Over the last few years, home care agencies have had to endure their fair share of financial hits. For example, operational costs continuing to rise, higher caregiver turnover rates, and Medicare reimbursement rates not keeping up with inflation. These financial burdens have made it necessary for home care providers to continually explore cost-effective ways to reduce their operating costs while also trying to increase revenue.
As a home care agency owner, you will know that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Typically, the money agencies spend is on investments that will help their business to thrive, grow and increase profits, such as competitive caregiver pay/benefits, sales and marketing tools, client and caregiver retention, operational support, health and safety, and communication.
Unfortunately, many agencies opt to invest in software solutions that are disparate, multiple applications to resolve individual business issues, which can often compromise an agency’s ability to manage operations cost-effectively while simultaneously achieving business growth.
Here we look at how investing in the right home care software, designed specifically for the home care market, can help to coordinate your agency’s efforts to easily achieve both of these aims.
Reducing operating costs
There are many ways that your home care agency can utilize home care software to reduce operating costs without sacrificing the quality of care you provide. Whether you’re just starting out or running a large, highly successful agency, having the right software solutions in place can dramatically improve your agency’s productivity and profitability. Here are just eight examples:
1. Recruitment and hiring
Using technology specifically designed for home care agencies can help you establish cost-effective, standardized, and efficient recruitment and hiring processes while also guaranteeing an outstanding candidate experience to secure talented caregivers.
For example, home care providers can save considerable time and money by investing in applicant tracking software, specifically designed for home care agencies, like Smartcare’s Caregiver Application Tracking System. An ATS makes it possible for your agency to post job ads, manage applicants through the hiring pipeline, and oversee every part of the hiring process, all from one single platform.
You can reduce operating costs by optimizing your hiring process while also improving the candidate experience and that of your HR team.
Schedulers/coordinators are at the heart of every home care agency team, and consistent, flexible scheduling plays a significant role in both caregiver and client satisfaction and retention.
Having the right scheduling software in place increases schedulers’ efficiency, streamlining all your home care scheduling and caregiver planning processes, matching clients/caregivers to drive satisfaction, automating the caregiver notification process, managing last-minute scheduling changes, and filling any open shifts as quickly as possible.
In addition to reducing the need for additional staff and managers, significantly reducing your payroll costs, the right scheduling software will also help to improve caregiver recruitment and retention (for further savings).
3. Tracking KPIs and other business metrics
With the right technology in place, you can remove the need to spend hours running lengthy reports to keep track of your agency’s performance. Investing in technology, like Smartcare’s Business Intelligence (BI), you will have a comprehensive dashboard view of your business to track and monitor your agency’s key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time. You can also access more detail on the in-depth information you need to provide actionable insights and best-practice metrics to drive efficiencies and ensure your success – helping your agency run more efficiently and cost-effectively.
These easy-to-access insights and analytics not only save you time and money but also drive performance improvements for your caregivers and improved outcomes for your clients.
4. Care plan management
Care plans are essential to coordinate proper patient care, progression, and self-management activities. Investing in care management software replaces time-consuming written documents with electronic versions. It is a secure and easy way to improve the accessibility and accuracy of information and reduce your overheads over time.
There are many software applications available to replace paper-based care files.
Caregivers can log in to access each client’s information to deliver the care needed, in the right place and at the right time. All demographic data, medication, care plans, past medical/surgical history, assessments, and clinical charts can be stored securely within the system. With everything recorded in real-time, your care managers are constantly updated with each client’s wellbeing and can run day-to-day care more smoothly and cost-effectively.
5. Integrated communication
Investing in the right software for your agency can significantly improve daily communications, increasing day-to-day efficiencies and care resolution. This will also impact client and caregiver satisfaction and retention, where communication remains absolutely vital.
With home care software, like Smartcare’s mobile app, you and your team will always be connected, anywhere and at any time. The app provides multiple ways for you and your team to streamline and organize all communication, check-in with caregivers, communicate clearly with secure messaging and chat, add and share documents and information, and support effective collaboration across your agency.
Using a cloud-based information storage system, HIPAA compliant chat and messaging, and a point-of-care mobile app means management burden shifts from your back-office team and caregivers to technology. As a result, your caregivers can spend more time focused on client care, improving client satisfaction, and you can spend more time focused on identifying further opportunities for business development and growth.
6. Caregiver retention
Still one of the biggest challenges for most agencies is retaining caregivers, with average turnover rates currently exceeding 64%. However, with the right home care software in place, you can avoid this trend and save your agency over £4,000 per caregiver (the cost of hiring to replace each caregiver).
There are many software options available that can be utilized to promote caregiver retention, including Smartcare’s complete home care platform. This gives you access to home care’s most innovative and multifaceted approach to engaging, motivating and retaining caregivers, including everything you need to simplify care management and build strong relationships with your caregivers – keeping them connected, empowered, and loyal to your agency.
7. Administrative tasks
Investing in the right technology for your agency can significantly reduce the burden on caregivers and back-office staff carrying out endless administrative tasks, filling out paperwork, and telephone logging of care. Automating these processes, for example, using digital documentation and telephony capabilities, caregivers can spend up to 64% less time on administrative tasks.
This not only frees up time for them to provide better care and achieve higher outcomes for your agency but has also been shown to improve caregiver retention rates – both helping to reduce your overheads and potentially increase overall profit.
8. eBilling and payment processing
Automating your billing and payment processes can save your agency a considerable amount of time and money, providing you invest in the right software for your business needs. Automating tedious manual tasks not only reduces billing workload by up to 80%, saving you money, but also means you have more time to focus on growing your business.
Ideally, you will want a single system that is flexible to your agency’s needs, such as Smartcare’s configurable scheduling, billing, and payment software, developed exclusively for home care billing.
This type of software gives you a customizable, one-stop platform sure to fast-track your agency to success, with comprehensive billing fully integrated with your receivables, scheduling, caregiver payments, and more – all accessible from a single, easy-to-use dashboard.
If you are looking to improve the running of your home care agency and grow your business, Smartcare’s cloud-based software can be easily customized to help you streamline every aspect of your business. From scheduling, routing, patient notes, and reporting… to intake, approvals, billing, compliance, and payment, we can give you everything you need to reduce operating costs, boost productivity and increase profits while maintaining exceptional patient/client care. Call us today to find out more.
Beyond the capability to help you manage your day-to-day business needs, the power of the right home care software package can also allow you to manage your sales and marketing efforts to increase revenue – which we will look at in Part 2 of this mini-series.