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The COO’s Guide to Implementing a New Home Care Software Platform

Published on February 9, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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Personal Insights into Switching Technologies from Smartcare Software COO, Robert Smith

The COO’s Guide to Implementing a New Home Care Software Platform
from Smartcare Software COO, Robert Smith

Whether you are in the research stages of choosing new software or have started the process of switching technologies, there are many things to consider — some of which you may not think of immediately.

It is important to cover all of your bases in order to be successful when switching technologies. Here are 6 things the implementation team at Smartcare Software says are crucial when implementing a new home care software within your business.

1. Process Reevaluation

When implementing new technology, one of the most common missed opportunities is process reevaluation. It is common to want to replicate the processes you currently have in place, but doing so will often get you in trouble. It is best practice to look at the processes you have in place, evaluate them in their entirety, and then rework them to see how they will work best with your new solution. 

“Saying that your new solution needs to do ‘X’ because your old solution did ‘X’ is a way to fail. Seeing what your new solution can do and taking advantage of it is a way to succeed.”

— Robert Smith, Smartcare COO

Keep in mind that you have chosen this new technology for a reason. It is essential to consider the new solution’s capabilities and take advantage of them in order to streamline your processes, rather than replicating and automating bulky processes. 

Processes to Reevaluate

There are four main processes your business should reevaluate in order to be successful in your new implementation:

  • Onboarding When you onboard a client, think about what documents you must have. If there are additional documents that you would like to include, can they be combined? How do you want them filled out? There may be ways to simplify onboarding, thus increasing satisfaction from the start. 
  • Scheduling — Success starts with how you do your scheduling. If your goal is to duplicate what you’re doing today, then you are missing out on a lot of reasons why you chose the new system. For example, Smartcare Software’s dynamic scheduling tool offers so much more flexibility and so many more capabilities than anything else on the market. If you limit yourself to replicating your current scheduling process, you are potentially missing out on significant improvements in efficiency. Start reevaluating how you are scheduling your services and caregivers to match the home care software you have purchased.
  • Caregiving — Think about what you want your caregivers to do in your new system. What must they do for regulatory or billing purposes? And what do you want them to do? Ultimately, you want your caregivers to be happy, so making it simple for them is how you will get them to do what you need them to do, such as clocking in on time and reporting accurately. Smartcare’s integrated Caregiver Rewards system gamifies these tasks, further incentivizing caregivers to not only use the system but increase retention as well.
  • Invoicing — After your services have been rendered, look at how you currently invoice your clients. What capabilities does your new home care software include that will cut down on the number of hours you spend invoicing? For example, Smartcare Software’s invoicing functionality includes creating and sending invoices, and tracking payments all in one system. This will lead to better accuracy and timeliness of payments.

All four of these processes are an integral part of a successful implementation. Once you get the onboarding right, you can get the scheduling right. Successful scheduling leads to happier caregivers, which leads to happier clients, which leads to successful invoicing. Each of these processes needs to be looked at individually, and not replicated from what you are doing today. 

2. Leadership Buy-in

For an implementation of any kind to be successful, there must be buy-in at all levels of the organization. Keep in mind that the message has to come from the top, including what platform you’re switching to and why. It is important that everyone knows why you decided to make this change, and you need to keep this focus as you’re going through implementation. It’s imperative that your team doesn’t get lost in the minutiae of thinking, “This is how we’ve always done it.”

Putting together an implementation team can be helpful for your company — a group of experts that is dedicated to optimizing your new solution. It is also important for the leadership team to trust this team of experts to do what they need to do in order to implement the new software. 

3. Third-Party Vendors

Third-party vendor connections should be one of the first things your team looks at, as integrations can significantly delay your implementation timeline. Start by making a list of any third-party vendors you are currently using and what they are used for. For example, you need to know how you’re billing and who you’re billing. 

It is important that you are upfront with your vendors, and notify them immediately that you are switching to a new software. That way, enrollments and things of that nature can be set up correctly from the start and completed in a timely manner so that they won’t delay the implementation process.

4. Time Management

Implementation is like going to school in many ways — you get trained, and then you will have “homework” designed to reinforce the concepts you learned during training. If you don’t do your homework before the next training session, you will quickly get lost. 

Most trainings build upon the previous training, and if you haven’t completed your assignments, you won’t absorb the next training as well. This lack of absorption will continue to cascade. Manage your time wisely so that you have enough time to dedicate to every training meeting and homework assignment.

At Smartcare, we see three commonalities that lead to our most successful implementations:

  • Knowing exactly how you want to take advantage of the new system.
  • Gathering a team of people dedicated to implementing the new system.
  • Showing up on time to every meeting, with their homework done.

5. Implementation Schedule

During implementation, realistic timelines are important. They can be short, and they can be long, but they need to be realistic. You need to understand that your people are doing their regular job and implementing a new system. If they are full-time employees, you’ve given them another job to do, and both jobs are equally important to the success of your company. 

At Smartcare, we’ve put together a proven implementation schedule that has led to many successful implementations. Stick to the timeline your dedicated Smartcare Project Manager has put together for you, and your software will be deployed on time.

6. Proper Communication

This may sound simple, but according to “The Power of Selling” nearly 75% of communications that are received are interpreted incorrectly. Successful implementations will only occur if you ask questions when you don’t understand something — don’t wait until you’re too far in. 

During the Smartcare implementation process, designating a singular point of contact usually works best for effective communication with your appointed Smartcare Project Manager. 

In addition, it’s excellent if someone at the agency appoints an expert, as a superuser of the new system you are implementing. In the long term, this allows you to be able to self-support once someone learns the system, masters it, and keeps up with all new features. This expert can be the owner or someone they appoint and empower.

Change can be challenging, but remember to view this time of change as an opportunity. This is your chance to review your processes and improve them with the capabilities of your new software, leading to more efficiencies and cost savings.

As you review your processes, ask yourself, “How can we do this better?” Even if you’re not a Six Sigma process expert, go into the implementation process with clear objectives and an open mind, and you’ll find your organization to be even stronger after your successful implementation.

To learn more about Smartcare Software and our implementation process, request a free demo.