HEALTHCARE AT HOME:
THE  ROWAN TECHNOLOGY REPORT

Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

At this week's Annual Leadership Conference of the Home Care Association of America, we met with several startup companies and some established ones we had not heard of before. Some of these new technologies are going to have quite an impact on home care patients and their care providers.

Algorithmic Intuition

Kevin Shaw, Ph.D, showed us a prototype of a wearable monitor that sends a continuous flow of vital signs – including heart rate, respiration, temperature, dressing, eating, ambulating, washing, resting, gait quality issues, falling and stumbling – to a home care office dashboard and to the smart phones of the patient's family members. What sets the "ADLcare"™ monitor apart is that it is about the size of a half-dollar coin and sticks to the skin with a strip of tape that can only be described as magical. Anyone who has ever ripped off a bandage knows the problem of body hair painfully ripped with it. Dr. Shaw placed one on this reporter's arm. It held securely until he pulled it off. No pain, no lost hair. AI is based in the Silicon Valley and will soon go into general release. AlgorithmicIntuition.com

FRAX

Bruce Berglind's New Jersey home care agency achieved stellar patient outcomes after he began to call them regularly on the phone. Soon, nearby agencies asked him to call their patients too. Before he knew it, that business was larger than his home care business. So he sold the home care, moved to the Midwest, and staffed a call center. Today, FRAX serves home care providers from coast to coast, and all of them are seeing patient care improve. fraxoutsourcing.com

True Link Financial

No, these people do not want to loan you money, they want to eliminate the headache of petty cash management, reimbursement forms, and caregiver spending tracking. The True Link Card is a reloadable debit card that can have cash back and ATM withdrawals blocked. Give it to your homemaker care team and let them purchase patient groceries or medications while limiting the stores where the card will work. Dashboard reports show you when and where the card was used, how much was spent, and when funds should be added back to it. Spending can be tracked by caregiver and by patient. truelinkcard.com

Paradigm Claim Services

Maintaining a billing department is right for some agencies and wrong for others. Paradigm is for the latter group. They have relationships with every insurance company and make sure every claim is accurate before submitting it. This reduces the cost of denials and retries. They also have negotiated with most insurance companies to arrange to use one claim form, their own, rather than having to adjust their software to adapt to the uniqueness of each plan's form. paradigm-claims.com

Homes Renewed

Did you know that there may soon be financial incentives for customizing a home to make it safer and more friendly as the homeowner ages, enabling seniors to remain in their homes longer? There is a lobbying effort in place to get laws passed that would help seniors pay for remodeling updates such as curbless showers, no-step entries, grab bars, better lighting, and much more. Proposals would extend to discounts for home products that have received the "Purple Tag" designation.

Louis Tenenbaum, founder and president of HomesRenewed, told us that builders, remodelers, and product manufacturers have formed a coalition to approach lawmakers. They are looking for more members, "visionaries" they call them, for the "Homes Renewed Coalition." Current tasks are to support HR1780, a bill for a $30,000 tax credit, and a companion bill in the Senate to create next-generation incentives; to support state and local home update initiatives; to work for private sector incentives from health and long-term care insurers, modeled after reduced insurance premiums for non-smokers and safe drivers; and to champion tax and penalty-free use of retirement savings as incentives for home updates. The coalition's goals are to make IRA and other retirement savings exempt from early-withdrawal penalties and taxes; reduce insurance premiums; and establish product rebates.

Tanenbaum said, "It is fundamentally unjust to continue medical miracles that add years to our lives without also updating homes to live those lives joyfully and with dignity." He cited a 2014 study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies whose authors stated, "The bulk of long term care will occur in single family, owner occupied homes...but the homes are not prepared." Get more information and join the coalition at: homesrenewed.org

In the Know

Caregiver recruitment and retention are constant battles. The statistics are bleak.

  • Average turnover is 66% and rising
  • 81% of caregivers with no training quit within the first 90 days of employment
  • Only 16% of caregivers say they feel "connected and engaged" by their employers

"In the Know Caregiver Training" says it is one of your available weapons for this battle. With the motto "Train, Engage, Retain" the online education company offers a 10-point checklist you can use to choose your training company.

  1. Does the catalog include a wide range of relevant topics?
  2. Is a "blended learning" plan available?
  3. Does the price reflect the quality?
  4. Are topics developed by industry experts?
  5. Are the courses presented in an engaging manner?
  6. Do topics satisfy state and federal requirements?
  7. Are topics kept up to date?
  8. Does the company have a singular focus -- with caregiver education as the only priority?
  9. Are extra value add-ons available, relevant, and useful?
  10. Can the provider promise excellent, ongoing customer care, even after the contract is signed?

Of course, In the Know asserts that they can answer 'yes' to all of these. Still, they recommend using this checklist with any training company you use. knowingmore.com

Retinent

Speaking of recruiting and retaining, perhaps the most innovative companies we discovered is one that helps you automate your incentive program. When one employee recruits a colleague to take a position with your company, you may want to offer the first person a reward. Keeping track of this program does not have to be resource intensive. Retinent software automatically adds your spiff, let's say an extra .25 per hour, to the wages of the referring employee. If employee #2 recruits someone, you can set the software to add .25 to his hourly wage and perhaps .05 to the wage of employee #1, and so it goes. One early adopter found that his private duty agency retention rate increased from 47% to 72%. retinent.com

©2018 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. editor@homecaretechreport.com