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Mobility Solutions to Support the Booming Home Health Services Market
The market for home health care services is growing rapidly and is not likely to slow any time soon. The expanding need is due in large part to the aging of the baby boomers, those born between 1946 and ‘64. The boomers were once the nation’s largest living generation, defined by a notable increase in births in the United States following World War II. As this generation ages, it is creating a boom of sorts in the home health services industry.
Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and increasingly these seniors wish to continue living in their own homes rather than being moved to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. According to AARP, nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, referred to as “aging in place.” Most seniors (up to 82 percent) would prefer to stay in their homes even as they need daily assistance or ongoing health care. Few seniors say they would prefer to move to a care facility, and even fewer identify living with extended family as a desirable option.
The rate of home ownership among boomers is higher than with the rest of the population today, which is one of the primary reasons for increased demands for home care services. Reports reflect that 81% of seniors today own their own homes, compared to 68% for the rest of the population. The majority of these seniors live alone or with a spouse – we’ve already established that living with extended family isn’t a frequent choice, possibly due at least in part to reduced home ownership rates. There are also suggestions that the reduced economic status of later generations has similarly reduced the capacity for extended families providing the long-term care for their seniors.
Projected to double by the year 2050, the number of Americans requiring daily help with living at home is expected to grow from the current 12 million to 27 million. Older adults will make up almost 20 percent of the population, if not more.
These and other factors are driving rapid growth and expansion in the home health care field. Projected job growth for home health providers and personal care aids is expected to reach a whopping 70 percent by 2020. Larger than any other occupation grouping in the country, direct care workforce is projected to exceed teachers from kindergarten through high school (3.9 million), all law enforce and public safety workers (3.7 million), and registered nurses (3.4 million). Between 2010 and 2020, the fastest growing occupations in the country are projected to be Personal Care Aides and Home Health Aides.
Home health care businesses providing in-home senior care, hospital after-care, veteran care and numerous other specialized and general services are supported by a number of specialized software solutions designed to meet the specific needs of this segment of the healthcare industry. The software used to support the business generally includes specific functionality for managing client and patient records, caregiver and provider information, scheduling and dispatch, payroll and HR, billing, and other back office and accounting processes.
Many of the industry-specific solutions available on the market address different or unique aspects of operating the home health care business, integrating data from their system with separate accounting and finance applications (such as QuickBooks desktop editions) for the rest of the functionality needed. This allows the developer of the line of business application to focus on the valuable features and capabilities that will make the practice more efficient, compliant and profitable, leaving general accounting processes (payroll, accounts payable, general ledger and reporting) to the accounting software.
With greater frequency, the applications servicing the home health care industry are SaaS solutions, crafted with online access and mobility in mind. This industry in particular has a specific need for remote and mobile access to information, as it is a “field service” operation at its core with healthcare rolled in. The requirements to manage not just scheduling and services, but to deal with compliance, privacy and other factors involved with healthcare information complicates matters, placing an additional focus on the security and mode of access to the software and information.
Businesses using solutions such as Kinnser ADL, Shoshana Rosemark, Kaleida eRSP and Generations Homecare System rely on the software to streamline their operations. Not only designed to support a remote and mobile workforce, these application services also provide business owners and managers with the ability to access essential business data at any time. At issue is the rest of the software and systems which support the business operation and its processes. Word and Excel or other productivity tools are almost certainly used at some level, and QuickBooks is in use, too. These applications and their data typically reside on the desktop computer or local network. As desktop applications, these solutions deliver the best power and performance for the business in terms of features and usability. While some users may consider moving to web-based versions of these products, those who favor performance and functionality over framework often return to the feature-rich desktop applications that do the full job required.
In order to give business owners and remote workers the access they need to desktop applications and data, secure remote access solutions are required. When the software and systems reside in the locked office of the business, the people operating outside aren’t usually able to access them in a way that is useful – or useful for more than one person at a time. Remote control solutions that broker access to a PC cannot provide the multi-user support, application security or overall performance that most businesses require. Attempts to implement simple RDS solutions or use similar products to create access often expose the business to unnecessary risk and limited capability while introducing heavy technical and licensing expenses.
MyQuickCloud addresses the secure remote access requirement, delivering the capability for multi-user application access, server-based computing and easy cloud administration in a simple streamlined solution. Without a need for special firewall configurations or static IP addresses, and supporting local or domain security models, MyQuickCloud enables businesses to establish comprehensive remote and mobile access to virtual desktops and remote applications on any Windows host, whether on-premises or offsite. The workspaces model allows multiple simultaneous users to work from the host computer, with the only limitations being machine resources and application capability. The client is available on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android devices, and has file transfer and printing capability on all.
With an offsite option, where the applications and data reside with the commercial hosting provider, business owners and line managers benefit from being allowed to focus on operations and not on managing the underlying software and systems. The business outsources the provisioning, management and protection of primary IT resources to support users, software and data, but the business should retain the capability to administer their own cloud as personnel changes impacting information access can occur at any time.
Whether their software and data are hosted on-site with existing equipment or offsite with managed hosting, home health care businesses need to have an easy-to-use solution for administration of user accounts, application access and secure filespaces. For the home health care business, this is critical functionality that can mean the difference between spending too much time in the office handling general business and software matters versus meeting with clients and managing caregivers and revenue-generating activities. In a fast moving, fast growing and highly mobile business, getting to information at anytime from anywhere using any device means being able to meet booming business demand.
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2014/cb14-84.html https://www.ioaging.org/aging-in-america http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/ http://www.iyhusa.com/AginginPlaceFacts-Data.htm http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2012/01/13/homeowners-by-age/
Channel agents and telephony resellers are facing stiff competition these days. Line access or voice service isn’t as easy to sell as it once was, and the convergence of digital voice and data has made things even less simple. Business customers demand comprehensive solutions that can address a variety of business problems, and they tend to seek out those solutions from the advisors they trust. The “advisor” could be a software reseller, an accounting professional, the local IT guy, or the professional that delivered great telco, voice or network access.
Convergence isn’t only for voice and data solutions; convergence is the combining and compressing of channels delivering those solutions. MSPs and “pure” IT resellers are also feeling the squeeze, finding telecom agents and channels among those challenging the VARs and MSPs operating today. Marketing budgets are increasing, but differentiation is not. Reselling is a crowded space and everyone has become a service provider. Having the right messages to win new customers and retain existing ones is essential not just for success, but for survival.
Once a channel partner or provider has established a solid customer relationship, it is important to capitalize on that goodwill (and develop even more) by delivering the other value-added services the customer needs. Access, connectivity and voice solutions are just a start when it comes to servicing small and growing business customers. Having come from an application hosting background, I am very aware of the demand for mobility and “always-on, always-available” computing services among businesses small and large. When the partner is working with the customer and is solving connectivity and telephony problems, the likelihood of successfully selling additional IT solutions to address mobility is quite high. The challenge has often been with the investment required for training and certification; development of new competencies which are viewed as diversions from the core business. Evolution of technology, markets and demand suggests that offering a broader base of solutions isn’t a diversion any longer, it has become a core requirement.
Secure remote access to on-premises systems, managed hosting on cloud servers delivering always-on service or disaster recovery, and collaboration tools that keep everyone on the same page – these are the solutions that savvy businesses are looking for, and which represent the additional value channel partners and service providers could be delivering to their valued customers. After all, if the customer can’t get what they need from their trusted reseller/advisor, they will find somewhere else to buy, removing their “advisor” from the mix. Most business owners would agree that it takes less to nurture and maintain existing customers than it takes to find new ones, so the investment in offering and delivering value-added solutions is well worth it.
The best way for channel partners to retain their customer relationships is to offer a full range of solutions and value-added services to meet the variety of needs of their business clientele. MyQuickCloud, for example, is a highly successful partner solution and add-on for resellers of IP telephony services and line access. MyQuickCloud offers very flexible and affordable secure remote access and cloud hosting solutions that do not require investments in training or certification to resell, giving channel partners and telecomm agents the right stuff to beat out the competition and keep small business and growing enterprise customers happy and coming back for more. Partners leverage their expertise and creativity in developing solutions with MyQuickCloud, resulting in cost-effective and powerful network, application and continuity services not previously available.
MyQuickCloud secure remote access creates a secure business cloud from on-premises systems, with hosted or co-located cloud servers, or any combination of on-prem or offsite hosts. The on-premises capability leverages investments in existing infrastructure and adds value and capability to locally installed systems, a benefit which is not available with traditional hosting models. Able to be positioned as simple remote access, managed hosting or complete disaster recovery, MyQuickCloud gives channel partners a simple yet comprehensive approach to meeting customer computing needs regardless of the applications in use or mobile devices to support. MyQuickCloud is also used by installers and support technicians, enabling remote access to client on-prem systems, turning service and support into a more streamlined and efficient effort and improving customer service and retention.
I wrote an article a while back about how it all comes down to 3 applications for small businesses… applications to address fundamental business requirements. Among those requirements is the need to communicate. Whether it be via voice or electronic mail or other means, every business communicates and every business needs communication tools. Chief among the communication tools is the voice service (telephone), whether it be on-premises or hosted, digital voice or IP (not much analog out there anymore) or some combination of all of the above. Extending telephone systems to service a remote and mobile workforce or to connect multiple business locations is a high demand business and has proven to be very lucrative for many partners. Adding value to these solutions by delivering remote access or hosting service simply increases the overall value of the system and allows business customers to take full advantage of mobile, connected and integrated working models.