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Agency Data Used Alpha Anywhere to Revolutionise Home Health and Care

Agency Data LLC used Alpha Anywhere low-code software to create a robust, data-driven system for Heartwood Healthcare to digitize patient records and care.

Agency Data LLC is a software development company based in New Mexico. The Company specializes in building EMR, CoPs, CRM Management, and Cloud-based software for small and large home health, hospice, and private duty agencies across the country. Agency Data LLC’s CTO is a former owner, and administrator of Heartwood Healthcare, an outpatient agency for hospice, home health, and private duty.

“Alpha Software increased profitability and visibility while reducing penalities and liabilities. Like I always say, I can’t remember every Medicare and Medicaid rule, but the software can.” - Lee Vasic, Agency Data LLC

Business Challenge

The story of Agency Data LLC’s scheduling solution begins in the mid-eighties. As it cared for and processed medical and insurance paperwork for patients, Heartwood Healthcare needed to comply with several health regulatory bodies, including Medicare, Medicaid, and HIPPA. The problem was that even if an agency employed a health insurance expert, they could not keep up with all the regimented rules, bureaucracy, and policy updates. Agency Data LLC recognized Heartwood Healthcare needed an efficient, intuitive cloud-based scheduling system to handle the vast amount of recordkeeping required for patient care.

At that time, there were few suitable software systems on the market. The solutions were either too expensive or required too much time and personal effort to learn. Agency Data LLC decided to try a software package that received positive reviews. As they researched, they found that they needed to be fluent in French to understand the instructions, manuals, and other materials. This was a non-starter for Agency Data LLC.

lee vasic agency data llcAgency Data’s CTO Lee Vasic heard about Alpha Software’s cloud-based low-code platform and decided to travel to Boston, MA to attend an Alpha Software conference. He believed the software could be a fit for their problem and wanted to learn more. Vasic was impressed with what they heard at the conference, including how Alpha Software does business and the intuitiveness of its software. He also appreciated that Alpha Software was a database company that deeply understood enterprise data and security.

Solution

In a short time, Agency Data LLC built a scheduling system using Alpha Software low-code software that met Heartwood Healthcare's immediate needs. Agency Data LLC used Alpha Anywhere to create an application with multiple views of scheduling.

Software DeveloperOne of the advantages of having a software development company involved in the day-to-day administrative aspects was that it was familiar with Heartwood Healthcare's business. Upon rolling out the new solution, Vasic and his team immediately recognized that everyone involved in the running of a home health agency needs to view schedules differently.

Nurses need to see individual visit schedules, while administrators need to see the entire staff schedules and key performance indicators (KPIs), such as visit frequency. For Medicaid compliance, patients need to see staff schedules so they are aware of who is coming in and out of their homes.

Home health agencies need to comply with hundreds of regulations. If a facility does not pay attention to every little detail, regulators can enforce compliance or even shut down facilities. When the paperwork is not signed on time, this can trigger massive audits. Alpha Software was very flexible and allowed for role-based permissions, the addition of new features, and rapid updates. The software’s ability to accurately collect and report on the data allowed Heartwood Healthcare to easily comply with regulations and report on data as necessary.

“Alpha Anywhere really shines in this area. With Alpha, we were able to add 79 validations that helped staff stay on top of medical regulations. Our solution even informed clinicians of deadlines for signing and submitting forms.”

Benefits/Results

Increased Visibility

Home care, hospices, and other facilities must operate around the clock. Suppose one of the nurses at a facility needs to note that a patient's medication is running low. With Agency Data LLC’s solution, they could hit a button and send a voice message directly to a patient’s chart stored on the Cloud, and it would automatically appear as an action item.

nurse patient healthcareAgency Data’s SaaS solution enabled Heartwood Healthcare management to see a list of employees who were out for the day. This list included employee pictures, their job title, their visit frequency, and an inventory including medicine, beds, and equipment supplies.

Staff could view this data on their mobile devices or on dashboards in the main conference room. The dashboards also informed staff when the last patient visit occurred. This is critical for Medicare because agencies are required to visit patients every two weeks.

Every morning, the Heartwood Healthcare team could view all the action items from the night before on the dashboards, or on their phones. They could see which patient had called and where there were supply shortages. There were also KPIs, such as the frequency of visits, whether paperwork was complete or outstanding, and when it needed to be done.

Streamlined Management For Documents 300 Pages, Plus

Heartwood Healthcare has to fill out thirteen forms for each patient just for hospice services. With the Alpha Solution, this became more efficient. Instead of going through and signing each page, the patient had to sign once electronically on a mobile device.

A great example of how Agency Data LLS’s SaaS application made document management easier was when Heartwood Healthcare had to complete a cost report. This form typically requires a secretary, nurse, and administrator to work together, taking an entire week to complete. Other forms were even longer, for example, each patient’s history and physical was from 100 to 300 pages, at least.

Alpha Anywhere integrates with Amazon's S3 bucket. (An S3 bucket allows organizations to store and protect any amount of data for cloud-native applications, among other devices). Alpha also filters documents by patients or by their medical records.

Accurate and Timely Data Collection

One of the solution critical features was synchronous versus asynchronous data collection. Let’s briefly explain these two terms.

Nursing Patient CareAsynchronous sends all the data at once and whatever data gets to the server first wins. Synchronous sends the data and processes it in a particular order which is exactly what you need in data-centric applications.

Heartwood Healthcare preferred data not to be transferred in a disorganized manner. There had to be a pecking order. Regulatory agencies like Medicare constantly change processes.

One example is client home visits. A nurse from a home health agency may have to submit multiple visit reports at once. Let us say a nurse comes to a patient's home at 11:30 p.m. and stays until the next day. The nurse would need to create two visit notes, one for the night before and one for the day after. Agency Data LLC’s solution automatically creates and records visit notes with just one touch of a button.

When staff met in the conference room, everyone took notes on their laptops or iPads and all information was recorded and transferred to the main system. When a nurse ordered a medication, it was automatically routed to the doctor for a digital signature.

Efficient Compliance Management

The solution not only complied with Medicaid regulations but also HIPPA. All records could be accessed via the cloud. When various regulatory agencies visited Heartwood Health, the auditors had visibility and access to client records.

Ensuring Home Health is On Top Of Regulation Requirements

Agency Data LLC created a forms library record for Heartwood Healthcare with every complete form from all the medical regulatory agencies. Some forms contained 300 questions. If any employee needed to customize a form, there was a data set that could be used. Agency Data LLC also built in a ton of validations to ensure employees avoided backdating.

Cost-Effective Hiring, Efficient Onboarding

Agency Data LLC’s SaaS application made everything more efficient. In the end, there was less need to hire a large team which was a cost-saving in itself. An interesting thing was there was a need for a unit clerk.

The unit clerk spent most of their day involved with the software. When the team needed an extra bed, the clerk ordered it. The software automatically created an email template and sent it directly to the bed manufacturer. Almost everything was automated, leaving little room for human error.

Prior to the new solution, Heartwood Healthcare employees had to sit and listen to PowerPoint lectures for weeks. The probability was they wouldn’t remember everything. Agency Data LLC created ten training videos and added them to their SaaS system for Heartwood Healthcare’s onboarding process. Easy to access, on-demand videos enabled new hires to learn at their own pace. If they forgot something, they could just re-watch a video.

Information Accessed at a Touch of a Button on Mobile Devices

doctor nurse medical healthcareAmong the benefits of Alpha’s Software is that it is easy to make changes. Agency Data LLC made everything mobile. Nurses used their phones or tablets to mark charts at the bedside. All the data that they entered was automatically sent to the main database.

Alpha Software plug-in APIs enable users to pull information from the web. Heartwood Health often needed information from the National Drug Database. They called the drug database via APIs, generating an instant transfer of data through to the Alpha List Control.

Unparalleled Time Efficiency

“We often demonstrated our solution at conferences. Once, when we were at the Dallas Convention Center, we had flurries of people coming to our booth all wanting to know how we do what we do. We explained that we didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just improved some small things.”

When a patient wants to transfer from home health to hospice care, a staff member needs to re-enter their data into a separate file. Our SaaS solution records all services under one patient. This saved valuable time entering the patient’s demographic data repeatedly.

Alpha Software Cloud’s Advantage

Agency Data LLC's solution is cloud-based so when there was a power outage hospice staff could access everything they needed from their mobile devices, no matter where they were.

The combination of Alpha Anywhere development and Alpha Cloud deployment are especially useful for resuming business operations because it allows business owners and employees to access important documentation.

In the early days of COVID, Heartwood Healthcare was considered an essential service. Alpha Cloud-enabled Heartwood Healthcare employees to easily work at home. Staff could also print out and merge lengthy documentation through the solution.

Alpha Software’s Due Diligence Management

When Agency Data LLC decided to sell the business, they needed to have a Medicare representative audit the software. During the course of the sale, Agency Data LLC was required to produce one hundred documents. The documents were easily accessed. In fact, the CTO had to retrieve a 2004 Medicare report that likely would have been lost had he relied on a physical filing cabinet. He was able to do this with just the push of a button.

Agency Data LLC made sure their solution’s SQL database was encrypted at transit and at rest. They also created a URL (e-docs) to provide a link to all the documentation involved in running Heartwood Healthcare. Because the software was built for database management and was so flexible, it enabled Agency Data to craft an application that aided the company in due diligence management, speeding the sale.

An important part of auditing software is first learning how it works and then seeing if it meets all the criteria. The Medicare representative told Agency Data LLC that he loved Alpha Anywhere because everything was so easy to learn. He was equally impressed by its visibility.


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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.

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