Monday, March 24, 2008

Linking Technology to Improve Quality and Clinician Performance

Santa Barbara, CA and Lancaster, PA (PRWEB) March 24, 2008 -- Strategic Healthcare Programs a provider of real-time performance data services and Thornberry Ltd, a developer and marketer of intelligent, management information systems for the home healthcare and hospice industry, today announced implementation of their new interface at LaPorte Regional Health System's VNA HomeCare and HospiceCare in Michigan City, Indiana.

LaPorte has been using SHP for some time to analyze patient and caregiver data entered into Thornberry's clinical point of care software, NDoc, said executive director Virginia Davis.

"The new automated web interface not only speeds the transfer of data from the NDoc clinical system to Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) software, it also enables clinician-level analysis of OASIS data. It is saving staff a lot of time that used to be spent looking up clinician and primary nurse."

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This is another example of how home health care leaders are investing in new technology solutions to improve the quality of patient care and internal operations. What are you doing to use technology in new ways? Comment below or send us an email.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SEIU Rebuffed by California Home Health Care Workers

OAKLAND, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented election, nursing home and home healthcare workers overwhelmingly have voted to remain members of United Healthcare Workers-West, demonstrating their unwillingness to be forcibly transferred to another Service Employees International Union local branch.

Despite widespread interference, including a disinformation campaign aimed at suppressing voter turnout, 99 percent of nursing home and 96 percent of homecare workers who voted agreed that staying in UHW would be best for them, their families and, most importantly, the people they serve.

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We continue to monitor the activities of the Service Employees International Union as they take aim at organizing home care workers around the country. Let us know of union organizing efforts of home care workers in your are.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Home Health Agencies use Company Cars to aide Nurse Recruiting and Retention

We're seeing a trend of more and more home health agencies leasing company cars for their nurses as a way to offset the rising price of gasoline and help with nurse recruiting and retention.

Bon Secours Home Care in Newport News, VA leased 15 white Toyota Corollas for registered nurses who have worked there for at least six months. Bon Secours pays for the lease, maintenance, insurance and gas — whether it's for work or personal use. Providing vehicles is the latest effort by Bon Secours to fill home health nursing positions, which can be more difficult to fill than other nursing positions, said Sharon Riddick, director of Bon Secours Home Care.

"For the first time in quite a while, I'm fully staffed, which is wonderful," Riddick said. "You don't see that very often because of the national shortage of nurses."

The Bon Secours program will cost the health system about $600 a month per car. Nationally recruiting and training a nurse costs about $40,000. The program is voluntary, so nurses may opt to continue receiving a mileage reimbursement.

As I'm writing this blog, I'm working with a county government based home health agency in Arizona. They have county owned cars for some of their nurses. The CFO commented that using county cars is a great savings for their agency and they are looking to purchase more cars.

What is your experience with providing cars for nurses? What do your nurses prefer?

Recently, Sentara Healthcare polled some of the system's more than 300 home care nurses about providing cars, and the nurses overwhelmingly preferred mileage reimbursement. Riverside Health System also decided not to provide cars after asking its home health nurses and other field staff.

"We found out that a lot of them really liked getting that mileage check every month," said Mike Boggs, administrator of Riverside's home care division.

Give us your comments below.

Friday, March 14, 2008

High Tech Home Care Camera let's you peer into your own cavities

One of the Pillars of the Agency of the Future is Technology. Here's a new techno gadget that some folks will find useful at home.

The Maharu "intraoral" Home Care Camera let's you look into your mouth and examine teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. You can project the picture onto your big screen flat panel TV for a super view of your insides.

Although not specifically designed for home health care agencies, this high tech consumer tools supports the trend that consumers what more care at home.

Take a look at the Maharu

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

VNS of NY Implements Mobile VPN Software

In my current keynote speech, Home Health 2020: Six Pillars of the AOTF - Agency Of the Future, I talk about the Technology Pillar. It's clear to me that the leaders in home health Care in the future will invest heavily in technology in order to increase the productivity of their field staff. The shortage of nurses and therapists means that we need to find new ways to help our field staff members serve patients more effectively.

Recently, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the largest single location home health company in the country, began to implement the Mobility XE Virtual Private Network from Net Motion.

Randy Cleghorne, chief technology officer, VNSNY explained that through the wireless deployment, the VNS wants to provide clinicians easy access to information without interfering with the primary job of patient care. NetMotion’s software helps the workforce stay reliably connected and productive, enabling team members to focus on their jobs, not the technology.

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for NetMotion Wireless, Andy Willett pointed out that VNSNY is at the technological forefront in home health care delivery and patient care.

VNSNY has nearly 10,000 care providers that make more than 2.2 million home visits per year throughout New York City and Westchester and Nassau counties to an average of more than 30,000 patients each day.

What are you doing to invest in technology to improve the productivity of your agency? How is technology helping you grow your business and get ready for the future?

Give us your comments below.

Canadian Healthcare System Struggles

As we approach the Presidential elections in the fall, there is much talk about nationalized healthcare. And some of that talk makes reference to modeling the American system after the socialized medicine system in Canada.

Two articles this week point to some of the major challenges facing healthcare in Canada. And if it weren't for the US healthcare system just across the southern border, many more Canadians would be having trouble with healthcare.

First, from an article from the March 1, 2008 issue of the Globe & Mail, the major daily newspaper in Toronto:

Why Ontario keeps sending patients south

by Lisa Priest

"More than 400 Canadians in the full throes of a heart attack or other cardiac emergency have been sent to the United States because no hospital can provide the lifesaving care they require here.

Most of the heart patients who have been sent south since 2003 typically show up in Ontario hospitals, where they are given clot-busting drugs. If those drugs fail to open their clogged arteries, the scramble to locate angioplasty in the United States begins.

'They rushed me over to Detroit, did the whole closing of the tunnel,' said Eric Bialkowski, 47, of the heart attack he had on March 14, 2007, in Windsor, Ont. 'It was like Disneyworld customer service.'

While other provinces have sent patients out of country – British Columbia has sent 75 pregnant women or their babies to Washington State since February, 2007 – nowhere is the problem as acute as in Ontario.

At least 188 neurosurgery patients and 421 emergency cardiac patients have been sent to the United States from Ontario since the 2003-2004 fiscal year to Feb. 21 this year. Add to that 25 women with high-risk pregnancies sent south of the border in 2007."

The article goes on to quote healthcare experts, physicians and patients about the many challenges facing patients in Canada.

Then in another article in the Ottawa Citizen, reporter Mohammed Adam writes:

"So many hospital beds in Ottawa are being used to care for people who should be in long-term care or at home that it's the equivalent of closing the Montfort Hospital, health officials say.
It's the most serious problem facing hospitals across Ontario, says Tom Closson, the new president of the Ontario Hospital Association, far worse than a lack of money, and the crisis is deepening.

Mr. Closson said 2,800 hospital beds -- or 18 per cent of all beds in the province -- are occupied by patients who can't find home or long-term care. On any given day, he said, about 800 emergency room patients in Ontario -- 'the equivalent of three medium-sized hospitals' -- wait in hallways for admission beds that are not available."

This article goes on to describe the problem in more detail, and how part of the solution is more access to home health care.

There are two key points for us to consider out of these two articles:

1. The nationalized healthcare system in Canada is not the panacea that some politicians and critics of American healthcare would have us believe.

2. Home Health Care is a big part of the solution to major challenges facing healthcare around the world.

America has the greatest healthcare system in the world, and the greatest home health care providers. Do you agree? Give us your comments below.