he home care and home health care industries have traditionally been a bit conservative when it comes to technology adoption. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a cautious approach to change when considering the challenges of effective care delivery and ramifications of mistakes. However, sometimes innovation is necessary, and it’s frankly long overdue for many companies.
Now may be a good time for in-home care agencies to consider how modest technology investments can fuel marketing efforts and yield tremendous returns. These are a few of the most compelling arguments for innovation.
Adds Tangible Value for Both Clients and Referral Sources
Home care agencies that explore distinctions and value-add positions are typically focused on two equally-important audiences: clients and referral sources. Each group has unique needs, but modern technology solutions can give companies a competitive edge on both fronts.
The easiest way for an agency to implement technology that will have a real impact on home health marketing efforts is to start with state-of-the-art home care software. If a company is still using a dated solution that only aids in scheduling, staffing and billing/payroll functions, they’re missing out on low-hanging fruit.
New home care software solutions offer advanced features that add tangible value to both clients and referral sources. One newer feature is caregiver smartphone apps that improve reliability through GPS tracking and electronic clock-in functions while also ensuring completion of caregiver duties with real-time documentation. Clients find obvious value in this electronic accountability, but the benefits will also likely influence referral behavior among hospital case managers and other decision-makers.
Combats the “Sharing Economy” Threat
Home care leaders must accept the reality that the “sharing economy” has officially disrupted their industry. While peer-to-peer online platforms are imperfect tools that are viewed skeptically by many people, they’re still making inroads in an otherwise traditional industry. The good news is that agencies can combat the threat by embracing technology.
Part of the consumer attraction to caregiver match-making websites is no doubt the promise of lower bill rates. However, the services also provide convenience value. Home care agencies may not be able to compete on price, but they can work to level the playing field in terms of technology.
For example, caregiver websites often provide tools for direct communication between aides and family members. Home care agencies can do the same. Advanced software solutions now provide family and caregiver phone apps and tools that facilitate shared notes and client updates.
Agencies can create highly-marketable distinctions by matching the conveniences and practical tools of online caregiver websites while also providing agency-level accountability, insurances, licensing and employer benefits. The “best of both worlds” pitch is very compelling to both prospective clients and referral sources.
Aids Hospital Readmission Prevention Efforts for Increased Referrals
Hospital readmission prevention is a hot topic these days, but most of the efforts have so far been limited to internal efforts within large health systems. However, forward-thinking home care agencies can also do their part to assist and may find tremendous marketing value in the venture.
Enter Virtual Care and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) solutions. Hospitals and physician groups have experimented with these tools for several years. But in many ways, home care companies are actually better-positioned for successful implementation of the technology.
Virtual care is focused on remote doctor and nurse visits/assessments, while RPM is the collection and electronic transfer of important patient health data for real-time analysis and care plan adjustments. Both are proven to reduce preventable hospital admissions and aid in chronic care management. However, the solutions also suffer from low patient utilization.
Savvy home care agencies are well-positioned to facilitate virtual care and RPM solutions, given their access to patient homes and network of caregivers. Really, home care aides are the single best resource for ensuring utilization of the technology. Agencies can partner with virtual care/RPM providers and then target hospital accounts to form strategic partnerships or vice versa.
Addresses Client Transportation Needs with Low-Cost Solutions
Most people today are familiar with ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Indeed, some home care agencies have been partnering with ride-sharing companies for several years now. However, the practical merger of the two services is now more effective than ever, given enterprise versions of the technology.
For example, Lyft offers an enterprise platform for home care agencies that allows office staff to simultaneously schedule multiple rides for multiple clients via the web (as opposed to the more-familiar smart phone app). The enterprise functionality is far more adaptable to real-life home care agency needs.
Savvy home care marketers can do much with Uber or Lyft partnerships. From daily sales activity directed at local hospitals to larger growth marketing campaigns that focus on company branding, ride-sharing alliances add real value for both clients and referral sources!
There’s no doubt that today’s high-tech world sometimes places too much value on niche innovations with minimal utility. Home care agencies are approached regularly with “silver-bullet” solutions for every problem under the sun. However, it’s fair to say that implementation of the right technology may be the single best way for home care agencies to provide real, value-add distinctions that resonate with prospective clients and referral sources alike!
If you’re an agency seeking unsurpassed home care and home health marketing solutions, you should also reach out to the industry’s leader today!