Managing risk in the age of mighty data is deemed important because the privacy and security risks to the day-to-day data of home care businesses seem susceptible as published in a report by Home Health Care News that said, “Hackers Reportedly Steal, Ransom Data of more than 80,000 Home Care Patients”.
Data breaches in the home care industry have been on a rise, with few reports revealing that it is up 83% from 2010. Taking a risk in business is vital for its growth, but when the risk is associated with large-scale business data, it can be overwhelming.
Data is the foundation based on which business processes and activities revolve. Managing data and preventing it from breach or any fraudulent activity is important for the smooth functioning of the home care business. At the heart of high-tech, advanced technologies empowered by artificial intelligence (AI), data is moving markets. Data is the new currency for home care businesses and its protection remains the topmost priority.
As per the industry experts, the biggest reason behind the spike is the technological advancements in the home care and personal care industry. For instance, moving client’s and caregiver’s data from paper files to a digital platform has no doubt made the process efficient and seamless; it has also made stealing data files effortlessly. Within a blink of an eye, whole data can be transferred, thereby posing a great threat to it.
No doubt, the home care industry is rising, but the threat to a potential data breach is growing too. To mitigate the possible damage, home care businesses implement best practices. From adopting creative solutions to automating repetitive tasks, integrating business-specific software, revamping client-caregiver handling, and mitigating bottlenecks, private-duty home care businesses are embracing the change with today’s solutions for tomorrow’s problems.
An EVV (Electronic Visit Verification) mandate was brought in under the 21st century cares act. It is a step taken by the government to stamp out fraudulent care claims and ensure that the people receive care that they are promised. This was the first move taken by the government officials to prevent embezzlement related to payments and fake visits by the caregivers.
Even if you as a home care business or an agency know that your data requires core security efforts, you need to know that the agency data is not the only thing that faces the brunt. Other departments of a home care business also face risks, which are now largely being managed using technology.
To achieve a significant reduction in risks, home care providers and their technology partners align and come forward to fight the central issues and reduce risks.
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Dealing with data and numbers in a large quantity by home care providers becomes daunting and troublesome. Maintaining records of clients, caregivers, and of the agency itself that too manually, leads to innumerable errors. To prevent the risk of wrong output and blunders in the billing, invoicing process, timely collection of payments, maintaining up-to-date certifications, and other key tasks, sophisticated state-of-the-art is needed. Here, the role of technology which is the home care software jumps in. The software that records total billable hours and prepares invoices, reduces the risk of faults in data files.
A feature-rich home care software helps care providers in staying financially compliant. Software broadly helps home care agencies in:
- Easy revision of invoices and bills
- Preventing misinformation
- Avoiding feeding vague claims
Businesses deal with audits that demand data integrity and trials. But, managing these audits manually means risking hefty finances and inviting errors, which is obviously a red flag to the auditors.
Client-care related risk
The clients are the reason why caregivers love their job. The motive and mission behind their job is to extend unbiased care, unconditional support, and never-ending love. Some of the most common risks associated with the clients are lack of smooth communication especially when caregivers have to provide specialized care. The onset of COVID-19 has brought with it such challenges ahead of the home care organizations. But all thanks to the advanced home care software. During such testing times, it was technology that worked wonders and prevented the unanticipated fall of home care businesses.
The home care software helped caregivers:
- In extending virtual care to clients through remote monitoring
- To communicate in real-time
- Pass on advice for personal care and grooming
- Track the day-to-day activities
- Give time-to-time reminders for the tasks to be performed
- Extending assistance in the event of an emergency
- Monitoring key parameters in checking progress and effectiveness of the personal care provided
So, the use of technology has helped to overcast the risk of losing clients through no communication at all.
The process of hiring employees is a responsible task. Hiring employees require tracking their background because it is not uncommon to hear and read about incidents of theft or complaint lodged against the home caregivers. Although many states have regulated the criminal background screening process, conducting a thorough check is necessary.
Apart from the risk of hiring, another major risk is in tracking the activities of care providers. It can be difficult to trust the words of care providers for the hours they might have served, so as home care software flooded the markets, the risk of fraud and lack of trust reduced.
The GPS-embedded home care software helps home care agencies in:
- Tracking the location of caregivers
- Monitoring their regular activities
- Checking onto their care plan and schedules
- Communicating with them in real-time
- Getting updates on the pending and accomplished tasks
- Observing the hours worked by each caregiver
- Improving data management
The technology has made the working experience of home care agencies better. Quality home care software is a major benefit to home care businesses.
Risk Related to Safety
The reputation of a business is with the clients; after all, the client is the king. As a home care agency, it is obvious for the business entity to provide balanced care to its clients. But, apart from the home care and personal services, providing a safe and secure environment to its clients is of utmost importance. To reduce the cases of harassment and abuse faced by the clients is another risk that needed severe and urgent attention. However, it is not possible without the use of technology.
With the use of home care software, home care agencies are able to provide a secure and safe environment to the clients. The location tracking smart feature in the software allows the agencies to create a controlled environment. The agencies are able to monitor and oversee activities from time to time. Not just this, the real-time feedback by the clients and their families gives a clear picture about the services of care service providers. Any discrepancy from the agency’s end or from the care provider’s end is always taken care of without causing any delay.
Risk Related to Processing Claims
Processing EVV/EDI files for generating claims involves some legalities and state-implemented formalities to be completed. It might also require data files to move from varied channels, which can be challenging because the process is lengthy and time-consuming. Manual handling of data wastes time, effort, and money. Besides, it enhances the risk of agency and employees’ data being leaked. Mishandling of data files or carelessness can create for the agency and its staff a major hassle. So, to get rid of all the risks and issues, most of the agencies in America adhered to the use of home care software. The use of tech helped home care agencies in focusing on their growth and other business goals. Within a click, the EVV EDI files are sent and received, without having to go through any difficulty.
On the other hand, the technology with a strong and sturdy infrastructure:
- Simplifies the process of generating claims.
- Provides clear and straight pathways which make responding to requests, tracking the progress, and maintaining compliance and security, easier and intact.
The tedious process of generating EVV claims is done within a click. Such precious is the role of technology in managing risk related to generating claims.
Tech in the times of COVID-19
The onset of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has brought businesses to a standstill. Home care businesses were no exception. It also suffered a blow but as it is said there is a light at the end of the tunnel, home care businesses brought themselves out of the recession it suffered, and despite falling apart, it resorted to the use of virtual technology. The report by HHCN is a testament to the fact that the majority of home care organizations shifted their focus to virtual technology needs.
According to the survey, about 74% of the home care businesses had to think of shifting from manual to virtual tech to continue their services and to meet the urgent needs of the people in general.
Today, every activity of the home care business is being carried out through the use of home care software. Right from hiring, scheduling, monitoring the activities of caregivers, tracking the location, communicating in real-time and generating feedback from clients and their families, claim processing and preparing bills and invoices, etc. is mastered by the use of smart technology, thereby, turning the home care businesses from being technology-oriented to completely technology-centric.
Reduces the risk of getting infected
The pandemic has forced the world to change the dynamics of how things worked. No one ever anticipated that things would go the way they are going on now. The worldwide lockdown has forced professionals and businesses to work from home. The home care sector also jumped onto the trending train and continued its operations by adhering to the norms and protocols set by the government.
The intelligent features and in-built Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the home care software helped home care providers sail smoothly through the rough waters. It was with the help of technology that the home care businesses could continue their services virtually, without compromising on the rules and the care.
With the help of technology, home care agencies have adapted to the evolving landscape. It has managed to seize the opportunity and use it to its full potential to extend exceptional care and services to elder people. With this, it has also managed to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections.
As per the reports, more than 40% of elders are using technology solutions to support themselves at home. This shows that by harnessing the true potential of technology, home care businesses are able to stay on track with their services and their clients. The AI-empowered smart home care software has empowered the home care agencies and their clients. The use of software has brought both the parties (clients and the caregiver providers) on an equal footing.
Benefits of tech
Technology has brought everyone on the same page. It has developed transparency in the system and encouraged more technology partners to come forward and unleash the true potential of the technology in providing ultimate care and services.
It is not a one-and-done situation, instead, agencies and their true technology partners must work in unison to maintain the best practices, evolve security elements, keep up the integrity and reduce the risks to the best of their ability. It is the technology around which home care businesses are running their day-to-day activities.
Through technology, home care, and personal care services have penetrated even to the remote areas where it was not possible to reach manually. It has significantly augmented the role of home care services in the market.
Technology plays such a significant role in carrying out functions that if any of the home care agencies are still struggling with manual handling of care. For them, this is the high time to shift from paper-based systems. Agencies, who wish to deliver quality care and grow, need to optimize their entire operation from scratch. Exploring software solutions is the first step to reaching that goal. The only pill to cure all the pain points is a well-founded and solid tech solution.
Elena Jonathon is a blogger and home care business strategy leader. She has over seven years of experience in the industry. By covering almost every aspect, she has brought into spotlight some of the basics as well as undiscovered aspects of the home care industry. She has highlighted the present home care software solutions benefitting the industry and the end-users. Over the years, she has developed rapport with clients and has fostered business relationships by educating them in getting more value from the technology.