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Leveraging Technology for Growth

Care at home organizations are facing several industry-wide pain points impacting growth, including staffing and labor shortages, the cost of services and the predictability of care delivery needs. A panel of technology experts in the industry discussed leveraging technology for growth at the 2023 Axxess Growth, Innovation and Leadership Experience (AGILE).

Andrew Olowu, Chief Technology Officer at Axxess, moderated the session with panelists Holly MacDonald, President of Liberty Homecare, Hospice and Palliative Care; William Simione lll, Chief Executive Officer of SimiTree; and Dave Baker, Chief Information Officer of CNS Cares.

The panel focused on ways to combat slow adoption of new technology, the value of meaningful data and how to choose the right technology and leverage its tools and resources to maximize growth.

Adopting New Technology in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals have historically been slow to adopt new technology.

“I don’t think anybody goes, ‘Yay, I’m going to get into a software conversion,’ because it’s difficult,” MacDonald said. “But when you start looking at what the potential for improvement is, you can get behind it a little bit [more easily].”

MacDonald’s organization adopted new technology in pilot phases, and the software’s ease of use helped streamline the adoption process.

“When we first started [with a new electronic medical record (EMR)] and we did the pilot offices, we had older nurses and therapists – who sometimes are a little more resistant to adopting new technology – come in after doing their first start of care, their first OASIS, and [say], ‘I think I’ve done this wrong because it was so easy, and I think I have missed something,’” MacDonald said.

“[That] kind of tells you that you have to keep up in the EMR world to not have archaic technology that’s bogging everybody down,” MacDonald added. “I went from people resisting to people asking to be in the next rollout wave.”

Baker discussed the importance of getting company-wide buy-in. “System implementations are tough, and the more you get people bought in prior to the implementation…the easier that implementation will be,” Baker said.

Simione agreed and highlighted the importance of finance allocation when considering and implementing new technologies.

“Don’t go in undercapitalized,” Simione said. “That’s one of the worst things you can do. And the reason for that – it’s going to cost you [twice as much] on the back end to try to fix the inefficiencies that come through…I can’t overemphasize that piece. So, think about what it’s going to cost, add some more money to that and make sure that the implementation isn’t rushed, that the implementation is complete [and] everybody understands what they’re doing.”

Tracking Meaningful Data

Simione emphasized the importance of not only tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) but making sure the KPIs you track are meaningful.

“There’s so much data that’s out there,” Simione said. “Don’t get paralyzed by it. Embrace it. Make sure that it’s meaningful and that you validate the data.”

MacDonald illustrated the significance of real-time access to meaningful KPIs with an example from her organization.

“We recently did a restructure in our home care division to stay nimble, to stay agile, and…with the KPIs we were looking at, we were – within a few weeks – able to see the impact of that,” MacDonald said. “We were able to really understand what we were looking at with those changes we made instead of waiting for a monthly financial and going, ‘Oh gosh, this isn’t quite working like we had anticipated.’ So, to have that real data quickly has been crucial and very helpful to us.”

Choosing the Right Technology for Growth

All panelists discussed the importance of focusing on the end-user’s experience to keep staff positioned for success when choosing a technology solution to maximize growth.

“You have a lot of clinicians with a lot of different skillsets, so if your software is cluing and cuing to say, ‘Well, wait a minute. This is how you answer this,’…it’s almost like your technology is teaching you,” MacDonald said. “It’s like a little built-in tutorial, which is fantastic.”

Along with clinical support, Simione noted that new technology needs to create efficiencies and address the organization’s needs.

“I always ask if you have workflows, you need to stop right then and there and figure out the reasons why,” Simione said. “Are we trying to jam old, inefficient processes through? Scope it all out and then make sure that you go to a solution that you’re not mesmerized by the bells and whistles – that you’re really looking at something that is going to make a change.”

With more than 250 attendees, more than 40 sponsors and countless connections made, AGILE 2023 was a massive success for everyone. Check out the recap video and mark your calendar for AGILE 2024, April 21-24 in Dallas.


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