Tim Rowan, a 30+ year home care veteran and publisher of Home Care Tech Report is the clearing house for technology advancement in home care. In this area of home care heroes Tim advises agencies on 3 key items:
- Managing the online reputation of your agency,
- A new breakthrough in screening for caregivers with the right mindset, and
- The emergence of client/family engagement technologies in Private Duty
The best way for you to work with Tim is to start with his free services including the Home Care Tech Report weekly newsletter. (You can subscribe at homecaretechreport.com).
Tim also has a buyer's guide to help you find the right home care software for your agency. The link for this site is http://homecaretechnology.info. Lastly Tim's other services including arrangements for conference speaking engagements and consulting are available at rowanresources.com.
Home Care Heroes is produced and sponsored by Ankota - the Software for the Heroes of Home Care. We truly embrace the notion that caregivers and home care companies are heroes. Our top priorities simplicity, caregiver retention and outstanding service. Visit us at https://www.ankota.com.
Watch the interview for this episode on Youtube:
Today on home care heroes, we have Tim Rowen. He's a 30 year veteran of the home care industry and publishes from care technology report. He has a lot to share.
Welcome to the home care heroes podcast, featuring trending topics and practical wisdom for success in home care. Here's your host, Ken Accardi.
Ken Accardi (00:24):
Welcome to home care heroes. I have a fantastic guest today. His name is Tim Rowan and I've known Tim since I joined the industry, which was almost 10 years ago. Tim publishes religiously something called home care tech report. And he is really considered by everybody. I know to be the guru of technology in the home care industry. Welcome Tim!
Tim Rowan (00:48):
Thank you very much, Ken. I'm really happy to be here with you.
Ken Accardi (00:52):
Well, it's a thrill to have you. I was thinking that home care heroes is about recruiting and retaining caregivers and loving our caregivers.. So I thought we might start there and talk about what is going on with technology having to do with recruiting and retention. I know that one thing you mentioned before we started was about home care websites and online reputation. Is that where you could let us know what's going on and share some things that are important for agency owners to know about their online reputation?
Tim Rowan (01:23):
Yeah, sure thing. I hope that everybody understands that with the title of your series. I'm not the hero here, but it's the caregivers and the nurses and the rest of them who are on the front lines and how much I respect and honor what they do. One of the things that I have learned for about the past four years is that competition is, has become a pretty serious thing, especially in the private duty side andthe Medicaid side, Medicare is different because of the physician referral, but competition inthe nonmedical and the Medicaid side of the industry has become pretty severe. And I'm probably not saying anything that you don't already know, but when somebody is in need of in-home services, it's not usually the 70, 80, 90 year old person, who's going through the yellow pages and finding somebody to call, to look for help.
Tim Rowan (02:21):
Right? It's that stereotypical adult daughter who lives 500 to 2000 miles away. And they don't look at the yellow page. If they don't live in town, they don't have your yellow pages. And so they go online. They know what they're looking for in home care services, but they don't know who they're looking for. And so they might Google, "home care in Sioux falls, South Dakota" or whatever. And they'll get a list of several home care agencies. And now they're thinking "what do I do?" I don't know which one is going to be the best one for mom. So with these people, generally these people in their forties, fifties, and sometimes sixties. They're shopping for their parents. They read the reviews, they find you on Google. They look for how many Google review stars you have and they don't just call you because they see you've got a lot.
Tim Rowan (03:21):
You've got four and a half, five stars. They still click in and read the reviews. Problem in home care is the most people don't pay attention to that. Most, most home care agency operators have done a lot of work with their website and SEO. But this, this review thing is in the arena that we call it local SEO. And in that the reviews are aimed at people who are looking for something in the neighborhood, pizza parlors, restaurants, barbers, you want somebody in, within walking distance to your house, right? But home care you, you are somebody 500, 600 miles away trying to find something for mom. You don't know one from the other. So if you don't pay attention to your online reputation, you will not likely get that phone call from the faraway adult daughter. They will read the reviews. They'll pick the one that everybody is the happiest with. And, and they will call that the way this works is if you go to Google and you type in home care in your city, you're going to get three results. Just the top three. And, and how to get into the top three is a number of different ways in the Google algorithm. But positive reviews are one of the most important ones. And then under those three, there's a button that says more businesses. Nobody ever clicks on that. So, yeah. Yeah. Go ahead.
Ken Accardi (05:03):
Just less like recap a couple things. So first of all, this local search is very important. And as you, especially, if you're a smaller agency, you put up your website, it's going to be really hard to find your way to the first page of Google on your own. But there is this magical thing called Google, my business, which you can go and sign up your business for, for free. And you could then Google is going to do some things to verify you and say, Oh, these guys are bonafide and I see that they actually do provide home care in Wellesley, Massachusetts. And once you are bonafide with them, then you could specify your geographies that you cover. And then as I said, you're not going to maybe make it on your own to that first page in the Google search. But Google has that top of the page. And when they see near me or in Wellesley, Massachusetts, or in Sioux falls, they're going to jump immediately to that display. That's going to give you the map with the top three, and then they're going to use those online reviews to determine as one of the big things, who's going to make the top three. So yeah. And that's what I wanted to recap.
Tim Rowan (06:13):
Yes. The Google, my business system, the Google, my business page system is a blessing and a curse because you don't build it. You don't ask for it. You don't tell Google, Hey, please give me a Google my business page. They just do it. If they find you and they create a Google my business page for you. And if you've never looked at it and never claimed it and customized it put in your phone number and your hours and linked it to your website, people can still leave reviews there, even though you've never even looked at the page and you wouldn't, if there's negative reviews and you don't pay attention to your Google, my business page, it's still there and it can help or hurt you. Right? Okay.
Ken Accardi (06:58):
Now let's say that we wanted it to help us, right? So now we we've gotten there. We found, and maybe claimed our Google, my business listing. We've put our picture there. We put a link to the website. We put our hours and we have clients who love us, what are some things that an agency could do to try to get those positive reviews?
Tim Rowan (07:19):
Well, the first thing you do is you ask for them, but you're going to be careful to only ask of certain people, right? Google doesn't like it. When you filter reviews, they like it to be random, but still, you can say to someone, someone who has given you a compliment, you can say something thank you so much for saying that. Listen, could you do me a favor? We get all this extra credit. If you could repeat what you just said, and we can put it online where other people can hear what you think of us, you ask it gently like that of someone you already know is happy. And then the reviews begin to accumulate. And the advantage of that is if you ever do get a negative one and it happens, you can bury it. So you can't, you can't get Google to take it down. They won't do that. And unless something odd happens, like somebody wrote a review of the wrong company, but you can outnumber it 10 to one 20 to one, a hundred to one. And then it disappears in your, your star rating goes up into the four, four point five numbers and have real likelihood that people will read the positive reviews. Then people don't instinctively seek out your Google business page and write a review, usually, unless they're upset. And so you have to ask the happy customers to do it for you,
Ken Accardi (08:46):
Tim, at the end of this, we're going to swing back and we're gonna talk about some services that you offer that might be able to help in these areas. But I wanted to cover a couple of other topics with you. So let me shift gears on you for a moment. I read a really interesting article on home care tech report a few weeks ago about a company that is having a real positive impact on choosing caregivers who will come to your company and stick with your company and the technology. It sounds like artificial intelligence. And it's amazing. Could you tell the audience a little bit more about what you've heard there?
Tim Rowan (09:19):
Yeah. You're talking about the product review I did in my January six edition. The company is called Miller match. Millie comes from the French word for thousand and match comes from the idea that they help you to find a new hire who is right for your company. Best way to explain it, I've found is, is to ask agency owners, have you ever had the problem of hiring somebody and then putting them through orientation and training, and then they never take the first shift they disappear? The estimates I have heard is that cost $4,500 and up when, when you go through that whole process. So what these people have done is they've leveraged a technology called applied cognitive linguistics, and then they've patented a procedure whereby they can come up with a list of five or six questions that the candidate who's applying to your job for your company online has to answer in written text.
Tim Rowan (10:24):
They, they suggest two or three sentences. At least some people write a lot. If they're inspired by a particular question, they'll ask a question like when in your life have you been a caregiver and they'll talk about their grandmother and things like that. But what the, what the the technology does is it actually analyzes the words that they choose to use. Granted, I don't claim to understand it, but I have seen the results. They've done a number of pilots across the country. And in these home care agencies, mostly private duty home care agencies. They have reduced bad hires by 20, 30, 40%. And if it does cost 4,500 each time, it saves a fortune. So I'm really high on this new technology. I've met the people there they're really smart people. The the technology is based on some long time respected science and they have patented the procedure. So I'm going to be talking about it more in my newsletter and in my consulting practice, I'll be, frankly, I'll be recommending it to agencies.
Ken Accardi (11:40):
Yeah. It sounded I think in the article it said that it had been piloted in a certain number of branches of a franchise called I believe, comfort care or care. Right, right. And that they are expanding it more broadly within their company. Then Millie match the company you mentioned is going to make it more broadly available to other agencies as well. So that, that does sound like a real breakthrough. Fantastic. All right. Hey, let me let me sift over to a subject that has long time been near and dear to your heart, which is tele-health. And we make software for home care, and we've actually integrated tele-health. So screen sharing like a FaceTime or WhatsApp, but in a secure and HIPAA compliant way into our caregiver app. So that day, that supervisory nurse, wants to understand a little bit better, what that wound looks like on Mrs. Johnson. They could see that, or more importantly, just picking up on this idea of, you have, let's say using Billy mats, you found this great caregiver they've gotten on board, but this is their first time being a caregiver. And they're experiencing things that they heard about in training, but now they're experiencing them for the first time. And, with COVID, we're probably not doing as many onsite visits and that type of thing. So we've added, telehealth to our caregiver app and, and we're starting to see some adoption of that, but you were telling me that you're seeing a tele-health is, is shifting a little bit, and it's, it's a little bit less medical and a little bit more toward the family and things like that. So tell me, what, what are you seeing in tele-health in 2021?
Tim Rowan (13:14):
Well, this is an evolution, but it's not the first one of the whole remote patient monitoring arena. The first tele-health system that I saw, I was still working for a home health agency in Colorado. I think it was 1995 when I saw this, this big desktop two way video system. And I thought, Oh, this is this going to change home care. And then CMS decided not to support it and reimburse for it and it floundered. And and then it got smaller. You have to, you have to remember when I, when I started in, in home care in 1993 we were excited about going from the 15 pound laptops to a Palm pilot. Okay. And what's happening today? I think there's a confluence of different technologies that can be all wrapped up into a single device or a software only device agnostic system.
Tim Rowan (14:22):
So, I've, I've, I've seen all the changes. I've seen the advanced weight scales and Bluetooth coming in. And people creating software that runs on a tablet and they don't care whose blood pressure cuff you use, they'll all work. And it's, it's gone from where you have to buy a bunch of equipment to, you just have to buy a bunch of pieces and maybe let the customer buy them. And then you just support them. So, but what I've seen happening and, people call me when they've got a new technology that they want me to write about somebody, I can get a feel for the trends and the most recent trend that is exploding is not only remote patient monitoring, not only tele-health, but I would describe it as patient communication. I'm talking about usually a handheld, usually, maybe just a cell phone app and Peru, it, you can create a team of patients, family, physician specialists, on care, nurse, home care aid, home care, a therapist, and private duty.
Tim Rowan (15:33):
They can all come into the same team when the, if the patient has to temporarily go to a nursing home or to a hospital and back, those can be included. And what happens on the device is you can create custom groups. So you might have a group of everybody who's ever touched the patient and you send out a secure text message, or, like the Marco polo app, you hold it up and send a secure video message, and everybody can see it. Or you can say, Oh, this is medical. This is life-threatening, let's exclude the family until we know what's going on. So you create a group of just the caregivers and you communicate. But within that, the patient gets the benefit of all the other things. The visit reminders, the doctor reminders, the medication, reminders, communication with family. Some of them just use it to participate remotely in a kid's birthday and grandkids birthday. So you don't have, everybody's been talking about since the COVID isolation, a lot of the elderly people are suffering from loneliness and depression. This is an aspect of tele-health and aspect of remote patient monitoring that gets into the social determinants of health arena and keeps them from being as lonely. What I've described as a compilation of several of the different tools I've seen. But recently, just in the last year, I talked to almost a dozen companies that are offering something like this.
Ken Accardi (17:00):
Very interesting. I think that's going to be an important trend, the concept, it takes a village. And then if you, if you can empower the support circle around this loved one. So let's say it's more your family support and your family and friends support, or it's more your, your care team on the medical side, or maybe like you said, there's the supergroup that has both. And then the subgroups that are a little bit more specialized within that, that, that, that really becomes a very powerful way of looking at the social determinants of health and combating social isolation and, and a lot of things. So I think that that probably is a really, really important trends of, what we should expect next and, communication around. I don't want to say our patients because usually a nonmedical care, we call them our clients or our loved ones, but, but that's a really, really great trend. I will let
Tim Rowan (17:50):
and can just real quickly, like we talked about before those adult children rarely live nearby. And so when they're incorporated in these virtual conversations, then you get far fewer phone calls to the office from hundreds of people everyday saying, Hey, can you tell me how mom's doing? Because they know, and, and then to get back to your first question, then you can add on the Bluetooth vital sign devices into the same map, and then now it becomes tele-health.
Ken Accardi (18:20):
Perfect. That's really great. So Tim, you're such a wealth of knowledge and information, so thank you for that. just to recap today, we talked about your online reputation, Google my business. We went from there to a great new technology. That sounds like it's emerging for helping you screen your caregiver applicants, just by looking at the natural language of what they've written in response to some questions, we talked about family coordination, support circles, tele-health all these different types of things. So, so Tim, I can't imagine that the people who are listening to home care heroes don't know who you are or how to get in touch with you, but just in case they don't, how could they engage with you and, and sharing some of the knowledge that you share with the world?
Tim Rowan (19:01):
Well, of course the easiest way is to subscribe for free to my weekly newsletter. And you can do that firstname.lastname@example.org and there's a free subscription button there. There's also a search feature. I've never thrown away an article I've written since I went electronic in 2005. So if you use the search feature and there's a topic you want to look into, you can find it going all the way back. My contact information is always available within the newsletter. The other thing that I offer is another free service to the industry called the home care technology buyers guide. And with this people who are shopping for software can use the tool to describe exactly the technology they're looking for and the algorithm within the database we'll come back and give them a short list of company names that fit what they're looking for. And then they can click on the company name and do a little research on them and go to their website and, and contact them if they want to, or the guide can contact them for you, and there's a system where it automatically sends out RFP type emails, and that's free for the users too.
Ken Accardi (20:16):
Fantastic. Okay. So let me just recap all of that. So it's homecaretechreport.com. So it's all one word home care tech report and your contact information is there. Don't forget that when you get there, you can search. So if you're interested in a certain type of technology or anything that is there in the archive, you can search for it. And then there's the home care tech buyer's guide that you can find out about from there as well. And to get in touch with Tim, the best way is to start by getting the guide and, reading up and getting used to seeing that flow and seeing what the trends are in the industry. And if you do need help from, Tim, he's a fantastic guy, and I'm really thankful for having Tim on home care heroes today.
Tim Rowan (20:48):
The way to find the guide is a little bit different. It's home care technology dot info. That's how you find the guide. And if you forget all of that, I have a master website that gives you links to all the things I do. And that's at Rowanresources.com.
Ken Accardi (21:23):
Okay, great. I'll just make sure I have all those, as you said, in the notes of the podcast/ So I'll make sure that it's in the notes, but we have a home care tech report.com we hope have home care technology. That info is where the buyer's guide is. And then Rowan resources.com is where they can find out all about you. And I'll make sure that all of those are listed in there. All right. Well, Tim, thank you so much for taking time with us today and we look forward to catching up soon.
Tim Rowan (21:50):
Thanks very much for having me, Ken, and thank you for all you do for the industry too.
Thanks for joining us today on the home care heroes podcast. Home care heroes is produced by Ankota, the software for the heroes of home care. You can listen to back episodes by visiting 4homecareheroes.com. That's the number four. Then the words, home care heroes dot com.