Home Healthcare Management Software and the Challenges of Collecting Data
Choosing the best home healthcare management software for your business is critical. Gone are the days when you could wing it with shareware, spreadsheets, and a file of index cards with patient and family names on them.
Today’s competitive home healthcare agencies know they need software to manage both patient care and staffing and business needs. A robust system that accommodates everything from client records to staffing schedules is essential to manage a thriving, growing home healthcare agency.
In addition to finding the right software for your agency, there’s an even bigger challenge: data collection. Home healthcare agencies face additional restrictions and challenges when it comes to collecting and utilizing data. Let’s take a look at these challenges and how to address them before talking about finding home healthcare management software.
Challenges of Big Data Analytics in Home Healthcare Agencies
In addition to the typical challenges of data collection such as security, storage, and cleaning, home healthcare agencies face additional challenges. These include:
- Data governance: Data governance refers to the rules guiding data updates, field capture, and aligning data across multiple databases. For home healthcare agencies, this can be extremely challenging. If patient data fields do not align precisely, reports may not accurately reflect the patient’s condition. For example, if Mary Brown’s record lists her as Mary Brown, M. Brown, and Mary Elizabeth Brown, she may show up with three records. If, when her file is opened as “Mary Brown,” she has hypertension and requires medication, but in March she is diagnosed with type II diabetes under the file record “M. Brown” and requires additional medication, it may be difficult to track across files that Mary is now taking an antihypertensive, daily insulin injections, and a cholesterol-lowering medication. Ensuring that Mary’s record is entered consistently as “Mary Brown” according to data governance rules will help align the patient’s records and ensure consistent care and monitoring. Analytics may be difficult if record fields do not align, but careful adherence to data governance can prevent problems.
- HIPAA privacy rules: Storing big data on the cloud means careful adherence to HIPAA privacy policies. Choose a cloud storage provider who specializes in healthcare and who understands the need for careful security and the ramifications of HIPAA violations in the event of a data breach. Have your provider sign documents attesting that their data storage complies with HIPAA, too, for added peace of mind.
- Record keeping: Healthcare records must be maintained for six years. Be sure that you are prepared to maintain big data records for that length of time or longer. Work with a known data storage provider to minimize the risk of having to move your data if they go out of business.
Finding Great Home Healthcare Management Software: More than Big Data and Analytics
Finding great home healthcare management software is more than concern for big data and analytics. Depending on where your agency stands today, you may need all or simply some features updated. If your agency recently invested in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, but the billing is antiquated, you may find that a package that leans heavily towards accounting software serves you best.
To start the process of finding the best home healthcare management software, meet with your team and find out what their needs are as well as their wants and desires. Ask them to rank their needs on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “Critical” and 5 a “Nice to have.”
You may need to spend considerable time determining what you must have and what you can give up. That’s a typical step in any software selection process and goes for home healthcare agencies, too.
One thing you don’t want to (and can’t) give up is compliance with state and federal rules, so be sure that as you are narrowing down your choices, you keep any basics in place for patient safety, adherence to various regulations and, of course, privacy and security.
Imagine the Future
Your agency today looks very different from what it looked like a few years ago. What do you think it will look like in the future? Imagine what you may need now, next year, and five years from now.
Scaling for growth can be difficult. That’s why we’re proponents of cloud-based software as well as software that’s easily scaled up or down depending on your needs. As your agency grows, you’ll need to add more licenses to any software that you buy. Cloud systems make it very easy to add more people onto a system or add capacity.
Ask About Integration
Lastly, find out now, before you buy the new software, if it integrates with existing software your agency uses. Most databases can be moved as ASCI or other common file formats into new systems and databases, but other systems may not integrate readily or easily. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consider whether or not custom programming is possible, affordable, and feasible.
Home Healthcare Management Software: Great Packages for Growing Agencies
To find the right home healthcare management software, speak with the experts at Mindover. We offer many packages that include accounting, billing, scheduling, client record management and more. These services can help you run a cost-effective and profitable agency. For more information, please contact us or call 512-990-3994.