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How Will Self-Driven Trucks And Autos Impact Health Care?

 

The Impact of Self-Driven Trucks and Autos On The Home Care Business

“Tractor-trailers without a human at the wheel will soon barrel onto highways near you. What will this mean for the nation’s 1.7 million truck drivers?” Article by David H. Freedman.

According to an article written in the MIT Technology Review It is predicted that this technology is at least 5 to 10 years away from general use, self -driven trucks and autos will dramatically change health care and the world we live in.

Imagine an elderly person who can no longer drive and must rely on family or caregivers to take them to the doctor, the beauty parlor or barbershop, the grocery store etc.  In the future, they will simply call a self-driven car or get into their own car and direct it to where they want to go.

Think of the time and travel savings for home health field staff.  They can have the self-driven car at their disposal.  They can program it to go on the appointed route for the day.  While they are driving to and in between appointments they can be doing charting and scheduling, as well as communicating with other providers.  This will allow for immediate documentation and communications which frequently must be done at the end of the day.  Not only will productivity improve, but accuracy of documentation and efficiency of communications.

The innovations happening in the self-driven vehicles will have an impact sooner rather than later. Autonomous [self-driven] cars have already driven more than two million miles on U.S. roads in several states, with an eye toward the four million trucks in the U.S. alone.

Ginny Kenyon

 

For  the complete article on self-driven trucks click here…

Technology and Artificial Intelligence, An Age of Disruption Part III

Technology and Artificial Intelligence, An Age of Disruption Part III

Last month I wrote about the rapidly growing use of technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in our industry.  From Carebots to nanobots, we are seeing an evolution that human kind has never experienced.  We are told that the hunter/gather age lasted for several million years, the agricultural about 2 thousand years, the industrial age two centuries and the technological age about 4 decades.  We are now moving into an augmented/AI age much of it already upon us.

We all have heard of and now seen self-driven cars.  Groceries and other stores are beginning to experiment with cashier-less store.  Grocery delivery will also play a large part in the coming changes that allow compromised individuals to remain in their home and be as independent as possible.  Imagine the near future where your patient can call a self-driven care to take them to their appointments. They can order their meals or groceries from their phone, have an app on their phone that will call them with the results of their tests, and explain what they are, and if necessary make an appointment with the appropriate care provider.

“Artificial Intelligence “is rewiring our modern conception of healthcare delivery,” according to a new Accenture report that shows an array of clinical AI applications are already well on their way to saving the industry $150 billion over the next 10 years.”  Healthcare news 2017

The technology represents “a significant opportunity for industry players to manage their bottom line in a new payment landscape,” according to the report, which examined 10 different AI applications, ranked by their potential for cost savings:

  • Robot-assisted surgery – $40 billion
  • Virtual nursing assistants – $20 billion
  • Administrative workflow assistance – $18 billion
  • Fraud detection – $17 billion
  • Dosage error reduction – $16 billion
  • Connected machines – $14 billion
  • Clinical trial participant identifier – $13 billion
  • Preliminary diagnosis – $5 billion
  • Automated image diagnosis – $3 billion
  • Cybersecurity – $2 billion

“As these, and other AI applications gain more experience in the field, their ability to learn and act will continually lead to improvements in precision, efficiency and outcomes,” said Accenture researchers.

Click Hear To learn more in-depth about some of these changes.

New Study Shows RNs Vital to Home Care Technology Success

As home care technology continues to develop, becomes increasingly powerful and more practical, we may be seeing glimpses of what our industry may look like in 100 years. A recent, first-of-its-kind study by the University of California San Francisco is proof. The data demonstrates how cutting-edge home care technology and remote monitoring improves patient outcomes and bottom lines simultaneously.

While the study shows the workability of general remote health care and the need for full staff training for successful implementation, the registered nurses (RNs) were the key. The report highlights the need for RNs who have not only solid basic training and varying experiences but who also receive adequate additional telehealth training.

The Critical Role of RNs in Upgrading Home Care TechnologyHome Care Technology

Remote health monitoring is taking the medical world by storm! And causing a surge in the demand for technology equipped home care organizations. Consequently those agencies employing RNs with telehealth training are able to admit patients who might otherwise require hospital or a nursing home care.

Therefore, these nurses are front and central interpreting remote monitoring data and then moving on-site to verify conclusions and to administer treatments. Oftentimes non-nurses can review data and look for “red flags” before passing this information to the RN. But despite the fact that to a degree all staff members need to adjust to remote monitoring, it’s the RNs who bear the brunt of this transition.

However, RNs need time to adapt and to complete telehealth specific training. Much of this training is on-the-job and program-specific. Most home care technology manufacturers supply training on their products. Some education involves shadowing another RN already experienced in remote monitoring techniques. And there are also modules and online, distance education classes that address this need.

Remote Monitoring, One Piece of the Home Care Puzzle

Many RNs who are familiar with in-home, face to face patient assessments may be uncomfortable with remote monitoring at first. But RNs quickly adapt when given the right tools. However, the second major conclusion of the UC San Francisco study indicates that telehealth care will never fully replace human contact.

The study results show that preventing first-time hospitalizations and reducing readmission rates, were far better when using both remote monitoring and in-home care rather than using just one or the other being exclusively.

It is undeniable!  Advanced home care monitoring, think telehealth, is a useful tool to reduce costs and compliments home visits. Furthermore, there are already moves to incorporate video-conferencing in the near future allowing for remote visual patient assessments. Yet, home visits will always be essential, and RNs with hands-on clinical experience will continue to be the best candidates for remote monitoring training.

Thus, it is no surprise that the UC San Francisco study found the success rates of remote monitoring programs were directly correlated to the provision of supplemental education for RNs.

Patient Reaction to New Home Care Technology

One surprising study finding was that patients were not generally apprehensive or resistant to participating in remote monitoring assessments. Although it had been expected that most patients, especially the elderly would be against the benefits of this technology.

The equipment—highly accurate, reliable, and easy to use—and training participating home care clients, remote monitoring was very well received. And there are other positive facts clients appreciate. Field installers are available to answer follow-up questions and are consistently accessible for troubleshooting and technical support.

In fact, it is providers who worry the most, fearing an unmanageable overload of patient phone calls and follow-up visits. Instead, the most common problem was that many remote monitoring patients were slow to communicate or were unable to adhere to self-management requirements. On the whole, training RNs and patients alike will prevent most bumps in the road and lead to success.

Conclusion

The recent UC San Francisco study only confirms what many of us already know! RN training is a major key to the success of any remote monitoring program. And in-home care will never be 100% replaced.

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we offer homecare staff training, coding outsourcing, and consulting assistance. Let us help you maximize your reimbursements, improve your service delivery and meet your success goals.

To learn more, call us today at 206-721-5091 or complete our online contact form for 30 minutes of free consultation.

 

Cybersecurity Issues: 4 Ways To Safeguard Your Home Care Agency

Issues of security breaches, resulting in the theft of credit card information or loss of access to systems are frequently in the headlines. The healthcare industry and home care are not immune.  We are all responsible for the protection of our patients’ and clients’ personal health information. These protections are mandated for home care organizations by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) and other regulations. Today’s guest post is by Marcus Jensen who is a writer from Australia and the Editor-in- Chief of Technivorz blog. Besides working on Technivorz, his work has been featured on several prominent tech and business editorials. Although the examples cited by Marcus are not specific to home care, his cybersecurity recommendations are applicable to all of us.

Increase in Cybersecurity Issues for HealthcareCyber Security

The last couple of years have not been great cybersecurity-wise for anyone, healthcare organizations included. For instance, in 2015 alone, the Office of Civil Rights reported 253 healthcare data breaches which resulted in a combined loss of 112 million records. The vast majority of the biggest cyber security issues involved outside hacking in 2015.

In 2016, the situation is somewhat different, at least in the healthcare industry. Namely, a relatively large number of cybersecurity incidents included old-fashioned theft of devices such as laptops and simple human errors. In March, for example, Premier Healthcare had a laptop stolen from their billing department and since it was not sufficiently encrypted, data pertaining to more than 200,000 patients was stolen.

Moving away from healthcare for a while, 2016 has seen its share of hacking and other cybersecurity attacks from outside. Wendy’s, Oracle, Weebly and Snapchat are just some of the major players whose cybersecurity was compromised in one way or another in 2016.

According to security experts such as Securelink, 2016 saw an explosion in ransom-ware attacks, many of which aimed at healthcare, educational and even law-enforcement organizations.

If such big players are struggling to keep their data secure, what hope do small home care agencies stand?

Quite a bit of hope, actually. Namely, with a few smart practices and a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, home care agencies can do a lot to keep their data and their patients safe.

Improve Cybersecurity With Education, Education, Education

It may seem like somewhat of a cliché, but when cybersecurity in any kind of an organization is in question, education truly is the cornerstone on which you build everything.

First of all, you as the home care agency owner need to learn as much as you can about cybersecurity, the different kinds of threats and the most common current trends. There are quite a few websites and blogs out there on this subject and it might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with them. This is a great list of cyber security blogs you might want to check out if you have the time.

The next step is ensuring that everyone who works for your agency has had at least the basic cybersecurity training. This will include talks on the importance of strong passwords, not sharing one’s credentials with anyone, not misplacing company devices and more. This training should also include something on social engineering, a practice where an attacker tricks an employee into thinking they are communicating with an official of some kind from some outside agency.

Use Proper Software to Expand Your Cyber security

There are plenty of cybersecurity software solutions out there, from firewalls to anti-malware software and more. Your agency is probably already using some sort of protection, but it never hurts to remind that using such software is a must.

It also has to be pointed out that cybersecurity software has to be allowed to update on a daily basis, sometimes even a few times every day. This provides the anti-malware software installed on your system with the ability to recognize the latest versions of malware.

In case you are employing third-party solutions such as any cloud-based software for other aspects of running your company, make sure that you are using the latest versions of the software and that it is secure. Every point of access to your system needs to be secured and monitored.

Cybersecurity Must Have-Back Up Everything Regularly

We should avoid junk food. We should try and keep our stress levels low. We should exercise every day. We should backup our systems. Most of the time, we follow such instructions. Every now and then, however, we forget about them or choose to ignore them.

When it comes to backing up your home care agency computer system, forgetting it may result in devastating complications.

For example, let’s say that you become a victim of a ransom-ware attack where someone encrypts your data and asks for money in return. Until you pay up (hoping they will actually let you decrypt your data) and decrypt everything, you have no access to your system, your data, anything really. By the time you are certain your system is once again “clean”, you will not have been 100% operational for days, perhaps weeks or even months.

Can you really afford this?

When you back up regularly (meaning every day or every second day at the least), such a situation is effectively prevented. You simply revert back to the most recent backup and the attacker cannot do a thing about it. Of course, this is not the only reason why you should back up your data regularly.

Ensure Physical Safety of Your Devices

In December last year, the Radiology Regional Center in Florida notified patients that some of their data was compromised due to their paper records literally getting lost in the street. Around that same time, a laptop belonging to Valley Hope Association was stolen from an employee’s car. We already mentioned a laptop being stolen from Premier Health’s billing department.

As you can see, patient and agency data can be easily compromised through basic physical access to the devices that store such data or that have access to such data.

Because of this, it is absolutely essential that you have strict policies in place, prescribing the physical safety and security of devices. All of the devices that can provide access to any sensitive patient information need to be accounted for at all times. Secure areas need to be limited to authorized individuals while equipment in less secure and high-traffic areas need to be additionally protected and monitored.

In short, know where your devices are and who has access to them.

Closing Word

In the end, it all comes down to a bit of education and using common sense. Keeping things simple and staying informed and vigilant will do the job in the majority of cases. If you are not 100% certain about what to do and how to behave, talk to professionals and heed their recommendations.

There is only one thing you must never do and that is to underestimate the importance of cyber security in the modern world.

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 here to download.

This article first appeared as “4 Ways Your Home Care Agency Can Safeguard Against Cyber Attacks” on the Ankota bloghttp://www.ankota.com/blog/4-ways-your-home-care-agency-can-safeguard-against-cyber-attacks on December 5, 2016. Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care, 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.

 

3 Pieces Of Home Care Software You Need

A lot of the readers of this blog are starting home care agencies for the first time and have questions about what they need to be successful.  To be candid, home care software is not the first thing that you need.  What’s more important for a start-up is to have passion for home care, authorization to run your business (which varies by state), great care giving skills, and the ability to market and sell your services. If you have these items, you’re on the right track.home care software

Once you’ve made the commitment to get your business going, you need to think about home care software and there are three primary pieces that you need to get in place to run your business effectively.  They are 1) a website, 2) agency management software, and 3) accounting software.  Each of these are described in further detail below:

  • Home Care Agency Website: Your website does several things for you. First and foremost, it helps people find you when they are shopping for a home care service.  Second, it gives you a chance to establish your “brand.”  Once people know about your agency, they will look through your website to learn why you are in the business and to think about whether they should choose you versus a competitor.  Lastly, your website is a two-way communication tool.  In addition to letting you share information about your agency, your site should allow potential clients to express interest in your agency and also allow caregivers to apply to be on your team.
  • Home Care Agency Management Software: This is the home care software that you use to manage your operations.  It tracks your client demographic, plans of care, schedules, caregiver demographics, skills, and availability, and enables timekeeping (generally via voice telephony where the caregivers dial in or via a mobile app) plus tracking of the completion of care plan items.  Lastly, it creates your bills and payroll.  Some of the software also has a component to track your sales process in attaining clients.  This is often referred to as CRM software (Customer Relationship Management). Another feature offered by some of the software vendors is an app for family members to stay engaged in the care of their loved ones (so they can track schedules, see updates and communicate with you).
  • Accounting Software: Accounting software tracks your “receivables” (keeps track of when your bills are paid), and your expenses.  Plus some accounting software also cuts the checks to pay your caregivers and other expenses.  Most agencies use Quickbooks for their accounting software and although Quickbooks has payroll management, a lot of agencies use a different software system for their payroll.

How do These 3 Pieces of Home Care Software Work Together?

At a high level, each of the pieces described above has its own function, but there are some connections that can be made between the three.  A few examples are as follows:

  • Client referrals on your website should go automatically into your agency management software
  • Similarly, caregivers should be able to apply online and go into your agency management software
  • Once a billing period (most agencies bill weekly) is complete, the bills should be pushed into your accounting software
  • Similarly, once payroll is calculated for your caregivers, it should flow into your payroll software to cut your checks

What Home Care Software Should You Get?

Starting with accounting, you can’t go wrong with Quickbooks. It’s pretty affordable, easy to learn and most accountants are familiar with it.  Although Quickbooks is now available on-line for a monthly subscription fee, it would be less expensive to buy and install Quickbooks on a local computer.  Another trick is that you don’t need the newest version (because basic accounting doesn’t change that often) so consider buying last year’s edition.For your website, there’s a wide range of possibilities that you can go with.

The least expensive would be to do it yourself with a subscription service such as those available for $4.99/month.  On the other extreme, you can have a high end web-site design and a content service that publishes new content for you each week and helps optimize your chances of coming out first on Google searches. One such service exclusively focused on home care is available from Valerie Van Booven.  A middle of the road approach is to do it yourself with something like WordPress.  Here at Ankota, we work with website and marketing software from HubSpot, which I highly recommend, but might be too much for your home care startup.

As for Homecare agency management software, this is the business that we’re in and we’d love to have you consider Ankota’s software.  We have all of the capabilities described above including the linkages to your website and accounting software, and we have some highly differentiated features.  The biggest one is that we have a capability, included at no additional charge, that monitors your clients when you’re not there and helps avoid preventable hospitalizations.

The hardest question for you to answer is going to be “why should I choose your agency over the others?” Imagine how many more clients you’ll get if in addition to providing care you can help keep your clients out of the hospital.  To schedule a demo or start a free pilot of Ankota’s software, click here.

Ankota was co-founded by Ken Accardi and 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. 

This article was posted by Ken Accardi and first appeared as “3 Pieces of Software You Need for Your Home Care Business” on on Feb 2, 2016 via the Ankota blog.

Can Your Home Care Agency Compete With These Companies?

Silicon Valley and the venture capital community are bullish on home care, and they think that they can do it better than you.  In particular, there has been $73 Million invested in three home care agency start-ups, being referred to by some as the 3 Home-igos (a play on the comedy film “The Three Amigos”).  The three companies are as follows:

We’ve blogged about these folks before in our article about $15/hour caregivers.home care agency

What Do These Companies Do?

Two of these companies, Honor and Home team, are “high end” home care agencies that have teams to serve their clients, technology such as tablets in every home, and talk about creating beautiful days and wonderful experiences for the aging loved ones that they serve.  They are expensive and will win with affluent clientele. Home Hero, by contrast, is a matchmaker company who matches you with caregivers and manages the process behind the scenes at a lower cost.

Are These Companies an Opportunity or a Threat to My Home Care Agency?

The answer is that these companies are likely to be both an opportunity and a threat to your agency.  With their huge war chests of investment capital and their high profile Silicon Valley backers, they will get plenty of attention.  This includes lots of PR, seats of distinction at all of the conferences (for example, they were on a panel together at the Aging2.0 conference in San Francisco and were highly featured in the marketing for that conference).  Also, they can make beautiful marketing pieces and tell a great story.  The narrative is that these companies are providing “tech enabled homecare,” and that you’re not…A few other example about Honor

  • Honor was started be Seth Stenberg with $20 Million from Marc Andreesen (the guys who started NetScape).  Prior to starting Honor, Seth sold his company Meebo to Google.
  • Honor was invited to the White House and pledged to give away $1 Million in free home care
  • Honor hired a world class application designer named Renato Valdes Olmos, who made a very popular fitness app called Human.

The bottom line is that they will beat you with very wealthy clients, and they will raise the expectation for the technology that you’ll be expected to provide.

How Does My Home Care Agency Compete and Win?

My perspective is that if you want to beat Honor and Home Team, then you’re going to need to step up your technology game.  If you’re not planning in the next year (two max) to have applications that connect family members into the process and give them great visibility, feedback and impact in the care of their loved ones, that you will start getting left behind.

The Elephant in the Room

There’s one critical fact that is being overlooked, which is that there won’t be enough caregivers to service the aging population in the future, and that even with higher rates, care giving is a hard job and some of the tasks aren’t all that pleasant.  So the winners are going to be agencies who can provide great care with less face-to-face hours and who can bring technology to bridge that gap.

How Can We Help?

Ankota has a great new application that can position you well for the future.  It’s called Foresight Care, and what it does is check in with your clients in between visits to make sure that they’re doing well, and alerting you if they’re exhibiting symptoms that could lead to a hospitalization.  You can use this feature whether or not you use Ankota’s home care software. But if you’re home care software is holding you back, we can deliver you the full package.

Ankota was co-founded by Ken Accardi and 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. 

This article was posted by Ken Accardi and first appeared as Can Your Home Care Agency Compete with the 3 Home-igos?” on on Feb 9, 2016 via the Ankota blog.

Role of Technology In Home Care: “97 Year Old Visits Google”

A recent viral video, “A 97-Year-Old Visits Google, Is Flabbergasted By ‘The Future'” has made the rounds on a number of established media outlets, including USA Today, CNN, CBS, and the Huffington Post. You can read the HuffPo’s entire article via this link. It’s a cute story that has evoked comments like “I hope I’m as sharp as she is when I’m her age,” but rather than cute, I found it to be very poignant.

Granting the wish (and reporting the story) of an elder by giving her an opportunity to experience the pinnacle of web technology companies, something very few of us will ever be able to do, honors her and all our elder citizens in a great way.role of technology

Every Age “Flabbergasted” By The Role of Technology?

The story got me thinking though.  No offense to the Huffington Post or the other media outlets, but I wonder how “clickable” and viral a headline of: “37-Year-Old Visits Google, is Flabbergasted by ‘The Future'” would be to the internet?  I would guess not very.  I mention this because as I watched the video and read the story, as someone who considers himself pretty tech-savvy, I thought to myself that I would’ve been just as flabbergasted by the experience of visiting Google as the elder woman in the story was.

We live in an dizzying time of rapidly advancing technology that becomes a part of our lives seemingly in a blink of an eye.  Not only is it hard for me to keep up on all the advances, but since technology is a pretty integral part of my daily life, it’s sometimes easy for me to forget just how “flabbergasting” and amazing it is to live in this technological age of ours.

The 97-Year-Old woman and I are in the same boat, being “flabbergasted” by the future role of technology, as I imagine a lot of other people are as well.

This idea brought me to another thought, that I’ve noticed a tendency of some to judge different generations, older or younger than them, as something foreign, instead of as full human beings on different parts of the same journey as their own.  I feel that there is an erroneous idea out there that if you’re younger, then “you haven’t lived yet” while on the other hand, for our elder citizens, curiosity and personal growth somehow comes to a halt at a certain age.  This, of course is nonsense, but it got me thinking again.

For me, I am looking forward to getting older and enjoying each phase of my life while learning and growing as a person with each step along the way.  Home Care folks understand this concept probably a lot more than most.  Home Care is all about caring for the person, understanding who they are, what they need, where they’ve been, and where they want to go.

The point is that the world moves pretty fast these days, and technology plays a broader role in our lives with each rotation.  But stories like the 97-year-old visiting Google reminds us that whether we’re 17, 37, or 87, it’s an amazing time in which we live and technology is for everyone.

The Role of Technology and Innovation in Home Care

The actionable takeaways from all of this musing of mine are as follows:

  • Your clients or patients may be more interested in current technology and upcoming tech trends than one might think.  Perhaps integrate the use of tech or learning about tech into your interactions with them.
  • Technology changes fast and it’s hard to keep up with each innovation, but to stay competitive in your market, compliant with regulations, and so on, it’s important to keep your tech as current as possible
  • Choosing tech vendors that can grow and change along with you is vital to keeping your business strong
  • The right technology can allow you to focus more on caring for your clients instead of dealing with paperwork and admin
  • Home care is about seeing a client as a person with unique wants and needs, first and foremost.  The same should be true of the vendors you partner with.

How is your organization keeping up in this ever changing technology world in which we live? Are you embracing the role of technology in home care? Download Ankota’s free whitepaper by clicking here:  “How Homecare Can Win Under the New Care Model“.

Click here If you’re interested in scheduling an online demo of Ankota’s home care or care transitions software solutions.

Ankota was co-founded by Ken Accardi and 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. 

This article was posted by Jed Hammel and first appeared as “97-Year-Old Visits Google” & the Future Role of Tech In Home Care on the Ankota blog on Dec 14, 2015.

How to Maximize Your Home Care Software Vendor’s Value

Your home care software vendor can be a great asset to your organization if you manage your relationship with them well.  If you don’t, they can be a nightmare… Here are three ways to maximize your relationship value:home care software

1) Be Nice

When you need help from your vendor, it could be a stressful time, like when you need to get billing or payroll out the door with a tight deadline.  There are some people who treat their software vendors (and other customer service people) with disdain and outright meanness. My advice is to consider the person on the other end of the line or the email as a partner who can help you and to treat them as such.  Here’s an example of a nice interaction I had with a customer today, via email.  They had made some rate changes and one of their series wasn’t billing correctly.  I copied and pasted the email exchange below:

Ankota Home Care blog - vendor exchange

In this case, the customer is super-nice above and beyond the call of duty, but as a result, she gets great and fast support every time.

2) Be Specific

As a software developer working on customer issues, there’s a little catch phrase that comes to mind, which is “if we can recreate it, we can fix it.”  So when you have an issue, the best thing you can do is to tell the customer support person exactly what to do to recreate the problem.  Doing this will enable customer support to identify and correct the issue as quickly as possible.

3) Be Strategic

Healthcare technology is lagging behind many other industries but is undergoing a technology revolution at the present time.  Also, there’s a lot of new thinking and if you’re managing your organization well, you probably expect to be dramatically different in two years than you are now.  My advice is to tell your software vendor what you have in mind and see if they can help you.  They might have some features you need that just need to be configured.  They might also be willing to invest in order to grow with you.  Give them the chance to grow with you!

What to Expect in Return?

If you follow the steps above, you should expect fast response time, access to leadership, influence on the road map and high satisfaction with your vendor.  If you find that you’re trying to follow the best practices above, but you’re not getting good service, then perhaps you should consider an upgrade.

How Do You Segment Your Clients or Patients?

Do you have clients who are mean to your caregivers and to your support staff, that consider everything to be your fault?  How do these clients make you feel as compared to clients who thank you frequently, give good actionable feedback (even when it’s constructive), and let you know what would make their experience better?  Think about this when interacting with your software vendor and I guarantee you’ll get better service.

Ken Accardi founded the software company 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. 

3 Ways to Maximize the Value of your Home Care Software Vendor first appeared on the Ankota blog on September 25, 2015.

Future: Homecare Technology, Investors, Better Pay

Silicon Valley and Wall Street are getting excited about caring for the elderly.  A few pieces of evidence are as follows:

  • Aging2.0 is a San Francisco based innovation platform for aging and senior care.  They’re running a conference in November and a series of 30  “start-up pitch events” in 30 different cities over a 30 day period starting in September.homecare technology
  • Kinnser, a home care software company, has received $40M in funding from Insight Venture Partners
  • Clear Care, a silicon valley based home care software company, raised an $11M series B from Bessemer Venture Partners.
  • Honor, started by Seth Sternberg, A Yale graduate who sold his previous company to Google, received $20M in equity funding in a round led by Marc Andreesen (the guy who started Netscape)
  • Recently, I met with two promising start-ups.  MeetCaregivers is providing a caregiver matching service for consumers to meet  vetted caregivers who have undergone background screening.  I also met with Careify, who is working on a new approach to electronic visit verification. (Careify hasn’t launched their web site yet).

What Does This Investor Attention Mean for Traditional Home Care?

Investors get interested in markets where there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and to disrupt the status quo.  What this means, being blunt, is that there is strong belief that homecare can be done better than it is today and that homecare technology can play a big part in it.  So if your home care agency still sees technology as a necessary evil, you can be in trouble.

What Advantages Does Money Bring to the New Wave of Disruptive Innovators?

Seth Sternberg, the aforementioned founder and CEO of Honor was recently a featured speaker at the White House conference on Aging.  Even though he’s only been in this industry for roughly a year, his Ivy League pedigrees and Silicon Valley success have thrust him to the forefront of industry thought leaders in home care.  As summarized in the article Why we need innovation in care for the aging, Sternberg, talks about the importance of the industry, the role that homecare technology can play, the need to pay caregivers better (e.g.,$15/hour as opposed to $9.50) and he pledges that his company will provide $1M in free home care across 10 cities. This is the new normal for competition in home care.

Are You Ready to Up Your Technology Game in Your Home Care Agency?

If you’re ready to up your game, consider partnering with Ankota.  We have an innovation pipeline designed to keep you ahead of competition and to tie your home care agency into the continuum of care.  More importantly, we are interested in incorporating your innovation ideas into the technology.  We listen, we care, and we’re able to innovate rapidly.

Also, Ankota’s 3rd care transitions whitepaper, entitled “Selling Care Transition Services to Hospitals” is now available.  Please download for tips on how to construct optimal care transitions offerings and sell them to hospital partners in your geographies.

Home Care in the Future Will Have Lots of Tech and $15/hour Caregivers first appeared on the Ankota blog on September 7, 2015.

Ken Accardi founded the software company 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. 

Voice Interfaces are Simplifying Technology for the Elderly

Laurie Orlov, the principal and editor of Aging in Place Technology Watch (www.ageinplacetech.com/blog) reviews a lot of the technology that becomes available for seniors.  Laurie’s style is pretty direct, often snarky, and a portion of her articles contain the disclaimer “rant on” before explaining why certain tech products and the entrepreneurs that make them miss the mark.  I generally agree with Laurie’s take on things and try to learn from her counsel.  One area in particular that irks me is that so many entrepreneurs are building smart phone apps for our octogenarian friends and neighbors.  The trouble is that smart phones are not commonly used by people in their 80s and above.  Several new high-tech devices are approaching seniors in a way that is more intuitive for them.  They use voice commands.Elderly man using technology

Laurie writes about these in her post Speak to us – voice interfaces make the audible difference. We encourage you to read the full article, but here are some highlights of the technologies that are reviewed:

  •    The Amazon Echo (aka Alexa): Plays music, updates you on sports, reads books to you and even tells jokes (they’re all corny and bad, but it’s almost impossible not to say “Alexa – tell me a joke” at least once a day).  Like Laurie, we were an early purchaser of Alexa and everyone in our family loves it.
Amazon-Echo-for_Elder-Care
  •  Ally: gives reminders and dials the phone for you but also can predict future health problems.
  • ·Bloom: Described as a family communication product, Bloom shares pictures, videos and audio messages with elderly family members.
  • ·Onköl: A stylish and unobtrusive box that connects to sensors (such as door opening and getting out of bed) and also monitors phone calls.
  • ·Unaliwear: A watch with voice commands that is like “OnStar” for Seniors.

What Should Home Care Agencies Learn from This Article?

There are several ways that awareness of devices like these can help your agency, as follows:

  • By finding and using technology, you might be able to keep clients in their homes longer by finding the balance between required care and affordability
  • Oftentimes, elderly people are afraid of technology and they have objections like worrying that it’s spying on them, it creates a burden for their loved ones, or they don’t know how to use it.  Finding senior friendly technologies can mitigate those fears.

For other home care best practices, download Ankota’s free white paper, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Home Care Agencies.  Plus, we’d love to hear about the technologies and practices that are helping the seniors that you help to care for.  Please contact us, to share them.

Voice Interfaces are Simplifying Technology for the Elderly first appeared on the Ankota blog on August 3, 2015.

Ken Accardi founded the software company 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.