The MediSked Blog

Is there a scheduling solution for direct support staff?

Posted by Mike Holihan on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 @ 04:29 PM

Whether you are a home care or human service agency that has formal schedules or not, chances are you have encountered times when direct support staff has either been late, no-showed, or called off a shift that was assigned to them.  In fact, in our travels to provider agencies across the country, one of the biggest challenges we hear echoed time and again is employee management.  If you are managing direct support staff shifts and schedules via paper, whiteboards, or any other manual method you are not optimizing your reimbursement or revenue potential and more importantly, risking not delivering the highest quality of care.  Here are some reasons why transitioning to an Agency Management Platform, such as Connect, will solve your employee scheduling needs.

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Tags: Direct Support Professionals, Staff Management, Scheduling

Top Ten Question’s We Get Asked: #2 - What if we don’t use a schedule?

Posted by Mike Holihan on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 @ 09:54 AM

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Tags: Provider Agencies, Scheduling

The Difference Between EMRs and AMPs

Posted by Mike Holihan on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 @ 01:42 PM

In the search for the best software solution, provider agencies regularly come across EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems. For most agencies, EMRs are not the best fit based on the types of services that make up the bulk of agency offerings. An Agency Management Platform (AMP) is a better choice in most cases. Below is a quick guide to understand the difference between EMRs and AMPs.


-Clinical in Nature. EMRs are not intended for the unique requirements of a waiver provider agency. Instead it is for more clinical agencies. Most EMRs are off the shelf, which means that it is intended to be used as-is, without a lot of modifications. A typical provider agency would have to make many modifications based on their unique workflows and demands.


-Episodes of Care. EMRs are a system that’s based on a workflow that clearly has a beginning, middle and end. It is clinical by nature, so the focus is on records management and the creation and documentation of patient assessments and treatment plans on the front end. The work flow clearly follows a path that an agency would treat the “patient” and eventually discharge them. In fact most have a module called Discharge and Transfer Management. We all know that with an Agency Management Platform, the workflow is about providing a lifetime of service and support to the individuals they serve. Goal plans and service notes replace assessments and treatments and managing employees to help individuals reach fulfilled lives are what is important in our system. The bottom line: a provider agency would have a bunch of modules and workflows that have no relevance to them or they would have to change some of their processes to fit the system- which is risky and costly.


-Disconnected schedules and shifts. Because EMRs are not targeted to provider agencies, they don’t treat their schedules or appointments, clients, employees and service programs in the same capacity as an AMP. Most have schedules that seem more like an Outlook calendar where you can schedule “events” with a client similar to scheduling a meeting in Outlook but those “events” don’t bring billable hours, service notes, and pay rates together. With most EMRs, it seems like everything is floating on its own, whereas AMPs tightly integrate everything through its platform to ensure tight audit controls, premium service delivery, and trackable payroll and billing information. Most don’t mention anything about error free scheduling- the ability to eliminate double bookings or unqualified staff which an AMP schedule engine does. This goes back to the fact that the average clinical agency that an EMR is serving does not have the home and community based schedules that a provider agency has.


-Not focused on waiver specific compliance. Another big piece of an Agency Management Platform is the compliance packs that come standard. So an agency using an AMP is always in compliance with all federal, state and local requirements automatically. Both from a billing and documentation standpoint. This is huge for Medicaid supported services, which is our focus. That is not a focus with EMRs.


-Paying for irrelevant functionality. There are some similar functionalities when it comes to certain things like their billing – both EMRs and AMPs integrate with general ledger and payroll software, reporting, HIPAA security measures, we’re also SureScripts certified for e-prescribing. EMRs are more medically slanted, which doesn’t really benefit most provider agencies and it definitely takes the cost of a much higher. Both offer medications management but it’s not a focus for us or most of our customers.


Ultimately, most EMRs are geared for agencies that deal with episodes of care that have a beginning and an end. Agency Management Platforms are completely built around supporting agencies that provide a continuum, or lifetime, of care. That affects the functionality and purpose of the software as explained above.
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Tags: EHR, Billing, Compliance, Provider Agencies, Waiver Services, MediSked Company News, Scheduling