Barrett Coakley | 08.13.18
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Editor's note: This blog is a part of a series called "How Home Healthcare Providers Can Benefit from Field Service Management Software." Read the previous blog here

Managing a team of home health aides (HHAs) is a complex undertaking. While there are dozens of areas that affect quality of service, one of the most significant is scheduling. Optimized scheduling impacts patients, caregivers and scheduling coordinators and plays a major role in satisfaction for both the patient and provider. Planning and scheduling your caregivers effectively and efficiently involves competing priorities that must be managed. First, you need to ensure that your HHAs are not only in the right place at the right time, but that they also have the proper qualifications to provide the treatment and care that each patient requires.

Next, further complicating the scheduling process, is that over time each HHA develops a relationship with the patients and families they see regularly. There is a desire for both patient and caregiver to retain consistency with respect to the HHA visiting each patient. This continuity of care increases the overall quality of care and patient and family satisfaction. Continuity of care allows a HHA to better monitor patient status without loss of information, enabling them to detect problems more quickly.

Lastly, HHAs can take care of several patients per day and need to drive from place to place. They often do not know the best routes to take and end up with increased time driving from patient to patient. This also increases the likelihood that your HHA will arrive late due to poor planning or delays in traffic. Additionally, extended travel times can also increase turnover among caregivers. In fact, healthcare firm Honor found that for every 15-mile increment that a care pro must travel to a client, that care pro becomes two times more likely to turn over.

In the past, many health providers relied on developing schedules manually. But as the size of home healthcare provider teams expand to meet increasing demand, this becomes increasingly difficult. Fortunately, this is where FSM software excels. Scheduling through a FSM software solution provides your organization with:

  • Proactive Scheduling Optimization: Optimize caregiver scheduling with real-time traffic updates, route optimization, and instant reshuffling of a schedule when conditions change to increase satisfaction for patients and employees.
  • Adaptive Capacity Forecasting: Use historical performance data to determine the expected workload by geography, time, and work type to provide the clearest and most accurate picture of upcoming patient demands.
  • Right Person, Right Skills: Ensure the HHA has the required skill set to perform care, and allow you to consistently match caregivers to patients to improve continuity of care.

Read the case study below to learn how a firm from another industry with complex scheduling needs utilized a FSM solution to gain control over the process.

Case Study: How FSM Helped cablex Optimize Scheduling

Cablex constructs and maintains high-performance information and communication technology networks across Switzerland. From 19 locations, the staff of 1200 employees completes about 120,000 construction and maintenance jobs annually. It’s earned a reputation of one of the most technologically innovative companies in Switzerland.

As cablex expanded its operations, the management team found it more and more challenging to schedule their field workforce and efficiently manage technician activities. This was especially true because most of their processes were handled manually. On top of that, each of their locations had its own unique scheduling and work order reporting process, which led to inconsistencies and incorrect data. And without a centralized view of scheduling metrics, senior management had no visibility into operations.

Cablex needed a single schedule management process for the entire company that could automate scheduling. Likewise, they wanted to make all data transparent so personnel across the company could access they information needed to properly serve customers.

The FSM solution significantly impacted the quality of work turned in by cablex employees. Personnel in the office and in the field can now create structured customer schedules and plan ahead more intelligently. This allows everyone to collaborate more efficiently in servicing customer needs—without having to scramble in response to urgent customer requests.

Some of the benefits cablex has seen include:

  • Increases daily service assignments completed by field technicians by 15%.
  • Reduces the time required from order processing to order fulfillment by 25%.
  • Enables real-time access to the exact status of all customer orders.
  • Generates real-time responses to tell customers when to expect field technician visits.
  • Scales capabilities easily as company continues to grow.
  • Integrates with other systems, such as ERP, to facilitate back-office business-process workflows, reducing running costs by 25%.
  • Provides field technicians with all work-order information relating to customer contracts, project plans, diagrams and sketches—through one application.

Efficient job scheduling is one of the most significant benefits of FSM software.  Poor planning and scheduling can lead to increased costs and operational inefficiencies. By improving scheduling, you can take on more clients, protect margins and have better insights into your cost structure to enable you to more accurately bid on RFPs.