October 19, 2023

How to avoid choosing the wrong technology for your homecare agency

Table of contents

Selecting the wrong technology for your homecare business can be disastrous: disrupted care delivery, operational slowdowns and severe financial setbacks are just a few of the potential impacts.

But all this can be avoided. 

In this blog, we'll unpack how to make the right choice of tech for your business. We’ll dive into the key considerations when assessing software, and what questions you should ask software providers. 

To make this easier, you’ll find this advice broken down by different functional areas so you can consult with the relevant teams and ensure you’re aligned with your staff on their “must-haves”. 

Before we start - map out your needs and involve the team

Ironically, we suggest you start your software journey on paper!

Before delving into the world of software options,  we strongly advise you to map out your existing processes and needs. Involving everyone in the team in the process ensures that the software you choose closely aligns well with your staff requirements.

Auditing

Main Objective: Does the software provide a unique source of truth and empower me to audit my business at a moment's notice so I don’t spend time “looking for data” but actioning it?

Key Features to look for: Real-time Monitoring, Automated Alerts, Compliance Trackers, Evidence Collection Tools

A robust auditing tool is essential for any care agency aiming for continuous improvement and compliance. Look for a system that offers real-time monitoring and automated alerts on issues that could impact compliance. Additional features like compliance trackers and evidence collection tools make it easier to prepare for internal and external audits.

Questions to ask software providers:

  • Does your system offer real-time monitoring of care delivery?
  • Are there automated alerts for compliance-related issues?
  • Does the system have built-in compliance trackers?
  • Can the software facilitate evidence collection for internal and external audits?
  • Does the system provide more than just data dashboards - can it help us derive insights and actions from the data it collects?
  • Can I export reports generated by the system?
  • Are we able to build custom reports based on system data?
  • Can you set up automated workflows within the system to ensure tasks never get forgotten?
  • Does the system provide auditing forms for service reviews and courtesy calls?

Whatever your goals, Birdie's monitoring and auditing tools can help you continuously improve and evidence best-practice across all areas of your agency. Check out the following page to see how Birdie can help you monitor and audit.

Care Management

Main Objective: Does the software enable me to manage and deliver care in the most efficient and person-centred way possible?

Key Features: Electronic Care Plans, Medication Management (eMAR), Task Tracking, Caregiver App, Analytics Dashboard, Body Maps, Call Monitoring

Choose software with a well-rounded set of care management tools. Electronic care plans, medication management, body maps and task tracking are the basics. Also look for a user-friendly caregiver app functionality to  your care staff to have a clear understanding of their day-to-day tasks and the clients they are visiting.

Questions to ask software providers:

  • Does your system offer real-time monitoring of care delivery?
  • Does it have comprehensive care assessments coverage?
  • Does it suggest tasks based on assessments?
  • Does the system automatically create an audit trail for each task, accident and incident reported?
  • How does the system support personalised care within the electronic care planning function?
  • Does it have bodymaps?
  • Does the system enable eMAR (Electronic Medication Charts) and PRN medication?
  • In what ways does the system ensure effective and safe call monitoring?
  • Does it have more than one way for the care professionals to check-in and out?

Read also - Top 9 Best eMar Software for Homecare

Connecting

Main Objective: Does the software allow me to give family members, caregivers and first responders or health professionals visibility over care recipient (client) data in a secure and compliant way, saving me time and reducing staff friction?

Key Features: Secure Messaging, Family Portal/App, Health Professional Access, Care Report Sharing

A well-connected ecosystem is vital. Look for a system that offers secure messaging between team members and a family portal for relatives to stay informed. Health professional access is another crucial feature to enable collaboration with a broader healthcare team. The ability to share care reports with authorised individuals is another must-have.

Questions to ask software providers:

  • Is the system able to notify carers of rota changes or other important service messages directly into the carers phones and be able to understand if the carer has read those messages?
  • Does the system allow in a private way to share information such as care plans and medication at a moment's notice with health practitioners or first responders?
  • Does the system help provide information to family members of the care recipients in a clear and digestible way (such as care plans and next visits)?

“There is loads of information on the system, the clients and families love it. They can read the notes and check on their relatives, so that is brilliant.”

- Shelley, Registered Manager at Alexandra's Community Care on the Birdie family app.

Finance

Main Objective: Is the software flexible enough to adapt to my finance requirements on both payroll and billing, reducing billing errors and making the whole process less time intensive?

Key Features: Invoicing, Payroll Management, Financial Reporting

Financial management is crucial. The ideal software should offer invoicing, payroll management and financial reporting features, all of whichhelp in ensuring billing accuracy and save administrative time, allowing for a focus on service delivery instead. The software should be seamlessly integrated with the rostering tool to enable flawless linkage between hours of care contracted vs. delivered and alignment to payroll to help with advanced calculations such a NMW (National Minimum Wage). 

Questions to ask software providers:

  • Can the system accommodate multiple pay rates and invoice for all types of care provision? 
  • Can the system allow overriding of rate cards for specific visit schedules or care recipients?
  • Can the system allow you to apply uplifts to increase your rates by a percentage, without having to manually calculate and edit?
  • Does the system allow you to configure invoice formats tailored to your payers, such as Local Authority or NHS?

Read also - 5 Ideas to make homecare invoicing and payroll easier

Rostering

Main Objective: Is the software capable of building predictable schedules for the benefit of care professionals and care recipients and at the same time reduce costs such as travel time and increase care capacity by maximising schedules?

Key Features: Rota Planning, Skill Matching, Location-based Assignments, Availability Tracking

Effective rostering is a complex task made simple with the right tools. Look for software with easy rota planning and a system that matches carers to clients based on skills, location, and availability. Features that track staff availability in real-time can also be a boon to any agency aiming for efficient scheduling.

Questions to ask software providers:

  • Does your system offer real-time monitoring of care delivery?

Article continues below this video

The Birdie Rota in 30 seconds:

Choosing the right software is a decision that can make or break your homecare agency. Focusing on these areas—auditing, care management, connectivity, finance, and rostering—can significantly impact the efficiency and quality of care your agency provides. Therefore, involve your team, assess your needs, and opt for a software package that best aligns with these critical features.

Want to try Birdie for your business? Hit the demo button below.
We think you’ll love it. However, there’s no obligation to buy, no sales pitch and no commitment.

See if it suits you.

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