Running an efficient home care agency can be an arduous task. There are so many responsibilities that fall squarely on the shoulders of administrators that sometimes it seems like you’ll never catch up. The solution is both simple and complex. The easy way to operate efficiently is to take advantage of all the Information Technology (IT) at your disposal, but that is where another problem begins.
What kind of software do you need and how many different kinds of programs or platforms should you utilize to help run your home care agency efficiently and at a profit? Here are 4 of the most important software applications you may want to begin with.
1. Care Management System
Before you go any further, it’s important to understand just what a care management system can do for your agency. This is going to be the backbone of your service-user care and that’s why it is so important, and thus, mentioned first. It is a holistic solution that will keep all your service-user records, your care records, and assign tasks as needed.
The right care management system, such as the one developed by Log my Care, will also provide a way for carers to pick up assignments and record any tasks they have completed. At the very beginning, all service-user and carer information are entered into the platform. From there, everything is documented in real time as it occurs. From feeding or bathing a service-user to taking the service-user to the doctor, each task can be assigned, picked up, noted on a mobile device, and that’s all that needs to be done. There are no more laborious longhand charting and fewer phone conversations that only serve to eat up a carer’s time, making it a revolutionary asset.
2. Service-user Monitoring Platform
Unfortunately, there is the fact that a carer can’t be with a service-user 24/7. Whilst there are some service-users who require round the clock care, most only need from one to several hours a day based on their care plan. What do you do to monitor those service-users in between times? Many doctors have begun prescribing wearables to monitor service-users in between office visits. There’s no reason why your agency can’t avail itself of the very same technology.
This is typically a software platform that uses a wearable device connected via Wi-Fi or mobile phones, and if something triggers an alarm, the provider is immediately notified. Carers can also utilize this kind of technology/software when concerned about the well-being of service-users between home care visits. This particular platform can be critical in cardiac service-users or those suffering from diabetes or epilepsy. All in all, it’s an amazing breakthrough in Home Care technology.
3. Video Conferencing Platform
There are times when a service-user or the family of a service-user is concerned by a symptom and would like to request a visit by the carer. Sometimes this is a much-needed in-home visit and other times there is no cause for immediate concern. If you operate a home care agency, video conferencing software could help to expedite the process. A service-user simply logs on, requests a video connection, and someone manning the office video station can do a quick assessment. If it seems as though everything is under control, nothing more needs to be done based on a visual evaluation.
However, if the on-duty carer decides a closer look is required, that person can log onto the care management system mentioned above to assign a carer to visit that service-user in the next rotation. You’ve heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and never is this truer than when assessing a service-user’s symptoms.
4. Message Boards, Forums and Informative Blogs
Finally, while not strictly software in the literal sense, it takes a specialized system to develop message boards, forums, and informative blogs. These should be set up so that service-users and their families can get better information on any conditions or illnesses they’ve been diagnosed with. Sometimes it only takes knowing that there are others out there suffering from the very same conditions to help cheer a service-user on towards self-sufficiency and recovery.
These are also places where Home Care agencies can post on topics service-users and their families need to better understand. Current thinking in the medical arena is that by enabling service-users to be proactive in their own care, they will have better outcomes. No one likes to feel out of control and by giving service-users the wherewithal to learn about their conditions and how to live a better quality of life, outcomes are significantly improved.
While every business needs some kind of accounting software and word processing software, any office suite should do quite well. However, it goes without saying that clerical tasks necessitate software like the Lotus or Microsoft Office suites and perhaps even accounting software like that from NetSuite. When it comes to operating an efficient Home Care agency, software is going to be a huge consideration, so choose wisely.