issues repercussions. For example, hospitals with too many re-admissions can lose up to three percent of their Medicare reimbursement. Having a team knowledgeable about chronic disease care helps prevent issues like re-hospitalization and is a simple, effective way to prevent penalties.

Clients diagnosed with numerous chronic diseases continue to rise and the level of care these clients receive must match the seriousness of this issue. Through the many benefits of healthcare education geared toward chronic diseases, your organization can provide the advanced care your clients and referral sources demand. To learn more about why you should invest in advancing the chronic disease education of your staff, take a look at Aide University.

This article entitled, HEALTHCARE EDUCATION REGARDING CHRONIC DISEASE EDUCATION ON THE RISE 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

4 Ways to Win Working for In-Home Healthcare

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jan 23, 2017 2:12:00 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!

In Home Healthcare.pngIn-home healthcare is an inspiring field to work in. Each day leaves open dozens of opportunities to make it easier for older patients to live their limited lifestyles. Without the proper know-how, nonetheless, your output may be seen as a burden rather than help. Here are four ways in which you can help out without delaying your team's work progress and adding up to their workload.

Show Up on Time

Just like with any profession or field you enter, showing up on time is a professional courtesy in the home healthcare field. Many new workers think that, because it's more of a laid-back home-based situation, they can take advantage of the schedule. Showing up late means one of your coworkers or a family member will have to pick up your slack until you arrive, not to mention being tardy looks bad on your professional image.

Focus on Individual Needs

Not all home patients have the same set of needs. Some patients will require help with mobility and range of motion exercises while others are more interested in accompaniment and having someone to talk to about their daily lives. In order to help out without conflicting with the patient's needs, you have to know the specific conditions they are in and what specific interventions must be done to elevate their standard of living.

Learn Continuously

Learning doesn't just end when you get your college diploma. In fact, most of the knowledge taught in schools are theoretical. You'll have to go into the real world and collect applicable experience and information. Learn continuously and stay updated by taking more classes that improve your professional aptitude. Online programs for master's degrees in Nursing, for instance, allow you to handle a wider set of health conditions. (Click here for more information)

Manage Your Time Wisely

Begin your day by listing the specific set of tasks you'll need to accomplish before your shift ends. Use this as a guide to know how much time you can allot for the patient's specific needs. For instance, you can allot 30 minutes to an hour to feed the patient, after which you can give medication, which is given a time allotment of 10 minutes tops.

Helping out others who are in need shouldn't just be part of the job. You want to help them out without being a burden to their families or to your coworkers, if any. The tips above should help you navigate this fairly thin line.

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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, February 2017 Newsletter

Home Care Software Geek Shows You How Google Stores Your Data

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jan 18, 2017 10:25:00 AM

The Home Care Software Geek posts in this blog don't talk about Home Care Nursing Software, Private Duty Telephony, DME Delivery Software, Care Transitions or the other topics we focus on regularly at Ankota. Instead, these posts are intended to keep our readers up to date with technology trends that might be useful to your agencies, such as social media technologies, mobile devices, and what's happening with bigger companies like MicrosoftGoogle and Apple.

sky-383823_640.jpgAbout a month ago, I shared a post about how cloud computing works and some of its advantages. With today's technology and the proven security and reliability of the cloud, there's really no reason for home care agencies to run software on local computers at their offices. You do, however, need to make sure that the software partners you choose are capable of providing you with HIPAA compliant and HITECH compliant solutions. Make sure to ask about this and to have your vendors sign a HIPAA Business Associates Agreement (BAA) with you.

Shifting subjects completely, I love when a movie takes me to an interesting place that I've never been before and will likely never be. If the subject is riveting, the two hours in the theater flies by. I'm not sure that this subject matter is going to be quite as riveting but I highly recommend that you spend up to 5 minutes to watch this video about how Google stores data and makes sure that it is accessible to you and highly available. 

In my most recent cloud computing article, I suggested that you are likely to have higher uptime, better security and lower costs in the cloud today and not only that, it's better for the environment.

You'll probably never have the occasion to go to a data center like the one shown in the video, but hopefully now that you've seen it, you have a better impression on the safety of your information in the cloud.

I hope that you find the Ankota blog informative and useful for your home care business. It's a free resource to help educate you and your teams. If you have questions about home care software or any of the items we discuss on this blog, please Contact Ankota.

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, February 2017 Newsletter

5 Mistakes to Avoid When You Sell Your Home Care Services

Posted by Ken Accardi on Jan 16, 2017 1:07:00 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).

 

Iseptember2-partners.jpgs your home care agency selling its services to other vendors, programs, and providers? This is a valuable step in your growth process that can generate more revenue, but only when it’s done right. While it may take considerable time (and possibly monetary) investment, selling your services will maximize your ROI. But before you start, you need to make sure you’re not committing these costly mistakes.

Be a Partner — Not a Vendor

Position your home care agency as a partner, not a vendor. Being a partner is a very different relationship than that of a vendor. If you market your services as a vendor, you won’t show the other company what a valuable asset your agency can be. Also, if you position yourself as a vendor, negotiating pricing and obtaining referrals can be a lot more difficult because you are just one of many options. That is not the case when you are a partner who is there for mutual benefit.

Don’t Do All the Talking

While you might have a great sales pitch, now is not the time to use it. Instead, you need to listen to the needs and wants of your referral source. Find out what is important to them (e.g., if they are an independent/assisted living building, keeping their apartments full is crucial to their success). Helping them see you as a partner that can enable them do that is the right way to position yourself. This is a critical step and, if you cannot demonstrate this, you may not be appealing to your referral source.

Pair Your Services With Your Partner’s Needs

Once you know what the referral source is looking for, you can now pair your services with their exact needs. The goal is to fill the gap so that you’re the ideal choice for them. If you just sell your services as a general package, you won’t fulfill what they’re missing and they may be inclined to partner with another agency.

Don’t Guarantee What You Can’t Deliver

While you might have some services that align with your partner’s needs, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Overpromising and then not fulfilling your promises will make you look unreliable. Also, if you promise a specific service to your referral source, you better be able to provide it. For example, if you offered Alzheimer’s care services, you should have adequately trained staff and the capability to provide the service before your partner starts referring business your way.

Be An Expert

If you advertise that you are a specialist in a disease like Alzheimer’s or CHF or Diabetes, provide the training and ongoing education to make it true. A one-hour in-service on the subject in orientation does NOT make your staff experts in the disease. Be sure that you are providing a strong basic education and ongoing education throughout the year that demonstrates your commitment to ensuring that your employees are indeed the experts in that area.

Partnerships are integral to the success of your home care agency, as long as they’re setup properly. If you position yourself as a valuable partner and help your referral source where they need it most, it can be a highly profitable relationship. If you’re not sure how to market your home care agency, schedule a consultation with a consultant at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. Our team can help you sell your services and appeal to referral sources so that you can continue to grow your business.

This article, 5 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN YOU SELL YOUR HOME CARE SERVICES 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

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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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