Home » Smartcare’s Home Care Resource Center » Home Care Software – Frequently Asked Questions

Home Care Software

Frequently Asked Questions

What is In-home Care?

In-home care is designed for those suffering from chronic illness or who aren’t able to care for themselves. This is one of the fastest-growing needs of seniors in the United States. According to a 2020 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics PHI report, direct care workers, home care aides, and personal care employment will grow by more than 40% over the next six years.

One segment of home health care is home care or private duty home care.

What is Home Care?

Home care, also known as private duty home care or personal care, allows someone with special needs to remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible, within the community rather than in a hospital or residential facility. The goal is to help them to retain their independence, living at home while being provided with a broad range of assistance and services.

In order to achieve this, specially trained professionals, “caregivers”, provide assistance with day-to-day tasks such as bathing, dressing, taking medication, household chores, exercise, cooking and eating. They also offer companionship to clients and keep families informed about clients’ wellbeing.

Who is Home Care For?

Research shows that 9/10 Americans aged 65 and older – in other words, many millions of people – prefer to stay at home as they enter their later years: this is known as “aging in place”. 70 per cent of people in this age group will need self-care assistance at some point.

Post-pandemic, some healthcare experts are expecting this trend to continue to grow, with an increased amount of daycare centers, group living centers and other facilities.

With home care, the patient can enjoy the comfort, convenience and reassurance of familiar surroundings, with a few hours of assistance per day, at a considerably more economical cost than a residential establishment.

Private duty home care functions as a complement to existing healthcare services and part of the continuum of care, allowing the elderly to retain their dignity and to feel part of society while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Who Provides Home Care?

Home care providers, also called home care agencies, are trained care providers offering this service. They liaise with family members, community agencies, and medical professionals. Those who care for the clients are known as home care professionals or caregivers and are usually employed by small agency providers. Today in the United States, the average home care provider cares for about 50 patients/clients monthly.

What is Home Care Software?

Home care software is designed to help home caregivers and agencies to organize and optimize their care delivery, keeping track of patient data, working hours, and financial information. The software offers a secure and reliable means for managing essential data of both client and provider to provide enhanced engagement and efficient foundational workflow. 

This software is typically accessed by an online cloud-based offering that can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection and log-in credentials. The software often has a mobile point-of-care app to further assist the caregivers, patients/clients, and their families to coordinate care, to communicate, and to review outcomes.

Who is Home Care Software Designed For?

This type of software is designed for all types of home care agencies that provide home care services. It is ideal for any size of home care organization, from small local independent home care start-ups to multi-site, well-established national home care organizations.

Many platform providers are able to tailor the functionality to each home care provider’s individual requirements for services. In addition to the professional caregivers who provide the service to the patient at home, it is also useful for the patients themselves, as well as for the family, to keep track of the time worked, tasks completed, hours billed, and other essential information. The software can also assist with insurance reimbursement processes, including Medicaid. 

The software streamlines the relationship between client and provider, ensuring that optimum management is offered at all times, and client engagement and satisfaction are of a consistently high level.

What does a Home Care Software Platform Offer?

The benefits of home care software are manifold:

Efficient caregiver management – home care software allows agency owners and schedulers to track, manage, electronically verify (EVV), and instantaneously update their caregivers.

Increased engagement – the easy-to-access platform, using HIPAA-compliant communication tools, enables enhanced engagement between clients, their families, and caregivers: real-time updates keep the family involved in their loved one’s care.

Convenient, value-added marketing automation – a single dashboard on the platform allows access to all data, saving time and effort; also assists in winning new customers, and building strong relationships with referral sources.

E-billing and payroll – all aspects of client billing and staff payroll can be managed using the software platform. Payroll reports with home care pay rates that vary according to staff, tasks, and days or hours can be calculated and sent to your payroll provider. You can track overtime, travel time, expenses, vacations, and in-servicing. Similarly, billing workload can be vastly reduced, and payment processing made much easier using a secure cloud-based system. Bills can be split between multiple payers and invoices sent to Medicaid.

Streamlined workflow – using the mobile application, the care team and office staff can access details needed anywhere, anytime, on any device: schedules, care plans, route details, time-tracking using EVV (see below), documentation, and expenses, as well as secure messaging (HIPAA-compliant), and more. 

Patient information – can be collected quickly and accurately, stored easily, and accessed and shared safely.      

How can Home Care Software help me, my family or my home care business?

Various modules of the software platform help to plan and manage care and administrative processes (for agencies), and to schedule and document tasks (for caregivers), offering a high degree of both autonomy and flexibility in caregiving services.       

Financial and environmental benefits: save time and money and optimize resources

By using dedicated software, a home care provider can eliminate on average more than 95% of its paper documentation, improve operational efficiency by over 65%, and reduce back-office staffing operations by half. Some advanced software platforms can also increase caregiver retention by 2 to 3 times over the market average. These higher retention levels deliver better overall outcomes.

What other Features does Home Care Software Offer?

In addition to those mentioned above – streamlining foundational workflow, optimizing processes, and enhancing the relationship between caregiver and patient – some software also offers EVV (electronic visit verification).

EVV is an electronic method used to verify home care visits. It is mainly carried out through the use of GPS tracking as well as computer software. GPS can be used to track the location of caregivers or as a “check-in” system for care providers on a home visit. 

The use of EVV for Medicaid-funded personal care services and home healthcare services that require at-home visits by a provider is mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act Section 12006(a).

The verification criteria for EVV are as follows:

  • Types of service performed.
  • Individual receiving the service
  • Date of service
  • Location of service delivery
  • Individual providing the service
  • Time the service begins and ends

The 21st Century Cures Act provides a pathway for home care and specifies Electronic Visit Verification, which is being approved and introduced on a state by state basis. The EVV healthcare mandate was established to stamp out fraudulent care claims and ensure people receive the care they are promised.

Home care agencies across the US are using Smartcare’s intelligent EVV tools and Smartcare eVerified to help keep patients and caregivers safe from fraud and provide agencies with a modern digital solution for staying compliant and supporting and running a successful home care business.

We’re here to help!
Talk with one of our home care experts today.