How innovative home care agencies use technology to improve employee experience

AlayaCare Posted on May 3, 2022

Home care is on the precipice of seismic shifts. accelerated by technology, demand & supply fluctuations and evolving preferences of both patients and caregivers.  

Throughout the history of modern healthcare to date, care has been primarily centred around providers. While this has increased efficiency for clinicians and health systems, it can render care inaccessible to patients. And ignores that many patients prefer to stay at home, especially when it comes to aging with dignity and independence. 

The home care industry has risen to the critical challenge of supporting patients to choose where they want to receive care. And while the patient experience will always remain the number one priority among agencies, many home care organizations are making changes to enhance caregiver experience.

The current and future state of employee experience 

A recent survey conducted by Home Health Care News confirms that agencies continue to grapple with the caregiver shortage. 80% of respondents surveyed reported it as their top non-pandemic challenge at their organization. It’s untenable to maintain this level of staffing uncertainty in a business while providing reliable and comprehensive care. AlayaCare’s Founder and CEO, Adrian Schauer, predicts labor market pressures will spur innovation among home care employment models. 

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While finding, hiring and retaining quality caregivers will continue to challenge even the most effective agencies, there are several strategies that you can implement to enhance employee experience and keep your best staff.  

On two recent episodes of Home Health 360, AlayaCare’s podcast offering global perspectives on home healthcare, hosts Jeff Howell and Erin Vallier explored how global industry leaders are investing in systems that improve workforce management. 

Reduce scheduling friction by fulfilling caregiver preferences 

In episode 9 of Home Health 360,  Inteprid USA CEO John Kunysz describes how his agency matches caregivers and patients to boost satisfaction between both parties.  

To tap into the full potential of Inteprid’s workforce, they launched a program called Your Patients, Your Schedule, aimed at maximizing flexibility for staff. “Physician preference cards have existed for over 30 years,” notes Kunysz, “They need to exist for both patients and care team members.” 

Home care agencies looking to enhance caregiver experience via preferences should consider leveraging their back-office portal to build rapport between clients and caregivers. With AlayaCare’s employee database, schedulers can arrange visits based on soft skill matches such as languages spoken or favorite pets. Or schedule more strategically based on the caregiver’s ideal schedule while still fulfilling client needs. 

Employ tools that optimize your caregivers’ time 

While many home care software platforms promise to boost back-office efficiency, they often fall short on an essential organizational piece – demonstrating to caregivers that they are important and valued. As Jennifer Maxwell, CEO and Founder of Maxwell Healthcare Associates, shared on an episode of Home Health 360, “Caregivers will go where they feel most supported, most heard and have the tools to do the work.” 

If you want to show your caregivers some love, these features go the extra mile: 

  • Route optimization. Caregivers often spend hours per day on the road. Help them save travel time and costs with AI-powered route mapping and optimization.
    Route mapping and optimization tool - Improving route efficiencies
     
  • Configurable charting. Intrepid USA CEO John Kunysz advises, “For these systems to be successful, they can’t burden the caregiver.” Set up your agency’s mobile checklists, forms and charts to align with how caregivers work best. 
    Caregiver mobile app: Allow care providers to access key information
  • Electronic visit verification. EVV reduces billing errors, and it also increases payroll accuracy. With GPS-enabled clock-in and clock-out on their phones, caregivers can get paid more accurately and spend less time reviewing their timesheets. 
    Electronic Visit Verification (EVV): Trust AlayaCare as your EVV compliance partner

These intuitive and efficient features make caregivers’ jobs more streamlined. And they offer agencies valuable insights into how staff feel about their organization. Jennifer Maxwell recommends that agencies leveraging software platforms should “Notice how the caregiver’s behavior changes with respect to your technology so you can start the right conversations.” Is a typically diligent caregiver suddenly missing items on checklists? Perhaps something is going on in their personal life – or they may be feeling disengaged. 

Be an employer of choice by offering full-time hours 

As competition continues to intensify for high-quality caregivers, many home care organizations are turning to novel workforce models to increase continuity of care while positioning themselves as employers of choice. Richard Keller, former President of All Metro Health Care, recently appeared on the Home Health 360 podcast to discuss caregiver turnover. He recommends agencies consider, “How do you make the right match [between caregiver and client] so that it sticks? And how do you make that process more efficient?” 

Enter AlayaCare Marketplace. Offering a gateway to additional revenue, trusted referrals and consistent hours for caregivers, this innovative subcontracting tool seeks to correct misalignment of staffing resources in the home care industry while addressing the caregiver shortage. With Marketplace, an integrated tool in AlayaCare Cloud, providers can directly offer and accept visit referrals from other verified providers within the AlayaCare network. 

As Keller noted on Home Health 360, “Staffing will get increasingly more complicated.” Agencies need to engage with creative resources to handle it. 

The future of employee experience in home care 

Throughout the most recent era of home care development and growth, organizations have honed the patient experience - and now see all-time high demand as a result. Many families now consider care at home to be a better option for their loved ones. Agencies’ dedication to delivering better patient outcomes has led to industry-wide change. Many of these benchmarks are being standardized and incentivized through programs like value-based payments. 

Similar changes are sweeping home care employee experience, catalyzed by caregiver shortages, inflation and demand. By leveraging technology that offers caregivers reliable schedules, efficient work processes and fulfills their preferences, innovative home care organizations can attract qualified, loyal caregivers that enable them to scale their operations. 

Home-based care pain points and opportunities in 2022 report download

Topics: Caregiver Churn, Home Care