Barrett Coakley | 08.28.18
Summary >

Running a home healthcare business in today’s ever-changing industry landscape is a delicate balancing act of keeping per-visit revenue up and gross profits in the black. And regardless of how your patients are paying for care, it’s a safe bet that the margins aren’t as wide as you’d like.

Price concessions made when securing large contracts, along with caps on payments from Medicare, Medigap, traditional health insurance, and long-term care insurance, can leave little wiggle room in your budget. Especially when the cost of delivering quality care continues to rise, reimbursement policies evolve, and the home health worker shortage intensifies.

But perhaps one of the biggest business challenges is age-old: developing an effective, flexible schedule that enables you to thoughtfully deploy your workforce, handle unplanned hiccups, and maximize the number of patients you can deliver quality care to on any given day.

Simply put, scheduling inefficiency and the inability to predict upticks in demand, appointment cancellations, and other daily issues limits your ability to meet your goals, and adapt and grow your business. You need insight. You need agility. And your workers need mobility.

But the good news is that a solution exists—predictive field service for home care scheduling.

Reducing Scheduling Costs

There’s little doubt that cost-effective delivery of optimal patient care is the key driver of any home health organization. As a result, creating a schedule that matches the right caregivers with the right patients, and accurately accounts for the time needed to deliver that care, is essential.

But caregivers call in sick, and some have specific availability. Patients cancel their appointments, and last-minute, high-priority appointments come into the queue. For many home healthcare providers, all of these unplanned events require manual schedule shifting, which likely means more downtime for your aides, extra work for your scheduling team, and care disruption for your patients—and ultimately rising costs for the business.

However, predictive field service software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze historic and real-time data to automatically re-optimize schedules when an issue arises—even when faced with a high number of exceptions. This means that schedules can be assigned or reassigned with virtually no manual effort, reducing the level of resources needed to simply get appointments on the books and ensure you can keep them.

Mitigating Lost Revenues

The financial impacts of inefficient scheduling stretch beyond the scheduling desk at your home base. Your business is built on a mobile workforce, so optimizing your schedule with logistical considerations in mind such as patient location, travel time, job duration, and appointment time are musts.

For many home care agencies, reducing mileage reimbursements is a key focal point. And while mileage does impact the bottom line, there’s a bigger opportunity for reducing costs and mitigating lost revenues: optimizing travel time.

Whether you service big cities with lots of traffic congestion, sprawling metropolitan areas, or more remote rural towns, it’s conceivable that your home health aides could spend half or more of their shift in their vehicles. And while they’re in the car, they’re on the clock. Not to mention that more time in the car means less time with patients, and less billable revenue for the business.

But with unpredictable traffic conditions and wide coverage areas, shortening travel time is easier said than done, right? Not with predictive field service.

Predictive field service scheduling tools leverage a wealth of data through several algorithms—including real-time traffic. Working within the other scheduling parameters and other data points, you can provide caregivers with real-time traffic updates and route optimization details through their mobile device.

This not only gives caregivers more mobility and helps cut down on time spent in the car, but can also cut down on mileage reimbursement costs and increase their patient capacity.

Furthermore, at the end of the day, efficiently and effectively delivering your patients with quality care keeps them happy, healthy, and committed to your organization. But you need to make sure your aides arrive with the patient information, skills, certifications, medicines, and equipment they need to deliver that care.

Home care scheduling software also takes that wealth of data to create a schedule that matches the right caregiver with the right patient, ensuring the right care can be delivered when needed. And all that critical patient data is also accessible via mobile device.

Improving Organizational Performance with Data

Many home health organizations don’t have a true understanding of the inefficiencies plaguing their care delivery system. Traditional processes for scheduling and data collection are simply not designed to seamlessly collect and analyze appointment data as it comes in.

With its centralized reporting and metrics, home health scheduling software allows you to easily analyze and track trends for analysis, improved performance, and best practices. In fact, predictive field service can help organizations achieve productivity gains of up to 20% and a return on investment within 12 months.

Home health organizations can track data such as care volume, caregiver errors, billable hours, and patient experience, granting them a clearer picture of what’s driving gross profits and per-visit revenue. And in the end, these role-specific insights and KPI metrics enhance real-time and long-term decision making, which contribute to the health of your patients and your company’s bottom line.

Grow Your Business with Home Health Scheduling Software

Achieving a healthy bottom line can be a challenge for home health organizations trying to sustain the quality of care in a challenging and changing industry landscape.

But by using predictive and adaptive scheduling tools, companies can reduce their costs and mitigate lost revenues, while also enhancing worker mobility and improving organizational performance.

From enhancing worker satisfaction, to improving the patient experience, to bolstering your bottom line, home healthcare scheduling software offers many perks. Learn more about how predictive homecare scheduling software can improve your business.