What Software will help me in Homecare?
The reason for starting any business has to be to use your skills and experience to offer a product or service to market that you can knowingly deliver and make a profit!
Now in the Care Sector this is slightly difference, as there service you deliver should aim more to make a difference, than just a profit.
However, the biggest way to make a difference would be offer your service for free and we all know this would not do well when making a profit.
So what can you do to make that difference and help win business.
Firstly, you need to recognise your market…are you providing purely to social service clients, reablement or private clients or is it a mixture of all potential markets?
Naturally your business plan needs to acknowledge a rate to charge clients and rate to pay staff, and have that element in the middle to make a margin/profit.
Most domiciliary care businesses are started by individuals who know the industry and the area well, so they have inside knowledge of rates, and the shortcomings of the competition, it is important to use this when bidding for business and going and seeing potential clients.
Now other than providing excellent service 100% of the time, you have to make sure that you are showing the outside world, your market, that you are not only excellent in providing your service, but efficient in your delivery and knowledgeable in your practices. Often, care businesses either get wrapped up in 1 of these 3 factors, and ultimately fail quite quickly, or they do a little bit of each and just about get by.
We at Roma don’t profess to knowing how to run a care business however, we have knowledge in what you can do to help you run one, with the use of technology.
For example, if you take a look at your current local authority, they are most likely using technology to monitor their current care providers, or in house care teams. This can be anything from a centralised time and attendance software, that they insist all of their providers use, or a care provider management software that gathers all data from the providers home care rostering software via an integration or report of some description.
So, if you market is going to require you to win some local authority business, technology and the use there of, is going to show your council, that you are forward thinking as a business.
As far as what you should be using, there are probably around 30-40 recognised software providers to the domiciliary care software market. Some provider home care rostering software, some provide carer monitoring systems, others provide electronic care planning and form software and a few provide a mixture of the lot.
The council as I previously stated are going to be using a potential of 2 systems, either centralised carer monitoring, or a provider monitoring system that accesses each providers carer scheduling software. This should hopefully give you an idea, of what you should be using as a starting point.
Homecare Rostering Software and some sort of carer monitoring software! With carer monitoring systems, there are a number of options you can go for.
Telephone monitoring, where the carer gets to the service users home, uses a landline or designated phone, to dial into the system and log in and out of each visit. This provides your times of the shifts, in real-time, with little issue, and is a secure and cost effective method of monitoring your care staff.
Smartphone’s and the application’s you can download to monitor carers, provide you with significantly more functionality than the telephone monitoring system. On a smartphone you have the ability to utilise GPS for proof of service delivery, also there are elements that can be used to acknowledge task completion, whereby some home care rostering solutions allow you to add tasks to be completed by the carer at the service users home, messaging, and lots more.
As far as your potential clients/local authority are concerned, when you are providing actual times against shifts, even task reporting when using a smartphone, they can see that you’ve thought long and hard about how you are going to maintain a high level of service.
Additionally, whether authority or private clients, offering some form of web portal or client/next of kin application allows you to provide information and a messaging forum, to your clients, that allows them to see all relevant information, such as rotas, tasks, carers etc. without the need to contact the office.
This sort of three dimensional care, provides extra information at the click of the button to your clients & authorities but also frees up valuable administrative time. These solutions are also going to reduce time in pay and invoicing, as well as provide up to the minute updates to tasks and times being spent with your service users. Thus, should you notice a carer is spending less time with clients and not completing tasks, you can act on this in a matter of minutes, instead of awaiting supervisions or client checks.
Providing this level of detail to your authorities, CQC and even potential clients, is going to give them peace of mind in choosing you as a care provider, so in order to start right…get a system in place that works for you in helping you schedule and monitor carers, if the solution can also allow you to grow into using electronic form completion down the line, that’s great, however, lots of these form systems tend to be 3rd party and have excellent integrations that make 2 systems feel like 1.
As a conclusion, rostering and monitoring should be a priority in implementing a solution to manage your care business, as these types of system, can reduce admin tasks enough to improve time spent winning business, as well as, show potential customers how efficient and progressive you are.