This healthcare market continues to grow as healthcare shifts from the hospital to the home. Like many healthcare professionals, these workers need to speed up patient encounters, while providing better care.
Providers also face the added challenge of being constantly on the move. Fortunately, home health agency software is designed to automate many of the day-to-day activities professionals encounter—from completing clinicals to scheduling and billing. We have created this guide to help buyers better understand this software market and how to identify which systems will best meet their needs.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
It generally includes features typical of most electronic health records (EHRs) to streamline the day-to-day clinical operations of providers. More specifically, these systems have been designed to automate nearly every process needed in home care—ranging from clinicals, or point-of-care records, to billing, scheduling and accounting.
Most systems are designed to take you through the Home Health Care Outcome & Assessment Information Set (OASIS) while keeping patient data secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Some systems offer unique features designed to meet the needs of specialty areas, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy or others. (For more information about software designed for other post-acute care settings, check out our long-term care and nursing home software guide and our assisted living software guide.)
|Point of care||Assists in conducting and capturing information from OASIS assessments and in determining a Plan of Care. Helps with completing HCFA-485 forms, OBQI reports and HHRG scoring. Stores notes from home aides, hospice, therapists and information on patients’ vitals. Functions include internal messaging, medication interaction checks, mobile device and telephony support and infusion therapy support. Also features signature capture, physician portal, ICD-9 database and HL-7 interface.|
|Billing||Home health billing software manages eligibility verification, claim scrubbing and CMS-1500s. Includes case mix calculator and non-LUPA case adjustment. Functions include ERN posting and electronic remittances, secondary payer support, request for anticipated payment (RAP) support, collections management, billing services and UB-04 support.|
|Scheduling||Home health scheduling software manages the process of scheduling patients to ensure accuracy of daily calendars. Features include conflict alerts and wait lists.|
|Accounting||Automates accounting procedures for agencies. Functions include payroll, general ledger, purchase orders, accounts payable and inventory control. Also handles bank reconciliation, accounts receivable, fixed asset management and budgeting/forecasting.|
|Human resources (HR)||Assists in routine activities including healthcare provider background and security checks, tracking time and attendance and payroll. Handles I-9 forms, certification tracking and review management.|
|Customer relationship management (CRM)||Helps coordinate care of patients across specialties, departments and locations, improving the impact of your referral program. Aids with correspondence related to wait lists for hospices with limited space and to donor management for organizations receiving charitable contributions.|
Before evaluating software and lining up a formal comparison of systems, you’ll want to make sure you know what type of buyer you are, and which home health software vendors meet your needs. We’ve found almost all buyers fall into one of the four categories listed below:
Home care. These agencies provide care by licensed health workers—including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and licensed therapists—to treat patients for illness or injury. The most important features of home care management software for these agencies will likely be the clinicals (also called point-of-care records) and scheduling features to help you monitor your patient census. Most agencies will also require applications such as human resources, accounting, billing and customer relationship management. Therefore, integrated suites are ideal for these buyers.
Hospice care. These organizations will often look for human resources and customer relationship management systems. These features help support communications with volunteers and philanthropic donors that help the organization either financially or with in-kind contributions. Human resources features are important for conducting tasks, such as background checks of workers, payroll and performance reviews. Some organizations may prefer software tailor-made for hospices; see our hospice software buyer's guide for those options.
Private duty. These buyers typically provide non-medical care and require software that can support billing to organizations other than Medicare. They oftentimes also require human resources, scheduling and accounting solutions.
Therapy/rehabilitation. Therapeutic care providers, such as speech therapists and physical therapists, often look to systems to help manage patient data and track therapy progress. Other common needs include ensuring compliance, scheduling, therapist productivity and managing accounts receivable.
Buyers should keep the following trends in mind when researching software. How a vendor fits within these trends can affect its viability.
Software as a Service (SaaS). The growth of cloud, or Web-based, computing practices has touched many industries and healthcare is definitely among them. Within healthcare, home care-centered agencies can appreciate the lower upfront costs of home healthcare software, monthly pricing model, lack of IT infrastructure and remote accessibility that Web-based applications can deliver.
Accessibility from mobile devices. Web-based home care solutions provide convenient access to patient data from mobile devices, such as an iPad, iPhone or Android. This improves your efficiency and reduces paperwork by helping you complete assessments directly at the point of care.
Quality assurance features. Given the prevalence of mobile devices, it can be increasingly important that a point-of-care system automatically generate a Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) form following completion of an OASIS so that payment from Medicare is assured.
Advanced RehabTrust, a Denton, TX-based home health agency, found themselves bogged down by billing errors and lengthy, inefficient workflows. The agency embarked on a search for a comprehensive software system that is up-to-date with regulatory and compliance concerns, features efficient billing and streamlines daily processes. After researching other systems, Advanced RehabTrust implemented Kinnser’s Agency Manager in August 2010.
In this case study, discover how Kinnser helped the agency reduce costs, completely eliminate billing mistakes, increase productivity and provide higher quality patient care.
Read it here: ”Case Study: How Advanced RehabTrust Improved Quality of Care with Kinnser.”
When selecting a solution, buyers can choose to implement applications for specific tasks—known as standalone, best-of-breed home healthcare solutions. Or, they can go with an integrated system that has a full suite of tools to address all of their needs—such as accounting, billing, human resources and more.
Agencies also need to determine how they would like to access the system. For example, some systems are offered completely over the Internet as Web-based home health software systems. This is also referred to as a software-as-a-service (SaaS).
These SaaS systems are typically offered in a pay-as-you-go monthly or annual subscription and are hosted and maintained by the vendor. Other vendors offer on-premise solutions where users install and run the system from a server at your agency. It’s important to note that many vendors today offer both SaaS and on-site systems.
CMS publishes patient ratings of home health agencies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun publishing ratings for Medicare-certified home health agencies. These new ratings are based on patient responses to surveys about their experiences receiving care. The 5-star scale ranges from high (five stars) to low (one star), and they’re listed in CMS’ Home Health Compare website.
Medicaid adds requirement for home health services coverage. Physicians who want to be reimbursed by Medicaid for home health services will soon be required to to do an in-person examination of the patient first. This requirement is expected to go into effect in July 2016. A similar rule already applies for Medicare coverage of home health treatments.
Study finds home health care advantages over inpatient care. A newly published study in the journal Medical Care found hospital patients who are referred to home health care had better outcomes (e.g., reduced readmission rates) than those referred to inpatient facilities. The study also noted home health services are often more cost-effective.
We're able to offer this service to buyers for free, because software vendors pay us on a "pay-per-lead" basis. Buyers get great advice. Sellers get great referrals.