The home care industry is expanding. As competition amongst care providers increases, efficient operations, caregiver retention and customer satisfaction will almost certainly define success.
Leaving it to luck when choosing a software solution for your home care agency is a sure way to put your business at risk.
Whether you are a new agency setting out or an established home care provider looking to upgrade an outgrown system, making the right decision over software now, will have a long-lasting impact on your agency’s success in the future.
But with many home care software solutions on the market, how do you know which is the right one for you? How do you sift through all the data to find one that has everything you need? And not all sorts of things that may sound good, but you’ll never use.
Here are 6 important steps home care agency leaders should consider, when choosing a home care software system.
1. Determine key features and important services
The first and most important question you need to ask is, what do you need your home care software to do?
Take time to write down your top requirements, things you need every day for your agency.
For example, a list like:
- Dynamic Scheduling,
- Mobile App for Every User,
- Marketing & CRM,
- HR Management,
- Family Portal,
- Visit Verification (EVV),
- Caregiver Matching,
- Invoicing & Payroll.
Once you have drawn up a list of essentials, you can then match your list to potential software companies.
Start by looking at the agency tasks you will need most and then determine which software features will help to deliver this.
For example, the ability to schedule while in the field means you need mobile App scheduling for your schedulers, or retaining your caregivers means you need engagement tools, loyalty tools and workflows designed for caregivers.
And don’t limit your desired features to obvious tasks – your software choice will also have an impact on caregiver engagement. Ease of use, communication tools and reporting and messaging should also be scrutinized. The workflow will also play significantly into your caregiver’s satisfaction and your office team’s.
Look for a system that was designed with best-practices from its foundation.
Above all, you want one central, no-nonsense platform “hub” for your business.
Look for systems that are organically designed and not a patchwork of multiple company products to create a solution.
2. Think ahead
It’s not today that you need to consider in your search for the perfect software. Think about how you’d like your agency will look in the future.
Will you diversify or expand across different states?
Finding a software vendor who can support your growth and tailor elements of their software platform solution to suit your agency’s individual needs could save you a lot of money in years to come.
Don’t let software limitations contain growth and success. Find one that will grow with you as you grow your business.
It’s never too early to have vision, so ensure your software has the capability to help you grow as your agency grows.
For example, does the home care software have a streamlined candidate to hire functionality to help you find more caregivers as you grow?
3. Consider integrations, interoperability and adaptation
With new legislation being proposed all the time and the overall home care market growing rapidly, the ability to adapt or customize your software and integrate with other systems is essential.
Conduct proper research on your short-list of potential software vendors and ask for examples where the vendor has helped an existing customer to overcome a challenge, specifically in terms of adapting or tailoring the solution to meet their needs.
Think about what other software you might like to integrate with, such as merchant processing, background checking, earned wage access, or Quickbooks online for accounting, and consider interoperability between potential homecare information technology solutions and other critical functionality.
Is the software company selective on their integrations choosing ones that add value to your business or ones that just add to their list and add cost to you?
And what about staying compliant with EVV – does the software have full functionality for providing visit verification built into the system? Will it meet any state-specific requirements your agency may need depending on its payer mix?
Ultimately, avoiding duplication of processing or inputting of data will save you time, money and improve the productivity of your staff.
4. How industry-savvy are the developers?
Home care is a complex industry and very different from home healthcare. It is vital to consider how industry-savvy the software developers are.
Is the team here locally in the US or located in some far off country with little understanding of how home care works for your business.
It’s as simple as understanding the roots of the vendor’s journey – why did they develop this software? Who was behind it? What is their story, “their why.”
The best home care software vendors come from home care.
SMARTcare’s home care software, for example, has been developed by caregivers for caregivers, so features revolve around a clear understanding of industry issues and caregiver best-practice workflow – insight that can make a great difference to the day-to-day effectiveness and efficiency of the solution.
5. What’s the customer service like?
In any business relationship, customer service is vital. When you are signing up to a software service, you want to know any teething problems, snags or agency-specific issues further down the line will be dealt with quickly and effectively. It’s a good idea to consider:
- Does the vendor understand your needs?
- What does the vendor’s customer support offering look like, both at the implementation stage and ongoing?
- Do they pick up the phone when you call?
- Is the customer service team knowledgeable?
- Is the call-center team home care focused, not outside hires?
- Are they based here and not overseas?
- Does the vendor understand the home care business?
- What training is available?
- Does the vendor have a culture of listening to client feedback?
Once you’ve short-listed your favourites, get a feel for the vendors – you should get a sense of a partnership – your software provider should be invested in your success.
6. Check out demos
Never take features for granted, the look and feel of the software is just as important if not more so as your team will be using this daily.
Always ask for a demo and have a list of questions you want answering. Does that software look like it was built for today and not something from the ’90s and hard to use? Is it clean looking, simple and intuitive?
If the vendor says they can tailor something or have configuration settings for that feature, ask them to show you an example.
It’s also an idea to involve your key staff in this process – going through the demo; the extra eyes and input ensure that the team will support the final decision.
SMARTcare is a Complete Home Care Platform with Just the Right Amount of Everything Designed by Caregivers for Caregivers. With SMARTcare, you can manage, schedule, and operate everything you need for your home care business. Achieve better outcomes, higher satisfaction, and increase caregiver retention with a system that supports your business and its goals.
SMARTcare is currently offering our COVID-19 Toolset at no charge to all home care agencies. The Toolset App includes reminders, agency notices, symptom checks, contact tracing and other important virus risk mitigation tools to help you manage your response to the pandemic.
We are in this together. To find out more about SMARTcare Software, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can help.