Homewatch CareGivers has developed a new leadership position to spearhead innovation within the company.
Jennifer Ramona has been named vice president of strategy and health care innovation. Previously, Ramona was the company’s director of business development.
“We shifted some of [my] responsibilities with regards to the day-to-day business development to be able to really take advantage and take the time to understand where we need to go next,” she told Home Health Care News. “It’s just not,‘This is the next thing we need to do to keep up,’ but to lead the way.”
Rather than riding the waves of innovation as they come, Homewatch CareGivers hopes the new position will put the company ahead of them. Ramona aims to do that with a focus on technology and relationships, both with referral partners and payers.
In many ways, those priorities are consistent for home care providers across the sector. When Home Health Care News surveyed industry executives in December, several forecasted use of rapidly evolving technology and the rising importance of home care within the health care continuum as top trends to watch in 2019.
Still, in many ways, Homewatch CareGivers has been able to outshine competitors in home care’s hyper competitive market. The formerly family-owned company has grown into a private equity-backed franchisor with nearly 190 locations.
Homewatch was acquired by Authority Brands, a portfolio company of PNC Riverarch Capital, in 2017, through a transaction that set an industry-record EBITDA multiple. It was traded again in 2018 and is now owned by London-based Apax Partners, the 14th-largest private equity firm in the world, as ranked by Private Equity International.
Since creation of the new role in September, Homewatch CareGivers is already taking strides toward innovation. For example, the company is in the process of rolling out a new social media-like HIPAA-compliant platform to streamline referrals and care coordination within Homewatch and with its partners, Ramona said.
Additionally, the company is looking for technology partnerships to build predictive analytics for caregivers, with the goal being to improve retention and client care.
“Retaining our caregivers because they’re satisfied, and we’re recognizing it through data patterns, [means] that we can then also offer better continuity of care for our clients, meaning they get to keep the same caregivers they have and not have a different caregiver in their home each day,” she said.
Ramona has also been busy fostering current relationships with community partners. One example is coordinating with local emergency rooms to make sure Homewatch CareGivers knows what information they need from the company to optimize care delivery.
With Medicare Advantage poised to start reimbursing for more personal home care services, it’s reasonable to think that strong relationships across the care continuum could help Homewatch CareGivers improve outcomes, cut re-hospitalizations and ultimately forge payer relationships.
In the end, the new position is all about improving care.
“[It’s about] understanding what’s happening with those other parts of the health care continuum and then bringing that back to how we can effectively impact the outcomes of our clients, which also impact the outcomes of our health care partners,” Ramona said.