Starting a Successful Hospice Business – Part I

Hospice care is a process where clients can find a caring environment and quality of life at the end of their days as they prepare themselves to pass on. These terminal patients are cared for in the best way possible and kept comfortable. They receive medical care round the clock from the hospice while their family members are also given support and updates about their loved ones.
Starting a Hospice business can be a tricky one because there are regulations that need to be fulfilled. It is more than just registering your hospice business with the government. We at Hucu.ai have compiled the essential steps that can ensure your new hospice business is well planned, registered properly, legally sound, and becomes successful.
Step 1: Planning the business correctly
An organized, clear plan is needed for a successful hospice business. It helps to map out the specifics of the business. Here are the important questions one needs to ask before opening a hospice business.

What are the major costs?

A hospice startup cost will be different depending on the type of hospice one is opening and which state it is located in. The main cost can range from $70,000 to $120,000 if it is a non-Medicare facility. If it is a Medicare-certified hospice agency the cost can range from $160,000 to $400,000. These costs include licensing for faculty and staff, computer hardware and software, physical space for the facility, accreditation, business branding, marketing materials, inventory, and insurance.
Since the regulations are strict, many entrepreneurs may choose to invest in consultation services which increase the costs while increasing confidence in compliance.

Hucu.ai Helps Hospice Save Time and Money

What are the ongoing costs?

Apart from the standard operational expenses, there will be ongoing annual costs ranging between $400,000 to $450,000 (on the higher side). Exact numbers will differ depending on the size of the facility and the number of services being offered. Payroll will take up the greatest portion of the ongoing costs.

How will the hospice business make money?

For-profit and nonprofit hospices receive funds from different sources. Charitable donations and grants are the main sources of revenue for not for profit hospices which can also be reimbursed by private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare for the patients being cared for. Many facilities are reimbursed on a daily basis and are offered payment for every day a patient is in the facility. Hospices can also be reimbursed on an hourly basis if the patient needs home nursing care 24/7.

How much profit can be made?

The average payment reimbursed to hospice facilities by Medicare ranges from $145/day or at an hourly rate of $40/hour if care is being given 24/7. Given this, successful hospice businesses have shown to make up to $120,000 to $200,000 in profits annually. Of course, the amount will vary depending on the number of patients, number of services offered, and ongoing expenses.

How can the business profits be optimized?

Successful hospice businesses use several strategies to ensure optimization of their profits. These include finding a gap in the market, taking up underserved segments of the market, and customizing services to their needs. Another strategy is to work with physicians, hospitals and other facilities in the community and highlight the benefits of using hospice facilities. This will develop a strong referral base.
Step 2: Forming a Legal Corporate Entity and Registering for Taxes
The three most common types of legal entities are sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, and C corporation. If the business owner wants to be protected from being personally liable, he can opt for an LLC or a corporation.
Once the business owner has decided on the legal entity, the business must be registered for each state in which services are provided as well as for federal taxes before officially opening the business. The business owner will need an EIN to do that. If the business structure is an LLC, it can benefit from being taxed as an S Corp. there may be specific state taxes applied to a hospice business. Here are the details on starting an LLC.

Hospice Facilities are Optimizing their Communication system with Hucu.ai

Step 3: Getting a Bank Account, Credit Card, and Setting Up Business Accounting
If the business owner wants personal asset protection, then dedicated business banking and credit accounts are needed. It is important to keep personal accounts separate from business accounts. It makes taxing and filing easier too.
Once that is done, the hospice business owner needs to set up business accounting to record various expenses and sources of income in order to understand the financial performance of the hospice facility.
Step 4: Getting Permits and Licenses
If a hospice business does not have the essential permits and licenses, it can result in heavy fines and shutting down the business altogether. The federal business licensing requirements call for a hospice to complete and submit an enrollment application. Once done, the hospice will be checked out to see if it meets the federal requirements.
State and local business licensing requirements are different as each state has its regulations regarding hospice care licensing. This guide will help in determining if the hospice is operating according to the correct state law.
Hospice facilities that are working out of a physical location also need a certificate of occupancy (CO). The CO confirms that all working areas, building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations are being met.
Check out the remaining steps in part II of this guide.
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Starting a Successful Hospice Business – Part II

In part I of this guide, we discussed the initial steps of starting a hospice business. While all major steps of starting a hospice business for every owner are the are the same, it is the last step discussed in this guide that will set up a hospice for a major success as compared to others.
Step 5: Getting Business Insurance
Insurance is as important as getting licenses and permits for a hospice business. It protects the company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a loss. There is a huge range of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different kinds of risks. A hospice business can start with General Liability Insurance – which is the most common coverage.
Step 6: Creating a Hospice Brand
A strong business brand will help the hospice facility and services to stand out from from the competition. Defining the vision of the business, branding it in a consistent and specific way can make a hospice business successful in achieving the right perception and becoming the choice for clients.
There are many marketing strategies like advertising in magazines or or newspapers to promote the business. In this digital era, keeping an online presence is fundamental. Additionally, creating relationships with surgeons, hospitals, doctors and post-operative clinics can prove a huge source of referrals. The easiest way to maintain successful communication with these partners is through hucu.ai. Hucu.ai is a FREE, HIPAA compliant communication application wired for Healthcare.
Hucu.ai can solidify existing referral relationships and help build new ones. With hucu.ai, hospice owners can build bridges across providers, patients, and families, improve accessibility and responsiveness of partners, establish tighter connections with skilled nursing and home health providers, and provide visibility to collaboration performance. Find out more here about how Hucu.ai can specifically help Hospice businesses become more successful.

Hospice Using Hucu.ai Have Increased Patient and Family Satisfaction

Step 7: Create a Business Website
After defining the specifics of your hospice brand, it is essential to create a website for the business. It is important because all legitimate businesses have websites that clients check out before choosing achoosing a business. Social media accounts like LinkedIn and and Facebook are important but cannot replace a business website.
Step 8: Setting Up a Successful Communication System
The Healthcare industry incurs huge losses both financial and human because of communication gaps. A successful communication system will set up a hospice facility for success. A smooth flow of information throughout the different hierarchies in a hospice setting will free up time wasted in repeating the same information multiple times to multiple staff members. The time saved can be invested in caring better for the clients.
Thanks to modern technology like Hucu.ai, communication in a hospice facility can become a breeze. Staff can save their time by just opening their cell phones and getting real-time updates about their clients regardless of their location. The staff on the next shift do do not have to go through huge piles of documents to get status updates on their client, they just have to check the individual patient channel in the Hucu.ai app.

Hucu.ai Allows Hospice Staff to Share Videos, Pictures and Documents in a HIPAA Compliant Way

Staff can share documents, pictures, and videos in the Hucu.ai app with team members to tackle emergencies where decision-making needs to be quick. This helps them feel more supported and empowered and in turn, increases team morale. Hucu.ai helps in engaging and retaining distributed team members while building the desired work culture. Hospices that have Hucu.ai have proven better focus at work by reducing noise and distractions since the staff members don’t have to dig through personal messages to get to work messages.
Hucu.ai helps hospices improve their operations and also increases family satisfaction. Hucu.ai empowers primary care physicians by offering easy communication to provide context, oversee the care, and facilitate improvements in patient status. It enables easy information sharing to communicate med lists, patient history, advanced directives, and other important information. Hucu.ai can improve the patient/family experience by providing seamless communication across all providers.
Hospices have proven to perform at their best with Hucu.ai. If you want to increase the success rate of your hospice business, you may want to consider implementing Hucu.ai as the primary source of communication within your facility. Contact us for a free demo.
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Resident at Twin Lakes Rehab and Healthcare of Paris, No Longer Have ER Visits or Rehospitalizations

Genettia Dean is the administrator of Twin Lakes Rehab and Healthcare of Paris, IL shares how Hucu.ai has transformed her facility for the better.
Reduced Staff Anxiety, Happier Residents and Families

Before Hucu.ai

  • The team used the telephone, fax machine, and a clipboard with their concerns. Information was hard to track.
  • Because of unorganized information, the team members did not know if the residents’ needs were addressed timely or not.
  • The team had no collaboration on the whole. Updating each other was a hassle.
  • The process of following all residents and staying updated with their status was difficult and time-consuming.
  • The progress and report of residents were shared once a day and critical decision-making was often delayed because of slow updates. The staff had to wait for information from the admin.
  • In critical situations, the staff waited for information from seniors who were not present in the facility and this often led to ER visits and rehospitalizations.
  • While taking care of the residents, the staff was on their own and had less support.
  • Residents’ family members were updated on phone calls, which was time-consuming and required lots of effort.

After Hucu.ai

  • With hucu.ai, communication takes place only on one platform and information is easy to track now.
  • The needs of residents are met quickly and they seldom have to readdress something that has been discussed on Hucu.ai because it is done in real-time.
  • Now they had a lot of collaboration and it is smooth.
  • With Hucu.ai, following all residents at the facility and staying updated on what the staff is doing 24/7 is one tap away.
  • The admin can follow the progress and reporting in real time which allows her to look at the symptoms of residents and share useful information which the staff may not know.
  • Information and guidance is present 24/7 in real time, so the staff can identify and catch symptoms early on via video call on Hucu.ai. rehospitalizations and ER visits have gone down completely.
  • Staff is more confident with constantly available support on Hucu.ai. This has boosted their morale.
  • Residents’ family members can be updated in real-timein ‘channels’ in the app. They are much happier now.
Genettia shared how just over the weekend, two residents were having an exacerbation of COPD and she was able to help and have interventions in place on time because of Hucu.ai. She thought that one of the residents may still have to go to a hospital but with the doctor’s and team’s collaboration on the app, they were able to avoid that.
At another time, they had a Covid-19 outbreak and one of the residents had a respiratory problem. Genettia teamed up with another nurse at 6 a.m. and a doctor on call because the MPs were not present at that hour. She had the patient x-rayed which they sent to an MP virtually. The patient was given antibiotics and is doing much better since then. This collaboration was made possible because of Hucu.ai
On one Sunday, the facility had a resident with aspiration pneumonia and one with exacerbation of COPD – but they were able to keep the cases in and have interventions in place on time because of the instant collaboration via Hucu.ai.
“We have real success stories with our residents and we are proud to be working with your group and meet our residents’ needs. Our staff’s anxiety has decreased because they now have an instant support system to which they can reach out and get an immediate response. We are very comfortable and thankful for your services. Your team is always there when need to understand something, you are always so gracious to any questions that I may have. I appreciate that. And the app is very user-friendly and we love the ‘flag’ feature.”
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Miracle Ear Boosts Team Productivity, Morale and Connectivity Like Never Before

As an industry leader in hearing devices, Miracle-Ear has 70 years of experience in creating hearing aid products and solutions. Miracle-Ear strives to bring customers leading-edge technology and hearing solutions that improve lives, relationships, and communities.
Connected Team Yields 3X More Productivity

Problems Faced Before Hucu.ai

  • Lots of barriers to communication within and outside the facility.
  • No system of real-time sharing of information.
  • The team used a combination of communication channels like Gmail messenger etc. These were not HIPAA compliant.
  • Communication broke down as it was being done over several platforms.
  • The facility has a chain of communication and everything had to go through a manager – especially in a HIPAA situation.
  • The manager decided what could be shared, when, and with whom. It wasted a lot of time, especially in critical situations.
  • No method of organizing communication. Information sharing was slow and often missed.
  • No guarantee of security or HIPAA compliance.
  • No system of team appreciation or accountability.

How Hucu.ai Has helped

  • Hucu.ai has opened and streamlined communication completely.
  • Information can be shared in real-time now including pictures, videos, documents, and more.
  • Hucu.ai is completely HIPAA compliant and has taken away the worry of sharing sensitive information over a non-HIPAA compliant platform.
  • The team shares information in a flow and it becomes part of an ongoing conversation.
  • Hucu.ai allows team members to share specific information with relevant people via ‘channels’ so there is no need for a manager.
  • Information can be shared with relevant people quickly and smoothly without a delay so critical decisions are made quickly. It has saved a lot of time.
  • The team uses channels for specific events, situations, and occasions. The flow of information is fast as channels are used to organize teams, information, and conversations.
  • Hucu.ai times out every 15 minutes and has a biometric system for security.
  • Hucu.ai “Honors” as a metric for performance. It boosts morale. More honors mean more fun trips for the team.
Lastly, here is what Tim said about Hucu’s team:
“What I really want to say and thank you for is you really believe in us too, you took your time, sat down with me, and showed me the program. I wasn’t just a number, you held my hand throughout the whole journey. We made this happen together.”
-Tim Morton, Miracle Ear
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Success Story: Concierge Care Eliminates Stress, Spares Time, And Prevents An Urgent Care Visit

Connected Healthcare Saves Lives and Money

Dr. Taylor Drew from Aquarian Clinic Tallahassee is on the leading edge of the concierge medicine movement. By being available to her patients easily via Hucu.ai, she has made it easier for her patients to stay healthy and quickly address concerns. She found numerous advantages of Hucu.ai and confirms that:
  • She can easily communicate her availability as “Available”, “Busy”, or “Away” to her team and her patients so they have the right expectations for her responsiveness. Likewise, her team is able to participate in patient-centered communication on behalf of the doctor.
  • Hucu.ai allows her to communicate with her patients directly at any time of the day.
  • Hucu.ai is a safe, **HIPAA compliant app**through which her patients and she can share images, documents, and records safely.
  • Her patients’ satisfaction has dramatically increased since they can reach out to Dr. Drewremotely in real-time and know that she would be there to talk to them.
  • Hucu.ai has eased the hassle of duplicating documents to update her care team members. Now she just has to share one document on the app with her care team members and they are all updated.
  • Hucu.ai ensures that the time that went into documentation can now be used to care more effectively for her patients instead. Hucu.ai is the new way of medical interaction.
Just recently, one of her patients was on vacation where she used a new sunscreen and contracted a rash. Worried that she would need to take time out of her work schedule to seek care in an urgent care clinic, she reached out to Dr. Drew.
Because the patient was connected to Dr. Drew via Hucu.ai, she was able to message Dr. Drew regarding her concern and quickly send a picture of the rash while she was driving back home. Dr. Drew prescribed her medicine for immediate treatment and her prescription was ready and waiting for her when she reached home.

The patient was immediately relieved not only to know that her rash would soon be gone but also to save a potential $500 urgent care fee. Dr. Drew is there for her patients whenever they need her, all thanks to a simple text messaging via Hucu.ai – and this is exactly what is helping her increase her patient base.

Success Story: About Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging

SUCCESS STORY

About Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging is a 501(c)3 non-profit in central Pennsylvania that supports the maximum independence of older adults. The Agency provides services which range from home delivered meals to home healthcare clinics for the older adults in Clearfield County. Their comprehensive array of services enhances the quality of life of older adults through coordinated community partnerships and initiatives that support and educate members in the community.

At a glance

Challenges

  • Reduce preventable hospitalizations, placements and other negative consumer outcomes
  • Increase communication internally and with outside partners
  • Assuring secure communications of confidential documents and information

Benefits

  • Hucu.ai enables real-time acuity scores and risk stratification
  • Team communication is easy with channels to keep all the right people in the loop
  • Photos, messages, forms, and patient information can be shared instantly
“Hucu.ai is providing us with data to support our funding requests and to identify those at greatest risk.”
– Kathy, CEO
“We have better access to consumer experience data and are able to manage our team more proactively.”
– Ethen, COO

Challenges

Reduce preventable hospitalizations, placements, and other negative consumer outcomes

With only 10 case managers and over 1,000 older adults in need of active attention Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging was looking to find a solution for analytics and increased communication. Prioritization of cases was difficult and case managers were spending too much time trying to keep track of each consumer.

Increase communication internally and with outside partners

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s quality of service depends on solid communication and coordination with their multiple contracted service partners. To provide the level of transparency and oversight that keeps their team engaged requires a communication solution that works on any device in real time. Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s staff and partners keep each other up to date as patient conditions change.

Assuring secure communications of confidential documents and information

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s case managers are highly trusted partners to their consumers. They need to have the ability to share sensitive information with other team members to assure seamless service and continuity of care. The ability to easily and securely share documentation, care plans, and other information is critical to the quality service they provide.

Solution

MANAGE CONSUMER RISK IN REAL TIME

With the implementation of Hucu.ai, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging is better equipped at pinpointing older adults most in need of service through data driven solutions. The consumer journey map tracks the history of each individual adult and the services and care they have received. Plus, real time acuity scores are built from custom acuity scores from evidence-based assessments. This allows the agency to better manage intensive caseload and develop person centered interventions.

CONSUMER-CENTERED MESSAGING + PATIENT FAMILY COMMUNICATION

Rather than sorting through streams of 1-1 silo messages (phone calls, texts, emails, etc.), Hucu.ai provides easy to access patient centered messaging channels. Now instead of sending or making 5 communication attempts with 5 different media, the entire team communicates with timely information in the context of each consumer. Each consumer’s collaborating team can coordinate in real time. Separate patient family channels keep family members in different geographic locations on the same page.

EASY TEXTING AND MORE – PRACTICAL SHARING

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s staff and partners back each other up to assure that consumers always have the support they need. Hucu.ai gives them the ability to share care plans, provide necessary updates and share photos securely without using any phone storage. Everything is securely saved in the cloud in organized channels.

AFFORDABLE, RESPONSIVE AND EASY TO WORK WITH

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging needed a solution that fit their service model so they can meet the challenges of managing numerous older adults. Hucu.ai has been responsive to their needs to support their business goals by developing new features such as real time acuity scores and risk stratification flags.

IMPROVED REPORTING ON OUTCOME MEASURES

Hucu.ai’s flag reporting enhances data collection. This allows Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging to capture SDOH factors and clearly demonstrate the efficiency and quality of services their network provides to older adults in their community. Hucu.ai also provides reports that track partner performance level, effectively keeping all partners accountable.

Results

Saved Time

Better client information sharing improves communication and enables continuity of care.

Teams On The Same Page

The right team members and contracted service partners are now included in every communication. This improves collaboration and oversight among teams.

Ability To Identify Risk

Insightful analytics that highlight risks for interventions that support maximum independence.

The Hamptons Center For Rehabilitation and Nursing Leverage Hucu.ai’s Technology to Make Commucation a Breeze

Connected Healthcare Saves Time, Boosts Productivity
Stacy Raeihle, Director of Rehabilitation at The Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing loves computers, is tech-savvy, and is a strong believer in leveraging technology like Hucu.ai to make processes easier. Like most physical therapy teams working In senior living communities, the Hamptons Team previously struggled in team communication about patient status and progress.

Problems Faced by the Hamptons Center Before Hucu.ai

  • In a weekly team meeting, Stacy and her team members, therapists, social workers, and MDS billing staff update her about patients’ statuses and ask questions which she writes down in different binders.
  • Later, she would check all her binders and get back to individual team members with the answers. This consumed a lot of energy and time. Stacy called this a ‘vicious circle’.
  • Her team members had to be physically present to exchange important health information about her patients.
  • There were misunderstandings with so much back and forth in the communication. For example, a patient’s discharge wouldn’t be approved by her but would take place which caused problems later on.
  • She used WhatsApp for team communication and emails for social work which did not work. She would send a message about a patient which all therapists could see. Long feeds in the WhatsApp group made communication ineffective.
  • Sometimes she could not send a message in the WhatsApp group because she did not want it to be seen by irrelevant team members. It was frustrating for her.

Communication Becomes A Breeze After Hucu.ai

  • At the start of her weekly meeting, Stacy pulls up Hucu.ai on her laptop and scans patient updates from her team members in each channel. All her therapists post patient statuses and questions in the relevant patient channel and she can answer them right away.
  • Instead of having to follow up after the meeting to track down answers, she can reply at the moment, so there’s no communication required after the meeting. That has saved a lot of her time and her team is on one page.
  • Another advantage is Hucu.ai’s accessibility from different locations. Her team can still connect via Hucu.ai regardless of where they are geographically and stay updated in real-time.
  • As a director, she now has a hold of everything and is more aware of what’s going on. Hucu.ai has organized all communication and made it easy for her to follow up with her team members.
  • Hucu.ai has eliminated all chances of misunderstanding and gaps in communication.
  • Hucu.ai is patient-centered and HIPAA compliant which other communication apps are not. e.g. WhatsApp.
Finally, how was Hucu.ai saving time for them?
Stacy shared that she does not have to play the game of going back and forth with her team concerning patient status, updates, and questions. Staff does not need to go back, get a task done and then come ask her and then go back again to get something else done. Her team is now on the same page. Additionally, her team was able to get a handle on Hucu.ai quickly because it is very easy to use. She did not even have to train them. It is a win-win.
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How To Increase Patient Satisfaction?

Patient satisfaction is an important goal for all medical practitioners. That is because it is not just a simple metric that is used to make directors in hospitals happy. This factor alone is super important because when patients are happy and satisfied, they turn into promoters who can spread the good word about the healthcare service. Patient satisfaction also shows that the quality of healthcare service is improving which automatically improves a hospital’s financial performance as well. Patient satisfaction is easier to achieve when healthcare workers make it their top priority and focus on the well-being of their patients.
However, despite putting in the best effort to prioritize the well-being of their patients, it is common for healthcare providers to face challenges that can interrupt their focus and shift their attention elsewhere. One of such challenges is the constant change in technology and updating their healthcare systems accordingly. The popularity and wide adaptability of advanced digital tools like cloud storage, video conferencing software, and the latest hospital IoT devices bring the healthcare providers under pressure to stay up to date with competitors and this may divert attention from actually focusing on patient care.

Patient satisfaction can be improved with simple adjustments to the patient experience..

Educating Your Patient

According to the research, patient satisfaction and the value they feel they are receiving from their visit are directly correlated. Healthcare providers can improve this perceived value by adopting a patient-centered care method and educating their patients. Simple education measures include giving out informative handouts, sending them follow-up emails, and most importantly, listening carefully in order to completely address their patients’ questions during their visits.

Upgrading Processes and Systems

Many factors contribute to patient’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction before they even get to talk to one of your team members. One of these is failure to meet a patient’s expectations. For example, scheduling an appointment can quickly become a pain point for patients if hospital systems are outdated and difficult to use. While healthcare historically lags general consumer experience, leaders like online merchants and technology enabled services become the yardstick of patients’ expectations. A hospital that wants to improve patient satisfaction will invest in digital systems to make processes intuitive and easy for the patients to use. For example, adapting Hucu.ai as the main platform of communication in your healthcare facility can drastically improve communication effectiveness.

Hucu.ai is a FREE HIPAA compliant Healthcare Messaging App.

Asking for Feedback

A healthcare provider will have a certain number of dissatisfied patients despite putting in the best efforts. In such a case, a healthcare provider can make it easy for such patients to voice out their concerns constructively and effectively to mitigate the effect of their bad experiences. Creating digital surveys communicates that you care about what they think and are trying your best to improve your care service. Another way is to always have a customer care representative available for a chat at the healthcare facility. When patients are dissatisfied, they want to be heard. Creating an easy feedback loop can also encourage them to stay your customer. Of course making visible improvements based on feedback will go even further than listening.

Hucu.ai makes follow up with patients quick and effective.

Following Up with Your Patients

Once the patient has visited you, following up with them is another way to drastically improve their level of satisfaction. For example, sending them an email to check on their medication dosage, sending them promised materials, giving them soft reminders, and giving helpful advice are all the ways you can make your patients feel valued and cared for. The more relevantly you do this, the more they are likely to make referrals and promote you. If you have a large influx of patients and it is difficult to follow up with them, then perhaps you would like to automate your workflows. Automated emails or messages can send patients helpful materials while reducing the amount of time you or your team spends on follow-ups.

Strictly Protecting Confidentiality

Protecting a patient’s privacy and medical information is not just a moral obligation but also a legal one. When healthcare providers fail to do this, this can have a major impact on your business in two ways. First, you could be heavily fined for HIPAA violations. Second, and more importantly, you will lose the trust and confidence of your patients and have a negative reputation in the market which will prevent you from getting more customers. Protecting patient data is one factor that can make or break your business.

Being Honest and Transparent

Being honest and transparent is a very low-cost effort that healthcare providers can continue to make to improve the patient experience. If patients have to wait an hour before they get to meet you on a hospital visit, it is a good idea to warn them. Such honesty will allow them to readjust their expectations from you and reduce uncertainty. It will also impact the overall experience they have while visiting you.

Effective Communication

Patients often feel most dissatisfied when it comes to communication. When patients find it difficult to communicate with you, they feel very dissatisfied. Asking them key questions is a good way to improve healthcare communication between your office and your patients. For example, how easy was it for the patient to find contact information?
Thanks to technology, communication is much easier these days. Our healthcare application, Hucu.ai is built especially to solve communication problems in the healthcare industry. Hucu.ai brings patients, providers, and families together to communicate in real-time with each other in a HIPAA compliant platform. Hucu.ai is HIPAA compliant instant messaging through which patients can speak with their care team members remotely at any time of the day. Care team members can also update friends and family of patients about their progress. Additionally, hucu.ai allows care team members to communicate amongst themselves for quick feedback, notes, care transitions, and emergencies. Check out this page to get more information about Hucu.ai can improve patient satisfaction.
Sources of Information: medicaleconomics, jotform
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Key Take Aways and Top Insights from N4A Conference 2021

The Annual Conference and Tradeshow of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is the annual largest gathering of local leaders working in the aging industry in the USA. The conference aims to bring together local professionals, business leaders, policymakers and government experts together so that they can discuss problems, solutions and their expertise related to the aging sector. One of the highlights of this event this year was the exchange of technological solutions and innovations that can change how the aging sector is served and runs in the USA.
Hucu.ai participated in our first N4A Conference this year held virtually from July 19th to 22nd 2021. We are proud to be supporters of area agency on aging delivering high quality person centered care. In the conference, we had the opportunity to discuss how Hucu.ai can contribute positively in achieving AAAs goals. Nonetheless, the team at Hucu.ai learned key insights from the conference that has helped us understand the essence of AAAs work efforts, work flow problems, achievements and services even better.
Here are the key themes from the conference.

Optimism for the Role of AAAs in Supporting Aging

At the end of the conference we were left with a deep sense of appreciation for the work being done by AAAs and its importance in our elderly community. We figured that the current federal administration is also supporting these services by increasing the funding up to 40% (Title 3B). We are optimistic that the increase in financial support will have an increased positive impact on how AAAs can better serve the older population.

Resilience from Managing Through Covid 19

There were many questions about how Covid-19 has affected AAAs. AAAs shared their ability to effectively and quickly adapt and reimagine services and processes while managing risk proactively. Their devotion and selflessness in taking extensive precautionary/health safety measures throughout the pandemic is commendable.

Hucu.Ai’s Flag Reporting Enhances Data Collection

New Alliances and New Revenue Streams

We came to know that the Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) have doubled the number of partners since 2017. As HMOs struggle with current funding restrictions in collecting extensive care & case-timelines data, healthcare planning experts encourage evidence-based/data-tracking programs to develop value & reimbursement propositions for providing their outcomes & impacts data. With these insights, HMOs, CBOs, and MBOs are able to implement better healthcare plans, replicate successes, and develop sustainable resource management solutions.

Person Centered Care

N4A presenters provided best practice models for trauma-informed care by tailoring services to needs (Center on Aging and Trauma), dissolving silos, and addressing food insecurity and housing. Those able to respond to consumer needs with Dementia Friendly Programs and elder abuse awareness communications are protecting consumers from scams.

Leveraging Technology

Leading AAAs are actively removing access issues and working towards better solutions. For example, they are advocating for funding for the 17% of seniors who lack broadband, improving tech literacy and partnering with governments and NGOs to decrease digital divide. Furthermore, leaders are encouraging and supporting remote work, designing engagement & communication platforms that consumers can navigate, and establishing multiple communication pathways across a variety of platforms and devices. In this era of technology, these learning steps can really help the elderly and can be life saving in critical situations.
Supporting Seniors’ Own Agency to Avoid Elder Abuse
The new administration has sponsored $188MM, a dramatic increase in adult protective services. AAA Research efforts allow AAA communities to act on unproductive understandings relating to elder abuse constructive cultural changes. AAA communities and marketing professionals are able to effectively enhance understanding of cause, consequences, and solutions to elder abuse; without contributing to the general misconceptions regarding elder competencies & caregiver perpetration.

Hucu.ai Is Helping AAAs Achieve Their Goals

Enhancing Processes to support Medicare Advantage

Health Care Entities/ MCOs want narrow networks of high performers. AAAs can contract with these payers by developing the service delivery metrics, outcome measures and billing capabilities that payers require.
Accessibility Of Services- AAA service providers are continuously working to find meaningful engagement strategies and user-friendly communication platforms to best serve & support elders. Some examples include implementing Home Modification programs, providing virtual access to services, and extending reach through meaningful inclusion of differently abled consumers. With the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly important to make services accessible virtually.
Workforce Challenges
AAAs must, and often do, continually seek improved employee engagement and recruiting processes that foster high quality support. Rising to the challenges of a poorly functioning labor market are critical to assuring that consumers have the support they need.
Who has Good Data Wins!
Leading AAAs are offering evidence-based programs to collect & provide a thorough transitional & timeline data. HMOs need not only quantitative data on the care strategies used & how many people were served – but HMOs value the qualitative & quantitative data that reveal care strategies implemented, as well as the impacts/outcomes of those applied care strategies & services. Best practices include capturing and reporting staff and consumer satisfaction data, client reported outcomes, as well as consumer demographics. Risk-owning payers are extremely sensitive to membership retention and patient claims data.
Hucu.ai can especially help in this area just like it is helping the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging. Hucu.ai’s flag reporting enhances data collection. This allows Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging to capture SDOH factors and clearly demonstrate the efficiency and quality of services their network provides to older adults in their community. Hucu.ai also provides reports that track partner performance level, effectively keeping all partners accountable.
Not just this, but Hucu.ai’s solution can work really well for AAAs in a number of ways. Read here to know how Hucu.ai helps Area Agencies on Aging with real-time consumer specific acuity score to help drive better outcomes. We shared these at the conference and are looking forward to work with more AAAs in future.

About N4A:

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a 501(c)(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the more than 250 Title VI Native American aging programs.
Whether it is helping Washington set priorities, building the capacity of our members, raising the visibility of AAAs and Title VI programs nationwide, offering training and educational events, or working to drive excellence in the fields of Information & Referral/Assistance, transportation, livable communities and volunteerism, n4a is dedicated to supporting the success of its members.
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Heroes of the Aging American Act, AAAs Leverage Technology to Fight the Pandemic

Heroes of the Aging American Act, AAAs Leverage Technology to Fight the Pandemic
If anything, Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of community services that support and care for the aging generation. During the pandemic when the country went into lockdown, 211 helplines received increased requests for home-delivered meals, rent assistance, and food pantries from elders. These requests were three times more in comparison to the same time the previous year. There was also an increase in mental health challenges for those who were stressed and were socially isolated.
Therefore, it has been critical for many healthcare and social care providers to meet the interrelated health and social needs of the aging population during the pandemic. As the acute hospital capacity scales up to care for people who become critically ill, there is a need for community-based services to scale up as well to help aging adults stay at home safely. AAAs (Area Agencies on Aging) are playing a critical role in supporting older adults at home.
The Area Agencies on Aging are a fantastic support and coordination system with 622 agencies working tirelessly across the country that provides basic key services for the elderly in their communities. These services include home-delivered meals, health and disease management, social activities, and transportation. AAAs are there to meet the fundamental needs of the elderly who are living at home and want to continue to do so. With the spread of COVID-19, AAAs played an active role in fulfilling requests for meals at home for the elderly, requests for assistance and information, and in trying to reduce social isolation. AAAs also helped in freeing up capacity in hospitals and nursing homes by organizing home-based services and offering care transition programs (for home-eligible Medicaid beneficiaries).

How Important is AAA’s work?

AAAs have always worked towards developing innovative solutions and services to support older adults’ health and independence. Research shows that AAAs can drastically reduce avoidable healthcare use and spending in their service areas. When AAAs received funding to support their contribution in Livable Community initiatives (coalitions that promote health, well-being, and capacity to remain independent in communities), avoidable nursing home use was reduced to nearly 1% in AAA service area. Medicare spending fell to $136 per beneficiary in AAA service area when AAAs began to partner with hospitals. Similarly, when AAAs partnered with mental health organizations, avoidable nursing home use fell by 0.5%. With COVID-19 straining the hospitals in unpredictable ways, AAAs were needed to prevent the unnecessary use of healthcare urgently.
In order to better understand the changing needs of older adults and the ability of AAAs to address them amidst the pandemic, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has spoken to agency leaders from states with higher caseloads like Washington and California. It was found out that AAAs’ longstanding partnerships with various organizations in their respective cities and areas have helped in planning and adapting new methods of services. For example, congregate meals for older adults that enhanced nutrition and social engagement had to be changed into a scaled-up take-out format. When meals are delivered, wellness checks are also made. Some agencies had to plan and make decisions on whether to continue giving services to older adults receiving personal care assistance in their home so as not to risk exposing the older adults or the care workers’ to the virus through this interaction. Like numerous healthcare providers, AAAs began using telehealth and telephone to check on the clients and provide assessments.

What More Is Needed Now

Lack of workforce is one challenge that stands out in meeting the increased needs of older adults in their communities and homes. As AAAs begin to scale up, they need workforce more than even to provide assistance to homebound older adults and support them by providing services like home-delivered meals. Previously, retired volunteers did the job but they have been advised to stay at home to reduce the risk of infection to themselves. AAAs began to explore options like hiring college students or those who lost their jobs in the retail and hospitality industry. To fill the roles that required background checks, AAAs enlisted teachers who had off from schools.
Apart from this, AAAs also require innovative solutions and technologies to support their internal processes and manage caseloads. Hucu.ai is a communication application built specifically for the healthcare sector that can help AAAs centralize communication and data collection, improve efficiency and support them in multiple ways.
Here is how Innovative AAAs can use Hucu.ai:

AAAs Can Manage Consumer Risk In Real-Time.

Hucu.ai can help highlight risks for interventions that support maximum independence. Real-time acuity score is a feature that standardizes separate assessment scores allowing agencies to better manage their intensive caseload. Hucu.ai allows risk stratification visibility to all collaborators so that they can quickly highlight older adults at greater risk and prioritize their needs. The consumer journey map feature helps track the history of each individual adult and the services they have received. Hucu.ai is a data-driven solution that can pinpoint older adults most in need of service.

AAAs Can Improve Transparency And Oversight Among Team And Partners

Hucu.ai can provide network performance visibility to improve AAAs’ quality of service delivery network. AAAs can have greater accountability of results with Hucu.ai’s partner reporting capability. With reduced communication errors and improved HIPAA compliance, there will be greater trust among teams. Hucu.ai’s automatic push notifications and simplified messaging greatly reduce delays in communication between teams. AAAs can build tighter connections with skilled nursing facilities and hospital teams by planning, scheduling with them, and sharing relevant documents under HIPAA compliance very quickly. The ability to centralize communication and sharing reports can help AAAs track partner performance down to each employee level as well.

Reduce Employee Turnover and Increase Staff Satisfaction

Given the pandemic and difficulty in hiring new employees, AAAs can reduce employee turnover by providing easy communication and recognition for staff, partner employees, and volunteers via Hucu.ai. Hucu.ai is a super user-friendly application that can be set up in an organization in just a few minutes. Hucu.ai has a built-in feature that allows individuals who manage a greater load of challenging cases to gain visibility over teams.
With these unprecedented challenges faced by AAAs and other health care providers during the time of COVID-19, it is critical to leverage technology to take off unnecessary workload and free up time and muscle to serve the older adults in a patient-centered way within their communities. Hucu.ai can help do exactly that.
Hucu.ai hosted a 30-minute Zoom webinar on 9th September to discuss how technology can be leveraged to manage acuity and increase independence at a lower cost for organizations delivering Community Based Care. The objectives of the webinar were to share: best practices in providing proactive care through real-time acuity scoring, how to use data analytics to improve operations, how to streamline communication within internal teams, external partners, and with patients and families.
The event’s speakers, Kathleen Gillespie, CEO at Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, and Ethen Tarner COO, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging elaborated the objectives and shared their experience of being facilitated by Hucu.ai. Watch the complete webinar here.
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Great Care Through Great Communication

Great Care Through Great Communication
All healthcare facilities require healthcare professionals to have effective communication amongst them so that facility’s operations can be managed smoothly and promptly. Thanks to technology, communication has become easier, especially when healthcare professionals want to connect with other healthcare facilities, caretakers, and even patient’s families. This is critical because this ensures effective care to patients. All modern healthcare facilities are leveraging technology for effective communication to improve their patient care and accomplish business goals. But what is effective communication?

Effective Communication in Healthcare

When there is clear, timely, and discrete communication between healthcare professionals, it’s called effective communication. Such communication is required to make accurate diagnoses, make sure that treatments are being provided correctly, and ensure that patients understand their health requirements and statuses. Effective communication in healthcare calls for an ability to express technical terms in a way that patients can understand. Effective communication must also be comprehensive in the sense that when healthcare professionals receive information from other staff members, they have to interpret it and take action appropriately while communicating the whole process.

How Technology Impacts Healthcare Communication

Modern healthcare facilities and organizations have effective communication processes that leverage by technology so that workflows are smoother. For example, managing on-call schedules through tech-enabled communication, as opposed to a manual scheduling process, has more benefits.
Before technology, operation managers wrote down lists to manage the on-call schedule of healthcare providers and they would also manually alert them through a pager or phone call. This process wasted a lot of time that could be spent caring for patients. Between managing the spreadsheets and alerting providers about the on-call statuses, healthcare professionals were not able to care for patients optimally.
With technology and digital tools, now organizations can alert providers of their on-call schedules in real-time with a single notification sent on their cell phones. Healthcare applications like Hucu.ai are built for effective healthcare communication and to improve patient-centered care. Hucu.ai also has the three important components of effective healthcare communication. Let’s talk about those.

HIPAA-Compliant Texting

Sensitive patient information such as names, birthdates, treatments, health conditions, diagnosis, and health statuses have to be kept confidential. Without HIPAA-compliant digital tools, discretely communicating sensitive information can be impossible. With Hucu.ai, providers and healthcare professionals can follow the HIPAA requirement to limit data storage and transmission to a standardized format and share information, files, data, and instructions securely without fearing HIPAA violation and loss of confidentiality. Hucu.ai also has a ‘flag’ feature that allows professionals to differentiate between critical information from less important ones.
HIPAA-compliant text enabling applications such as Hucu.ai also allows healthcare professionals to bring their own devices to the healthcare facility. The application is protected with a fingerprint scan and pin code. It has separate channels for different patients that work as distinguished threads in which healthcare staff, family members, and nurses can communicate. Users can take photos and share secure documents without having those media ever stored on their devices. Channels allow easy sharing of information, pictures, and even video chatting for real-time updates with specific collaborators included in the channels. To reduce workplace stress and confusion, it keeps professional and personal messaging separate in one device. Because Hucu.ai is such a simple way to improve communication, hospitals can see better patient outcomes with BYOD that have Hucu.ai installed.

Organized On-Call Scheduling

When on-call scheduling is organized, care teams can care for patients 24/7. With Hucu.ai, scheduling on-calls is a breeze as providers and healthcare professionals can create a channel for schedules and share real-time information about it. If someone is unavailable, another can volunteer immediately without causing a delay in patient care.

Notification System

Mass notification systems are platforms that are used to distribute information to a large number of professionals quickly. For example, informing the hospital about an emergency can be done through such a platform. The downside of using notification systems is that no PHI can be shared because these are not HIPAA-compliant.
Hucu.ai covers this area as well. Healthcare officials can create a group or a channel for emergency announcements. All healthcare officials have to do is have pre-set template messages which they can type into the channel and Hucu.ai will notify everyone in the same instant.

Three Ways In Which Technology Can Help Improve Communication

Effective communication does not only improve practices but also the reputation of the organization. Here are a few strategies that can optimize the effectiveness of healthcare communication.

Evaluating Current Methods of Communication

A healthcare facility can improve communication by assessing communication policies, methods used, and the overall communication culture within it. It is important to know how communication takes place between different departments, administration, and staff or between staff and between patients and staff. Asking the staff how they feel about communication can give a lot of insights into the gaps that the healthcare facility can fill for improved communication. Once this is done, the assessment can be compared with the modern tools available. Sometimes hospitals are using multiple methods to communicate e.g. phone, fax, and email when that can be done with one technology like Hucu.ai.

Streamlining Communication Channels

Sending information through multiple channels is a common challenge. If the staff has to communicate the same information to multiple provides, administration, and other departments, doing so in different ways can cause inaccuracy in the information share. However, hucu.ai can help solve this problem. With Hucu.ai, notifications can be sent directly to multiple recipients with the same information.

Encouraging Mobile Collaboration

Healthcare organizations are busy with patient care and have tight schedules. Sometimes healthcare professionals do not have time to check faxes, emails, and pagers, locate information from files and notes. Mobile communication can ensure that staff can get information on time and effectively. As everyone is familiar with smartphones, these can be leveraged to use HIPAA-complaint messaging apps like Hucu.ai to communicate between staff efficiently.
Hucu.ai can help staff share information no matter where they are and at any time. This can help providers care better for their patients when they know that the information they need and support is just a touch away.
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