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Investing in the Right Tech Tools to Improve Your Client and Family Engagement

Published on October 24, 2022 by Sharon Morrisette

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Client/patient and family engagement is an active process of participation and partnership in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of the care services they receive.

As a home care provider, mastering your client/patient and family engagement – before, during, and after home visits – is essential to improving outcomes and reducing costs. 

Having a robust engagement strategy will also provide additional benefits for your home care business, such as: 

  • Enhancing your business reputation.
  • Improving client/patient experience, and satisfaction.
  • Strengthening referral networks.
  • Attracting and retaining more clients/patients. 
  • Improving your caregiver experience, satisfaction, and retention.

With clients/patients and families increasingly expecting more innovative, tech-driven approaches for engagement, smart home care providers must invest in technology tools that enable varied interactions via the channels of their client’s choice. 

Now is the time to embrace technology solutions that support your engagement efforts, especially between home visits, and, where appropriate, include back-end data and analytics.  

Six tech tools to support and improve your client/patient and family engagement between home visits:

1. Scheduling software

A user-friendly scheduling system is essential for home care providers looking to increase client/patient engagement.

The right scheduling software will not only help you meet the specific scheduling needs of your clients/patients, families, and care team but will also improve your client-caregiver matching, team efficiency, and the level of care you provide – to maximize the human connection and boost engagement.

Ideally, you need scheduling software that includes a mobile app, which will better help your clients and their loved ones to stay informed and engaged, as they can easily access information about their schedules, care plans, payments, and any important updates.

Ensure you invest in scheduling tools that include Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) to guarantee that care is provided when and where it should be – and to highlight any issues with scheduling that need to be addressed.

2. Video conferencing tools / virtual visits

smartcare communication channels with family

Many home care providers have been using virtual visits over the last few years to supplement in-person visits. Applications like FaceTime, Zoom, and eVisit make these visits easily accessible to everyone. 

Virtual visits are a great way to improve your clients’/patients’ and families’ experience with your business, provide access to vital care and support between home visits, enhance your home-based services, and significantly boost client/patient engagement.

While virtual visits can’t fully replace home care visits, if executed well, they are shown to significantly improve a client/patient’s quality of life between in-person visits. Caregivers can use these visits to help establish the client-caregiver bond, engage clients, give medication reminders, check if they have any questions or concerns, increase compliance, and so on.

It’s important to remember that virtual visits require the same follow-up as in-person visits, so your team still needs to complete paperwork and reporting as standard. 

Phone calls can also be used to check in on clients/patients more informally before their next in-person visit or as a quick follow-up to address any specific issues. This is still an effective and efficient way to connect with clients and families, improve engagement, and gather feedback about the quality of care they’re receiving.

3. Advanced communication tools

Providing access to care information and communicating effectively with clients and their families are essential components of client- and family-centered home care.

In addition to virtual visits, home care providers need to open a two-way dialogue with their clients/patients between in-home visits to encourage their participation in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of the care they receive. 

Look to invest in HIPAA-compliant communication tech tools, which put your clients in control of when and how they interact with you and your care teams.

Smartcare Software’s Family Portal is just one example of how the right technology can easily improve your agency’s communication across the board to drive client and family engagement. 

Equipped with advanced communication tools, integration with Alexa® and Google Home®, and providing on-demand mobile updates and alerts, Smartcare gives your clients and their families everything they need to stay engaged and connected – anytime and anywhere.

4. Client/patient and family feedback tools

Caregiver speaking on the phone in front of her laptop - Smartcare Software

One way to guarantee your home care business keeps client/patient and family engagement and satisfaction high is to regularly measure and monitor their experience with your services and care teams and act promptly on the feedback you receive.

Multiple tech tools are available to help you collect feedback and gain valuable insights – compliments, complaints, and queries – and it’s crucial to choose the right one for your home care business needs. Consider:

  • Is it user-friendly for our clients/patients and families?
  • Does it group answers into useful, logical categories?
  • Can it merge feedback data with existing client data across all platforms?
  • Is there a real-time dashboard that compiles and displays relevant feedback?
  • Is it easy to distribute results to the right people to act on?
  • Does it include tracking capabilities and built-in accountability for a follow-up?

Your choice of feedback tool(s) will be key to improving client/patient and family engagement and can impact the long-term success of your business. Choose wisely!

5. Engagement across social media channels

Many clients/patients become disengaged due to a lack of education about their medical conditions or limited access to the information and resources that would help to improve their health literacy. Unfortunately, the same can apply to their loved ones. 

One study revealed that when clients/patients received educational materials, 67% of them were compliant with their care/treatment plans. They became more satisfied with the care/treatment they received, increased communication with their providers, and experienced improved health behaviors and outcomes.

You can use your website and social media channels in a fun, educational, and interesting way to effectively strengthen relationships with your clients/patients and families and build an engaged, care-oriented community. Build trust and increase engagement by encouraging your clients to, for example:

  • Participate in online discussions.
  • Ask questions and seek help when needed.
  • Share their personal care experiences.
  • Learn about various health conditions, e.g., via blogs, videos, live chat.
  • Find information about good health habits, e.g., exercise and nutrition.
  • Stay informed on the latest health/home care trends and treatments.
  • Read about additional care services your business provides.

Investing in your social media channels can be a great way to educate your clients/patients and their families and keep them better connected and engaged between home visits – in addition to gathering direct feedback, reviews, and referrals.

6. Tracking the correct metrics

team discussing data

Analytics is an essential part of any strategy. Therefore, a crucial part of improving your home care client/patient engagement is knowing what is working and what is not – and you can only do that by measuring and tracking the right metrics for your existing strategies. For example:

  • Client/family portal engagement
  • Client/patient satisfaction
  • Engagement response rates
  • Website/social media traffic
  • Hospital (re)admission rates
  • Health outcomes
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Client turnover rate.

Tech tools that help you track and measure client/patient engagement metrics will help identify problem areas, successes, and opportunities, giving you the visibility needed to drive your engagement strategy forward and enable your business to grow.

Improve your client/patient and family engagement with Smartcare Software

While it’s entirely feasible to invest in individual tech tools to achieve results in the areas of client/patient engagement listed above, more home care providers than ever are opting for a single piece of software that can track, manage, and enable all client-provider interactions.

Smartcare Software’s complete home care platform is fully integrated, providing one solution to many of the home care industry’s challenges and obstacles to growth.

If you’d like to learn more about how our customizable suite of tools can help keep your clients/patients and families connected and engaged and drive your business forward, please call us today or request a free demo.