The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

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

Growth Hacking Tips for Home Care via Startup Marketing

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 31, 2016 9:21:00 AM

Ankota's marketing director, Jed Hammel doesn't come from the home care world but instead is an expert is social media marketing, filmmaking, event planning and more.  Jed wrote today's article about a term coined by the startup world, "Growth Hacking" and how its methodology can be incorporated into your home care agency's marketing strategy.  

computer.jpg"Growth Hacking" is a term thrown around pretty heavily in the tech, startup, and marketing worlds.  I've noticed that it's use is quickly extending to a wide variety of other industries as well.  Because it is being adopted by different industries, I felt a primer about growth hacking would be useful to our audience here on the Ankota blog.

What is Growth Hacking?

From my perspective, that growth hacking has become a buzzword is ironic because its intended purpose exemplifies the exact opposite.  Growth hacking is being solely focused on and using whatever means at your disposal to bring in as many users or leads into your sales funnel as quickly as possible.  In traditional marketing, often there is a team leader managing a department with different skill sets who work together to create ongoing marketing campaigns.  But for an early stage startup, there is often not enough money, time, or need for all of that.  

Often, a growth hacker has marketing, coding, and design experience.  But at its core, growth hacking is simply focusing on the quickest, most cost-effective way to grow your business.  That all said, others define growth hacking in different terms. 

Uber growth hacker Andrew Chen offers this as a definition:

"Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries. If a startup is pre-product/market fit, growth hackers can make sure virality is embedded at the core of a product."

An excerpt from an article from Hubspot (one of the leading inbound marketing companies in the world) entitled "The Essential Reading List for Growth Hackers: 15 Experts to Follow" explains growth hacking this way:

"Although I see a lot of different definitions surrounding this buzzword, I like growth hacker Aaron Ginn’s summation the best: 'A growth hacker is someone whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology.'"

And famed growth hacker, Neil Patel (who has an irreverent opening line that may shock some folks) describes it as:

"Growth hackers, using their knowledge of product and distribution, find ingenious, technology-based, avenues for growth that sometimes push the bounds of what is expected or advised."

Patel offers this useful resource, "The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking" which I suggest that you take a look at it via clicking the previous link  But as a start, here are some key concepts and tips that the guide offers:

1.)  What is Growth Hacking?

2.)  The Profile of a Growth Hacker

3.)  The Growth Hacking Process

4.)  The Growth Hacking Funnel

5.)  Pull Tactics for Getting Visitors

6.)  Push Tactics for Getting Visitors

7.)  Product Tactics for Getting Visitors

8.)  How to Activate Members

9.)  How to Retain Users

10.)  Tools and Terminology

But What If I'm not a Coder?

And for those of us who are not coders or as tech savvy as others mat be, Kissmetrics (another leader of inbound marketing, SEO, and online marketing,) offers this in their article: "35 Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers Who Don't Code":

"[Traditional] marketers who can’t program are perfectly poised to take on growth-centric roles as long as they have a technical mindset; in other words, they should possess a deep understanding of technology––how people interact with it, the latest developments and trends, how different tools and platforms integrate with one another and what data is important for making smart decisions."

I see a future where traditional marketing, inbound marketing, and growth hacking are all a part of any business' marketing strategy.  I also feel that growth hacking concepts may not be the best tool for every business or industry.  That said, I do feel that it can be a useful tool in your marketing tool box and that the growth hacking mindset will continue its, ah, growth as time goes on.

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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

When Will Smart Tech Become a Key Part of Home Care Services?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 19, 2016 8:17:00 AM

Today's guest post is from Beth Kelly who has been featured on this blog several times in the past. One of today's big technology areas receiving a lot of hype is the Internet of Things (IoT) and many articles talk about how this smart home technologies will impact home care and healthcare in general. In my opinion most of these articles are over-hyped and the reality is that adoption will take much longer. Beth's article, below, speaks to this reality and provides a balanced view of the likely adoption curves. My recommendation for home care agencies is to read through the post to become more familiar with IoT and Smart Tech for home care.

Smart home systems and objects connected to the “Internet of Things” could engage and support the wellbeing of aging seniors, but their success depends entirely upon how well they fit with their values, life skills and perception of this technology.

Automatic Wifi thermostats can keep temperatures comfortable without any manual intervention, alarm systems connect to a caregiver’s smartphone for remote monitoring, and smart light bulbs mean no more dangerous stumbling around in the dark. While we can see today how these technological gifts might make aging in place a little easier down the road, the reality remains that older individuals are slow to adopt home automation devices in significant numbers. For all the hype and media glory, a mainstream deployment of “smart” systems has yet to truly bridge the generation gap.  

communication-1439187_640.jpgOlder adults represent the fastest-growing demographic worldwide, and the fastest-growing demographic on social media. Large technology firms are eager to gain the trust and loyalty of this valuable audience, producing assistive technologies and sensors that may help contribute to a new sense of security and personal empowerment at the user’s home. However, not enough is done to understand the complexities behind older person’s perceptions of so-called “gerontechnologies” and other new Internet-enabled home products. The reasons for a reticence towards new technology are vast, and depend largely upon the individual, but in the race to make all homes “smart”, we shouldn’t be so fast to banish room for a few dumb questions.

Adoption rates for Facebook, e-book readers and medical alert pendants are high among senior citizens because these solutions address real needs, and provide meaningful social and healthcare connections with little nervous hassle in the process. Other new innovative technologies, perhaps a step removed from a senior’s immediate benefit, risk inducing feelings of frustration, computer anxiety, and negative self-efficacy beliefs.  

Released last month, Apple's Home app interface is intended to make smart home systems smooth and intuitive for users of all ages. But to see how it may fare in the senior market specifically, we need only look at a similar Apple product to see the stumbling blocks that lie ahead. Developed just a couple of years ago, the HealthKit framework and Health app were meant to enable the integration and management of data from fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors and other health-related equipment. Poor support from third-party manufacturers, possible privacy concerns and a couple of launch bugs made HealthKit a non-starter. At that time, consumers could see little reason to invest in a tool that provided neither “convenience” nor positive “connectivity.”

network-782707_640.pngFrom the outside looking in, challenges inherent to the set-up, use, and maintenance of smart home technology may at first seem insurmountable. A bewildering array of incompatible standards, security gaps and confusing installation instructions mean that any would-be user of automated home tech must really do his or her homework before buying any devices. Another barrier to entry for consumers, and especially older people on fixed incomes, is cost. When the Philips Smart lighting system retails for more than $100, and the Nest Learning Thermostat sets buyers back more than $200, many on a retirement budget are opting to just make do with their old, incandescent light bulbs and hand-operated, analog thermostats.

A 2014 report from Pew Research attempted to document the usage of modern technology by those 65 years old or older. It found that broadband internet was used by fewer than half of this population. While 77 percent of seniors had a cellphone, only 18 percent were equipped with an Internet-enabled model. It's likely that these numbers have increased slightly from when the survey was conducted, but it's fair to say that the majority of older folks don't even possess the prerequisite equipment to begin using smart home products even if the other issues with the industry were solved overnight.

Now, on its next go-around, the Home app sends fresh appeal to all Apple smartphone users. Installed in all phones as a part of the most recent iOS 10 Apple software update it points the way towards greater convenience and comfort for everyone, including older users. Additional steps in this direction are being taken right now with five major home-building organizations announcing support for HomeKit in their newly constructed houses. More companies are sure to follow suit.

If we can’t understand our own needs, how can we expect to program for them? We're not quite there yet, but as prices come down and more Baby Boomers take “smart” tech in stride, the next generation of seniors will push for the IoT market to grow relative to their individual desires and demands.

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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

5 Diseases That Homecare Caregivers Should Know About

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 17, 2016 11:55:00 AM

Today's guest Blogger is Lizzie Weakley.  Lizzy is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  Twitter: @LizzieWeakley.  Her article shares some ailments that private-duty homecare caregivers may come across with their clients.

Elder Care

Many seniors face health challenges in the form of conditions and diseases. Several of these diseases can be prevented when steps are taken early or can easily be managed with the proper care. Take the steps now to stave off these diseases and enjoy good health in the senior years.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's is a form of dementia that causes memory loss, problems with carrying out a conversation and the decline in the ability to care for oneself. The disease may be able to be slowed down or prevented by taking steps to keep the brain healthy. Just like the other muscles in the body, the brain must be exercised. Reading, crossword puzzles and word problems help strengthen the brain. Additionally, eating a diet high omega-3 fatty acids can help boost brain function, keeping it healthy.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes bones to lose their mass, making them brittle and fragile. Seniors with osteoporosis are more susceptible to broken bones and serious injuries during falls. Health professionals, such as those with an online gerontology degree, work to find solutions to elderly diseases, such as osteoporosis. Eating a diet rich in calcium and doing weight-bearing exercises can strengthen bones and prevent bone loss from occurring.

Heart Disease

Heart disease affects the heart and blood vessels and can stop the organs of the body from receiving vital oxygen and nutrients via the blood. Taking care of the heart with a healthy diet and regular exercise can help prevent heart disease from occurring. Smoking causes the blood vessels to narrow and puts individuals more at risk of heart disease. Stop smoking now to help prevent heart problems in the future.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

One of the leading cases of blindness in seniors, age-related macular degeneration causes blindness in the center part of the eye in the macula. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent the disease from occurring. Sunglasses that block ultraviolet and HEV light should always be worn outdoors in order to protect the delicate vessels in the eye.

Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer is able to use the insulin that is being produced, causing excess glucose to remain in the blood. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney problems, blindness and nerve problems. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a diet low in refined carbohydrates can prevent the body from becoming insulin resistant, a precursor to diabetes.

The senior years should be spent enjoying the freedom of retirement, rather than the stresses of poor health. Take steps today to prevent these diseases from occurring and enjoy the senior years in good health.

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

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

Click Here for a Free Demo

7_habits_effective_home_care-4.jpg

 

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

 

 

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

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

Is Nurse-Tech In Home Care's Future?

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 13, 2016 8:16:17 AM

Today's guest post comes from Dixie Somers, a freelance writer from Arizona. Her post highlights several ways that technology is impacting the role and practice of nursing. I've had the privilege of meeting many home care nurses and have experienced a mixed set of reviews when it comes to technology. Most nurses pride themselves on their strong combination of medical knowledge and skill in care delivery and don't want technology to get in the way. This conversation has mostly come up when discussing point-of-care documentation where there is a strong preference for most nurses to focus on the patient and their health at the point of care and not to encumber that care or make it impersonal with a laptop. I do believe however that technology that improves care will be embraced by nurses. Please enjoy Dixie's article.

How_Changes_in_Nursing_Technology_Will_Affect_Healthcare.jpgTechnological advancements are tantamount to the growth of any industry, especially the healthcare industry. These advancements in technology are especially prevalent in the nursing field. Technology has visibly changed the way registered nurses (RNs) administer patient care, made their jobs less physically demanding and safer, and limited human error while improving workflow.

However, with all that current technology has done to improve the field, more technologies are being adopted to improve it even more. This technology includes, Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR), Tech-driven Drug Delivery, Real Time Locating Systems, Advanced Diagnostic Tools, and Advanced Communication Systems.

Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR)

Filling out patient charts and having to obtain patient medical records from doctors is time-consuming, and can take a nurse away from more important duties. However, EHR technology is changing this. EHR gives nurses instant access to patient information through the use of a computer or tablet. Extensive patient history is stored in one file, which can help reduce human error. The technology is useful in keeping track of diagnostic test results and alerting the nursing staff to possible drug interactions.

Tech-Driven Drug Delivery

The implementation of drug delivery systems in the form of implantable devices is growing in popularity amongst hospitals. These devices release medication into patients in certain intervals. Nurses can use the devices to schedule complex dosing, which ensures medications are administered at the right time and in the right amounts. This is paramount to reducing human error, as well as allowing nurses to give more time to other aspects of patient care.

Real Time Locating Systems

Real time locating systems (RTLS) are a lot like GPS except that they're designed for medical equipment. This technology is designed to create a system of tagging and tracking medical equipment for hospitals and other facilities. The goal is to increase efficiency in medical facilities. Ultrasound and/or infrared, and radiofrequency identification tags are used to help nurses find the equipment they need by locating machines that are closest to them. Being able to centrally monitor equipment will improve patient care routines and bed management, which is a great responsibility for nurses.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools

Diagnostic exams can be invasive, but advanced tools can change this while making these procedures more comfortable for nurses and patients. Advanced tools have given nurses even more options for performing minimally invasive treatments and tests. This will make exams and treatments more cost-effective and will reduce a patient's risk of future infections. Some examples of these tools or the nanotechnology of an ultrasound to place a peripheral IV (PIV) and handheld biosensors to detect diseases from small body specimens.

Advanced Communication Systems

Advanced communication systems are being adopted by some hospitals to help nurses communicate with other staff members. This advancement will allow nurses to speak, text, and receive patient alarms through a smartphone outfitted with specialized apps. Smartphone devices will effectively replace outdated paging systems. They are also a more effective way for entire nursing units to communicate, stay in touch, and allocate and supervise duties efficiently.

Although these technological advancements in the nursing field have great potential for improving the healthcare industry, they merely scratch the surface. Other technologies, such as smart alarms and improvements in patient lifting technology are also improving the industry. Thanks to these improvements, the jobs of those in the healthcare industry are becoming more efficient with more opportunities for career advancements. You might consider earning a master’s of science in nursing if you’d like to make a career of utilizing technologies like these for the benefit of others.

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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

5 Ways to Differentiate your Home Care Agency

Posted by Ken Accardi on Oct 7, 2016 11:22:15 AM

Today's guest blogger is Christine Rudolf If you're looking for a way to illustrate to folks the value of home care, here are some tips: 

PeasWhen it comes to health, there is no compromise in this department and hence the rising trend of home care agencies has made this market highly competitive. With the old-age desire to age gracefully and preferably within the comforts of your own home, the in-home care agencies are expanding at a rapid pace. Hence it goes without doubt that you need to set yourself apart from the crowd and give your customers the reasons to trust their old one’s health in your hands and service.

Customer Specific and Health-Targeted Services

Not every elder patient has the same ailment or is going through similar health conditions such that they can fall under a general category and be treated like everyone else. You need to convince your prospective clients that they understand your loved one’s condition and will serve them to the best of their abilities. A quality home care agency prides on the fact that their services are customized as per the patient’s mental and physical conditions. For instance, you could create meaningful exercises for patients with dementia to improve his cognitive skills but treat a heart or diabetic patient in a different manner.

Customer Care Service of Utmost Importance

It goes unsaid that happy clients lead to positive word of mouth, which can do wonders for your business. The service industry relies mainly on client satisfaction as without them you are nothing. Sometimes, one gets so involved in taking care of the substantial part of the service that we often forget to make the client feel at home with the personalized feeling you add to your services. Your clients will only recommend your personal care and assistance services to their friends and relatives if you effectively manage it and do not leave any stone unturned in creating that feeling of intimacy and interpersonal touch. Placing your clients on a pedestal is what drives you to success.

Going One Step Ahead with Accountability Checks

What you need to do is to make your clients know that their health concerns and safety comes first even before your business or profits. Trusting a loved one’s responsibility in your hands is not an overnight decision and you have to give them all the reason not to regret their decision. If you value your caregivers and train and equip them in the best possible manner, the same value will automatically be conveyed to your clients, helping them place greater confidence in your services.

Carry out background checks and advertise specialty trainings that your caregivers undergo. Hire the most polite and eloquent caregiver, whose personality will create the major effect. A true caregiving agency that cares for its customers will go above and beyond to guarantee the clients the tailor-made services that they require. Let your client choose the personality and caregiving style of the caregiver so that they are most satisfied with your services. 

Home Care Technology 

The most important determinant when choosing a home-care agency is the quality of care provided. A vigorous home-care system who is dedicated to deliver unparalleled services may rely heavily on home care software that can provide substantial proof to your clients regarding their credibility. Displaying to your clients what your home care system is capable of offering will entice them into signing up for your services and will help you better manage and deliver as per the expectations of the client. The other agencies which are deprived of proper software will obviously come out as less organized and hence people will prefer you over them.

Align your day to day operations and activities at work with simple software and home-care technology which can integrate various types of information regarding locations, environments and different customer preferences and requirements. Knowing your patients personally and keeping their medical history in mind will prevent any mistakes on your part.

Giving Back to the Community 

Associating your home care agency with a social cause can bring your business into limelight. Nothing surpasses the joy of serving your community selflessly. You are already doing the elder generation a great favor by providing them with the best of what you can. Sponsor concerts, or football or baseball matches for fund-raising to support a health care cause. Not only will you be portrayed as a proactive agency but your care and concern for the community will also shine through.

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If you're looking for other ways to differentiate, you may want to download our white paper, Why Care Ankota_New_White_Paper.pngTransitions Is The Next Big Thing for the Home Care Industry If you're interested in learning more, just click the link to download.

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, November 2016 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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