Barrett Coakley | 09.03.18
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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.

The home healthcare market is undergoing strong growth due to an aging population and their desire to live at home for as long as possible. To meet this growing demand, there has been heavy merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the space to help firms achieve greater economies of scale to deliver services more effectively and to grab market share in a fragmented market. In fact, Home Health Care News recently wrote an article on how hospitals and health systems are engaging in M&A to achieve economies of scale.

There were more than 115 combined deals for private-duty, Medicaid- and Medicare-certified home health businesses in both 2016 and 2017, according to proprietary data from The Braff Group. In 2015, in comparison, there were fewer than 80 home health M&A deals. M&A activity in the hospice space has also been high over the past several years, data shows. Increased access to capital could mean more money to invest in facilities, technologies, and staff. However, with growth comes added complexity to operations.

The challenge service businesses face as more resources and jobs are added to the schedule is that it is impossible for a human to consider all the factors inherent in creating the ideal schedule. Here are some examples about how scale increases complexity:

  • With 3 mobile employees and 3 jobs there are 6 possible ways to schedule the work
  • There are 720 different ways to dispatch 6 employees to do 6 jobs
  • There are 1,307,674,368,000 different ways to dispatch 15 employees to do 15 jobs. (Or more permutations than there are stars in the Milky Way!)

As a result, it is nearly impossible to manually schedule people or to use a scheduling software that is not built specifically to handle this level of complexity—not without sacrificing efficiency and productivity. The complexity involved in these scenarios is exactly what FSM software was designed to do and has helped countless service organization provide better customer service, improve operations and reduce costs.

Case Study: How a U.S.-Based Home Services Provider Used FSM Software to Help Scale Their Operations

A U.S.-based home services provider offering smart home technology, home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada came to Click for help. As the their customer base increased by 60 percent in a 2-year period, the company realized it needed to improve upon its legacy scheduling platform that had been developed in-house. Other key factors that drove an upgrade of its field service systems were the need to comply with emergency response industry standards and the desire to maintain its JD Powers & Associates Customer Service Level certification. Specific key benefits sought included an improvement in technician utilization rates and a reduction in the cost of fuel per completed service ticket. The previous system required as many as 20 manual steps to determine the best engineer for each service call, and technicians often had to self-dispatch themselves by printing schedules from personal computers. The system would also often lose track of work-order details, which was frustrating for everyone. After upgrading to a FSM solution they realized the following benefits.

  • Improved engineer utilization by 33%, equating to one additional daily work order per technician.
  • Decreased required engineer-to-customer ratio by 7% with a projected 12% decrease expected to generate wage savings of $5.66 million per year.
  • Reduced inbound calls to the scheduling department by 60%, which decreased required full-time scheduling employees by 40%, and generated wage savings of $608,400 per year.
  • Improved fuel efficiency by 32% (1.2 gallon average decrease on completed work orders) to generate an estimated cost savings of $591,072 per year.

Click’s FSM solution helped them efficiently perform 10,000 alarm upgrades, 12,000 lighted-sign renewals, and 20,000 energy management module installations as part of the regular service visits without adding any extra personnel. The solution has also allowed the company to generate new KPI’ssuch as customer satisfaction survey results, quality level of installations, install daily rates, first time visit fix rates, completed tickets, upgrades sold, inspections, and rescheduled visits.

As home healthcare organizations grow in size and geographic scale, they need to invest in enterprise technology, such as CRM, that can support this growth. FSM software should be another technology that is prioritized to enable more efficient scheduling to help deliver the care patients have come to expect.