While ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have certainly become common tools across the in-home care industry, one Dallas-based software developer is looking to capitalize on the trend by adapting the on-demand trend for in-home care services—and put power in the hands of nurses with more control over their schedules.
Axxess, a developer of cloud-based software solutions for the home health industry, looks at “Uber-izing” the industry through its new app, AxxessCare. The app, which is currently in the pilot phase in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, takes Axxess’ scheduling capabilities for clinicians, agencies and patients on the go, and gives nurses the power to match their schedules and preferences with patient cases. Axxess is a major tech provider in the home health care space, with more than 1,700 providers on its platform which includes electronic medical records (EMRs) in addition to scheduling technology.
Home Health Care News caught up with Dennis Petrosky, SVP of corporate communications, and Shradha Aiyer, director of mobile technology at Axxess, to talk about the concept behind the app and the role technology has played in the industry.
What was the impetus behind developing the AxxessCare app?
Aiyer: When you look at nurses, they want to work in the area of their preference. Right now, they have to drive for hours to do a visit because they work with one agency that services a particular area. [Likewise], agencies are not able to grow their business because they cannot find qualified professionals who are willing to go to different areas. And unfortunately, patients don’t get seen in time and they have to get transferred between facilities before they get the care they need.
Another reason why we looked at AxxessCare and the need for it is you might need specific care, but you only get a general nurse coming in to give you that care … [The ability to select a specialized nurse] really elevates the quality of care that [patients] are going to receive. We’re trying to connect these clinicians who are proficient in certain areas to the needs of that patient, and we wanted to build a transparent highway to be able to connect these people.
What problems does the app solve?
Petrosky: We really see this as sort of a win-win-win for everybody because the agencies have an added pool of people who are qualified to be able to serve the patients in a particular area. The clinicians have the opportunity to raise their hand to say “I want to be considered for this opportunity if it meets my pay requirement and my location requirement.”
[Clinicians] can set filters through their app that will only meet the requirements that they’re looking for and then they can raise their hand and the agency has an opportunity to engage with them to ensure that they have the qualifications and the expertise that they need to best serve the patient.
How does the app address or combat recruiting and retention issues within the industry?
Aiyer: It comes back to empowering the people who are doing the work. … A lot of times, unfortunately, depending on your location, either the nurse is overcharging the agency or the agency is underpaying the nurses. So, we want to help create that level of transparency and even truly share analytical information about different hot spots and areas for the industry, and really help them understand best practices with respect to hiring and retention.
How would you describe the role of apps in home health care? What are your expectations for the future?
Aiyer: I feel like, unfortunately, with home health, we’ve not embraced technology as well as we should, especially with the advent of mobile devices. There are so many things that a clinician can do in their pocket—from making sure that they get their work done on time to helping them make their lives easier. That’s what I see technology doing; it’s ensuring accountability.
The more we embrace that technology, the better it is, and it’s not just apps within Axxess. There are a lot of great applications for all of health care that home health can embrace. Medication reconciliation is something that has always been so frustrating for clinicians, but there are so many apps out there that help them look up medicines and look up interactions. There are teaching and training videos online that they can pull up using their phone. There are a lot of different resources that are in the palm of their hands and should be embraced more and more.
Petrosky: What we’re developing with AxxessCare is very similar to the ride-sharing programs that have been developed in that they give convenience and control to everybody that is in the process. In the ride-sharing apps, the drivers set their own schedules, the riders have visibility on who’s out there and what the cost is—everything is very transparent.
It’s very similar in what we’re doing with AxxessCare in that agencies can see who is available and who is qualified to handle their need, and at the same time, their clinicians have an opportunity to identify the work that they are interested in taking. So it really is very much about visibility, convenience and control.
Written by Carlo Calma