21 May How do I Choose the Best Home Health Software?
Choosing a Home Health Software that Works for Your Agency
Is it mobile responsive? Will I be able to collect caregiver and patient signatures electronically? Can I complete visit notes on or offline? Does it have EVV? How many licenses do I need? Does it handle skilled care? Will it handle non-skilled homecare? How many features does it have? How expensive is it going to be? Can it handle multiple business lines? Does it have Telephony? Will it work for Private Duty? Can I use it for Hospice? Is the support free? What is the onboarding process? Do I have to sign a contract? Can it bill for all payers? Is it easy to learn? Is it easy to use for caregivers? Will it work for Home Health Aide visits?
These are just SOME of the questions you might be thinking about as you begin your search for the best Home Health Software for your agency. Maybe your agency has just opened, or you could be established with multiple branches…in either case, some of your core questions are still the same.
How do I find the best Homecare Software?
A simple Google search for the term “Home Health” or “Homecare Software” will reveal to you roughly a million-plus results. You have to sift through the “Sponsored ads” from a cornucopia of vendors all claiming to be the best. You’ll see everything from easy to use home care software free of cost, or with free trial periods, or with lesser features to allow you to make money, to software with hundreds of features, or claiming to help you improve office management or patient care. How do you cut through the marketing and get to the question you really want to answer, Which software will make my agency better? You can spend weeks going on different demos, reviewing provider websites, videos, testimonials, white papers, case studies, product pages, and virtual sales pitches created to make you buy now, and figure it out later.
The entire process can be overwhelming, particularly for new Home Health agencies, but make no mistake, choosing the right software is a extremely important decision that will have a major impact for months and years to come (depending on contract length). Making the right decision can be difficult, but to achieve the best tool for your staff, and the best ROI for your money here are some tips on what to look for.
Make a List of What you and your staff need
One mistake that many businesses make is not knowing exactly what they want or need out of an emr for home health solution. This leaves agencies vulnerable to being sold a software with much more than they need at a high price or getting a software with too little of what could make their agency thrive in an effort to save money. What kind of care do you provide? Who are your ideal patients? The answers to those questions should carry major weight in determining what software provider and what package you purchase. A great number of Homecare Software providers offer different packages, user licenses, and levels of software at different price points with varying numbers of features and capabilities.
How big is your staff, and what kind of care do you provide, and PLAN to provide in the future? Some companies offer software that is strictly for skilled care. Others offer the capability to manage multiple business lines and handle other types of care like Private Duty, Companion, and Personal Care. Some companies offer all-in-one home health, homecare, even hospice care software within one solution. With the concerns caused by the 21st Century Cures act, does it have built-in EVV? while simultaneously offering capability across devices such as smartphones, tablets, and androids. When you try to pick the best home health software, think about not only where you are today, but where you might be headed years down the road. You don’t want to pay too much for features and capabilities you don’t need and won’t use. On the other hand, you don’t want to be frugal when it comes to your agency’s potential and end up with a solution that you outgrow rapidly. Paying an early termination fee for a software you’ve outgrown can be expensive when a little planning and a strong plan to identify the services you need can position you to experience good ROI on your software investment in short order.
The Home Health Software Industry is growing & Changing
As patient care and Home Health has evolved, the Home Health Software industry has evolved. The federal government rolls out new mandates, new rules, and regulations consistently. State governments continuously update requirements that influence how rapidly you can bill for the services you provide. Many states have passed EVV requirements, and PDGM is fast approaching. Some home health software is not designed to handle the changing homecare spectrum in the U.S, though don’t be surprised if a salesman says that it can. Ask direct questions about what features the software has and how well it is supported. Inquire about what a company is doing to not only help your business stay in compliance but also to help educate your staff on the tools and regulatory changes they need to be aware of to provide the highest level of care.
Be a smart searcher…understand how google displays results
Can you tell the difference between a paid listing and an organic listing in a search result, and are you aware of why it makes a difference? Major search engines like Google and Yahoo reward websites that are stacked with relevant content with high organic rankings. An organic ranking normally appears at the center of the page with a white background behind it. Other website results can appear above the organic listings and are basically positioned there as a reward for having the best most relevant content. You will often see a Snippet of a website that includes basic information or synopsis of a page in these cases. Search results can also appear above these, usually with a shaded backdrop, and these are PAID listings, funded through search engine marketing. Software vendors pay to sponsor ads for a number of reasons but know that just because a company and their solution appear as the first result you see on a page, does not mean they are the best software. It’s really just that they paid the most money to be in that spot! Relevant content is still how search engines best determine ranking position. Explore website pages and ads, paying close attention to what they are actually advertising and communicating to you, placing less emphasis on whether they are the first result you see.
Consult with Trusted Online Resources
The internet has ushered in an age where almost any information on any topic is available instantly for those looking for it. You can read reviews of virtually any business, product, application, or Home Health Software, in a variety of different website forums designed to conglomerate and deliver this information to you. Beyond just the google reviews and yelp, there are websites dedicated to collecting VERIFIED software reviews from real agencies and people. Websites such as Software Advice, Capterra, G2 Crowd, and GetApp offer informative pages dedicated to home health software vendor reviews. These reviews often include details not normally explained on a more formal review site, granting you the ability to identify trends of what softwares are ahead of the pack in terms of pricing, features, and customer support. If you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, explore video sites like YouTube and Vimeo and search for “Home Health Software” or “Homecare Software” reviews. Case studies and white papers are often featured on provider sites as well, giving you an insider level of access to a software vendor’s agencies and customers who many times will state their names and addresses (in some cases offering themselves as a reference for their Home Health Software).
Take the demo, and take notes!
Once you’ve explored all the choices, now it’s time for a demo. Go in armed with your list of specific questions and requirements you have for a home health software vendor. Learn what they offer, but instead of allowing a salesperson to steer the conversation, set expectations so you can get the most value and information out of the demo. If you need to schedule a follow-up, most providers will address anything that they didn’t have time to cover in your initial demonstration. Inquire about clear pricing, contract type and length, and even customer support. Ask about onboarding time and the learning curve for you and your staff, as this can have a direct impact on your success as an agency and your staff’s overall happiness.
Choosing the best home health software for you is up to you…
In a competitive market, the buyer always wins, because of the abundance of choices. No one wants to sit through 20 demos and weed through all of that information, however, going into the process of home health software vetting with a clear idea of what you want and need, will allow you to spend time exploring provider websites and narrowing your choices to the mightiest contenders. If one company is running a special for signups this month, compare that to what another software provider is offering. Price, long-term agency needs, ROI, and growth potential, should be the guiding factors that bring you to a decision you will be happy with.
Gain Adoption from your office staff and caregivers
Once you’ve begun the process of purchasing and implementing a home health software, your agency’s success will hinge on strong implementation and getting buy-in from your staff (which should include nurses, home health aides, managers and other caregivers). A major stumbling block to an agency reaching peak efficiency and ROI on a homecare software investment is if only a portion of the staff successfully trains on and gains a comfort level using the new software. Establish someone in your agency to be the point-person for coordinating agency-wide adoption with your new provider’s point person for training.
You bought it, now use your HOME HEALTH SOFTWARE!
One of the most frequent reasons organizations change software is never really understanding what they have or how to fully use it! In many cases, some agencies don’t use a significant portion of the features and functionality they have mainly because they were unaware. Many benefits are then left on the table. A good Home Health Software will save time, increase revenue, and simplify processes, but oftentimes the grind of daily workflow and patient care paired with agency management prohibits agency staff from maximizing efficiency. Try to benchmark where your agency is at the time of implementation, and establish solid goalposts of where you want to be and how the features you purchased can help get arrive there. Once you make the investment, be committed to getting the most out of that investment.
THE ALORA HOME HEALTH BLOG
Read the Alora blog and website to learn more about home health software, including recent news, articles, and commentaries, as well as other issues that pertain to Homecare and beyond, stay tuned to the Alora Home Health blog.. For more information about this blog, or for questions or feedback, please send us an email to HomeHealthSoftware@AloraHealth.com