We can’t imagine a working hospital or caregiver agency without nurses, doctors, and other personnel. But what helps them achieve their full work potential? Health services management.
It is an often underrepresented part of health care that keeps the wheels turning. However, the management of health services has its own unique set of challenges not present in other industries.
Yes, data-driven management is key in any business. But even more so in healthcare.
Effective health services management is key to making sure everyone is accounted for while maintaining business growth. It all starts with careful planning and using the right software to help you drive your business goals and take your management to the next level.
If you feel like you could be doing better in this sense, read on as we explore some of the pitfalls and possible solutions to the challenges of health services management.
You Don’t Rely on Homecare Management Software
It’s not just that caregiver agency management has to comply with federal and state laws. If Covid-19 has proved anything, it’s that we should rely on technology more if we want to succeed in the “new normal”.
That’s why the future of health services management lies in implementing homecare management software. You’ll not only comply with laws but provide key benefits to your agency. Let’s explore them:
Benefits of Home Health Management Software
Apart from ensuring legal compliance, using the right software can be beneficial to your business for other reasons, as well. If you’re looking to find out more, check out our in-depth blog on the key features of an ideal home health care workforce management software.
Whichever software you choose, it should provide you with the right features and measurable data that can help you become more efficient at health services management.
You Lack Relevant Data
The path toward effective health services management is paved with accurate and up-to-date data. Managing a mobile workforce spread across numerous locations in the field is near impossible without having all the information at all times.
Knowing the precise location of your staff, their status, response times, appointment duration, the quickest routes to their assigned address, etc. can make your job a lot easier. However, having the information before you is not enough. In order to get any real results, you need to understand it and make data-backed decisions, while tracking key performance indicators.
Employee Location Data
Tracking the location of your mobile employees via GPS lets you collect information on in-house visits, lower fraud, and protect patients against low-quality care. This data lets you hold your staff accountable at all times and measure their efficiency.
In addition, considering the risks present in the industry, monitoring your employees contributes to their safety at work and can protect them from false claims.
Finally, all the collected information on house visit duration, routes taken, time spent in transit, etc. can help you analyze overall performance, understand how your staff operates in the field, spot room for improvement and take your health services management to a whole new level.
Organized Patient Information
Keeping track of the latest patient health information and reports helps you avoid information overload (more on that later). This ultimately improves the effectiveness of health care and brings a more satisfied clientele.
Digitalize All Your Data
Having all your data in digital form eliminates the need for paperwork and lets you focus on running your business. In addition, it provides both you and your staff with simple access to all the information they need either from their smartphone or PC.
The benefits of digitalized record keeping are rather straightforward:
* A clear overview of completed and upcoming tasks
* Easy data manipulation
You Make Wrong Assumptions
Making decisions based on assumptions (however sound they may seem) is rarely a good idea in managing people. Instead, avoid making any assumptions and base your decisions solely on objective data.
Use the information collected through home care management software to understand what your team can deliver, their workload and performance, and what you can do to make their job easier and cut down on costs.
Those experienced in the management of health services understand such factors are intertwined and call them the Project Management Triangle, or PMT. You can utilize PMT to highlight findings in planning and produce informed decisions on adjusting the budget, scope, and schedule.
You’re Overloaded with Information
Think having to comb through hundreds of pages of data at a time. Or searching through thousands and thousands of data points to discover valuable information. This represents a frequent scenario in health services management.
Whether this data was produced by lab tests or medical devices, or utilized for admin work or patient care, information overload is an unavoidable issue across all kinds of healthcare providers, including home health care management.
Of course, there are benefits to enjoying data abundance. However, this abundance can get overwhelming fast. Fortunately, most data today comes in electronic form. That’s why technologies like home health management software can provide enormous help. Home health care management should look for solutions that provide:
Easy gathering of information — Find solutions that instantly upload information from several departments or sources. The fewer solutions you need to employ, the better.
Automated reporting — Manual reports cost a lot of time. Today, solutions that automatically make and distribute reports are better.
Simple data visualization — Data that’s visualized is easier to interpret. Find solutions that provide different chart and graph features.
Keep in mind that different needs require different solutions. For instance, caregiver agency management will need homecare management software that’s better at managing patient data. While a clinic would be better off with a solution that highlights reporting and strategy execution.
You Neglect Your Team’s Wellbeing
Your healthcare employees are a different sort of workers than those in marketing or sales departments. You can’t take the same approach to managing nurses and doctors as you would for managing staff in other industries. They have some of the most crucial and stressful jobs out there.
In fact, health care and social assistance come as the second most stressful job in 2021 (60.7%). Not to mention that mistakes in health care impact more than just lost time and money. It’s easy to fix a faulty sales campaign if you spot the problem. But mitigating a health-related issue resulting from poor healthcare services is far more complicated if not impossible.
Mistakes will happen. But it’s up to proper health services management to lower their frequency and minimize their impact. The first step towards this includes hiring the right employees.
Hire the Right Personnel
The quality of its employees is the main factor that will determine any company's success. This is especially true for health care. That’s why effective health services management starts with hiring the right employees. Make sure to go the extra mile when identifying and recruiting new staff members and try to find employees who will fit into your organization. Both in the long- and short-term.
Careful hiring is a crucial part of caregiver agency management, where providing top-notch service is the foundation of growth.
However, this is no easy feat. Covid-19 and the aging Boomer population pushed demand for health workers. Between 2000 and 2030 the number of individuals older than 65 in the U.S. will have doubled.
Such an elderly populace will need twice as many visits compared to those under 65, especially considering the fact that 80% of this population suffers from at least one chronic condition.
But not all is lost. Here’s what you should keep in mind when hiring:
Do What You Can to Avoid Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is one of the leading reasons for a high employee turnover rate across all industries.
Burning out is a pretty frequent event for home care aides. A meta-analysis of hundreds of studies determined both that health care aides suffer from significant stress and that the best way to mitigate this stress is a rich personal life.
That’s why it's key you discuss your candidate’s interests besides health care. Their hobbies and other social supporting structures they have during the application process or interviews. This way, you’ll be able to gauge their personality better and find ways to help them avoid burnout.
In addition, make sure to encourage a healthy work-life balance within your company to counter the effects of stress at their workplace.
Find Easygoing Health Care Aides
House caregivers have to be more vigilant regarding their client’s safety and health, as well as their own.
Occupational hazard research determined almost 1 out of five home care workers experienced verbal violence during 2015. Even worse, 6,6% were victims of some type of physical violence, including:
* Aggressive contact
When hiring, find health aides who know the limitations or illnesses of their clientele. Particularly those who’re good at controlling their temper and responses. Even when clients are unreasonable or abusive.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
Some software with employee location monitoring also offers flexible scheduling features. With real-time information on the whereabouts and status of each employee, you can respond to last-minute cancellations or delays and reassign home visits to the right member of your staff.
Your staff will appreciate being able to check their schedule at any time using their smartphone as well as being given additional flexibility with their working hours. Such solutions can go a long way in combating the stress and risk of burnout your staff is exposed to on a daily basis.
Furthermore, this lets your ensure your patients receive the care they need without compromising punctuality.
Finally, by migrating scheduling to a digital platform, you will benefit from a clear overview of who is working and when, allowing you to make data-driven decisions using real-time data.
You Don’t Communicate
Adequate and frequent communication both inside the healthcare organization and with their external stakeholder is one of the main challenges for health services management. Research shows that miscommunication is one of the costliest issues in healthcare. This is often the result of aging tech, siloing departments, and other problems.
Low-quality internal communication was even connected to lower quality of patient care. This only emphasizes the importance of efficient communication protocols. Especially during the pandemic, you have to communicate with external and internal audiences about concepts like:
* Safety precaution
* Availability of test
* PPE supplies and more
However, even during “normal” times, health services managers have to share information across departments in order to engage and empower workers, highlight collaboration, and impact strategic initiatives.
Fortunately, technology can help. A lot. Find solutions that ease information sharing and communication. Even better, those that make communication simpler and more structured. The right tools can even provide transparency on your company’s path and mission.
It will even encourage your workers to own the project completion, and thus increase their engagement. You’ll also be able to communicate more with outside stakeholders via dashboards that provide key data.
Keep Up or Stay Behind
Today, the key to effective health services management is keeping up with technological and regulatory advancements. It’s not just about following the 21st Century Cures Act so you don’t lose Medicaid claims. The right tech can improve taking care of clients, app integration, and the safety of your employees.
An app like Timeero that offers all the right features (like EVV, scheduling, and automated time and mileage tracking) can help you stay compliant with regulations, collect relevant data, protect your employees, and provide your clients with exceptional service.