This article is sponsored by KanTime. In this Voices interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Sundar Kannan, Founder & CEO of KanTime to learn how they carved a niche in home-based care as the only home health care product company from 2010 onward. He offers insight into the changing home care technology landscape along with the challenges it poses for providers, and he also discusses the key benefits of having a longitudinal care platform to address multiple care settings.
Home Health Care News: What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
Sundar Kannan: I’m a first-generation immigrant and entrepreneur from India. I received a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial and process engineering from the U.S. before moving back to India and starting an engineering design manufacturing consulting firm that was instrumental in building the first combat aircraft simulator for the Indian defense. The company IPO’d in ’94, and in ’97, I came back to the U.S. to establish an IT consulting firm called Kanrad Technologies Inc.
Kanrad ventured into home care and non-medical care services back in 2006 and rebranded as KanTime. We expanded into skilled nursing in 2010 and have continued adding more lines of business over the years. The key lesson I took away from these experiences is that the devil is in the detail, so analysis is extremely important.
Piecewise linear is a mathematical term for solving a complex problem by breaking it into smaller pieces. How does that translate to home health? Process, process, process. No matter the line of business, you need to break down all the processes into smaller pieces and look at streamlining operations, reorganizing the business through retooling, and workflow center alignment.
KanTime was founded on these learnings to bring process improvements to the post-acute care setting. We listen very carefully to our customers and are constantly improving our offering to best meet their unique needs. We have learned a lot from our customers, which is why we have been able to develop solutions for multiple lines of business including home health, pediatric nursing and therapy, hospice, and many others. All these things were made possible by our ability to listen and learn.
How has the technology landscape changed for home care providers over the past few years?
We have come so far in post-acute care technology, but I sincerely believe we still have a long ways to go.
The industry has been talking a lot about interoperability between lines of business and external systems. Previously, agencies were accustomed to working in silos with little communication between platforms, but today, agencies expect bidirectional, real-time data exchange so they can work in a single EMR platform and make quick, informed decisions with visibility across all functions within their organization.
KanTime, specifically, has seen considerable growth in technology solutions that aid providers in care management, document management and intelligent communications. Interoperability has never been an afterthought for us. We are the only product company that was built on a single platform with multiple integrations with partners in different verticals such as CRM, EVV, OASIS, order management, payroll, pharmacy, RCM, and supplies management.
Information security is another area where we have seen considerable growth in the past few years. With the rise in data breaches, most agencies now ensure that their data is securely stored at rest and during transit. HIPAA-compliance is a key component of that, and KanTime is in the process of obtaining HITRUST certification, which is slated for completion in Q2 2023. We are a HIPAA-compliant software as is, but we are going for HITRUST certification to authenticate it.
Real-time analytics is another focal point in home-based care today. For example, if McDonald’s is able to provide end-of-day sales metrics for all of its franchisees, why can’t post-acute care providers have similar insights at their fingertips? They also need the ability to create their own secret sauce with respect to dashboards, not only with insights they gather from an EMR platform, but also with their private data.
Additionally, the advent of cloud computing has made analyzing large data sets possible. It allows users to instantly scale computing and storage, decreasing latency and downtime for agencies. KanTime is proud to be apart of the Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP), but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
With current staffing challenges compounded by increased demand for in-home care, how can providers become more efficient?
The answer to this question lies in two parts: back-office staffing — and front-end clinical and caregiver staffing. In a recent Home Health Care News interview with Chris Gerard, CEO of Amedisys, there was a lot of talk about back-office automation for success. Gerard specifically mentioned that scheduling automation, intake automation and pre-billing audits are most important for the back office. These are extremely important to avoid scheduler bias.
Intake automation measures the types of patients and diagnoses an agency could accept against its capacity to handle them. Pre-billing audit, on the other hand, creates a clean claim so that agencies receive 100% reimbursement.
All of these automations are instrumental in relieving the workload in the back-office setting, many of which KanTime handles with our new product slated for Q1. This is the scheduling automation as mentioned by Chris Gerard, as well as many other things for intake automation and pre-billing audits.
The second part is the clinician-caregiver setting. Frontline staffing has been a challenge in the home care industry for many years now, and the shortage of skilled labor was exacerbated by COVID-19 along with the lack of new entrants into the industry. In order to overcome these challenges, providers need to do the following: adopt technology solutions that can reduce the burden on nurses, which will ultimately drive retention and increase efficiency.
Providers should also have a good learning management system so that ongoing training for the frontend and back-office staff are automated and remotely accessible. Additionally, providers need to be in a position where the EMR can identify star performers within an organization so leadership can recognize and reward them.
Why are more care providers diversifying their service lines across home health, hospice, personal care and other settings?
Going forward, the name of the game will be longitudinal care. Longitudinal care allows you to provide continuity of care to your patient, meaning that your patient can seamlessly move from one care setting to another. We feel that the industry is headed in this direction. A patient might enter into the home care setting for non-medical care, but over time, they could move into home health and eventually hospice with ease. Longitudinal care will redefine the home-based care space.
Business line diversification is another noteworthy trend to watch because payers are now looking for average health care costs-per-consumer. That means they’ll also be looking for providers that can offer multiple lines of care so they can manage costs more easily. Reimbursement cuts will also happen in different lines of business at different times. For example, currently, hospice is getting a 3.8% increase in reimbursement in 2023, whereas home health will see a decrease in reimbursement. If your lines of business are diversified, the law of averages will work in your favor.
Further, de-risking your revenue streams is extremely important. You can see this trend of diversification happening with large hospitals moving into home health and hospice. Our feeling is that home-based care offers the lowest cost of service in the current health care setting, which is very attractive to providers that are looking to expand. Providers that successfully diversify should be able to retain their payers and provide care when needed.
Why is having a single technology solution to address multiple care settings important for health care providers?
Having a single technology solution adds up to continuity of care. It allows you to address multiple care settings, which is the key to controlling costs and avoiding cumbersome readmissions from one care setting to another. Longitudinal care will play a very important role here as well. If you can view all the clinical services you provided to a particular patient in their previous settings, you can avoid redundancies and previous mistakes in the patient’s care.
The old ideology was “best-of-breed,” meaning a particular product was extremely good in only one line of business, so agencies had to acquire multiple EMRs if they operated multiple lines of business. Now with more agencies diversifying their lines of business, it is in the agency’s best interest to find one EMR that can handle all of them. The consolidated product line will take precedence, and longitudinal care platforms will be a big part of that.
What are some of the challenges that the home-based care industry will face in 2023?
As we all know, the payment cuts in the 2023 proposed rule for home health will create a major challenge unless they improve the efficiencies of the back office, because the frontend staff is going to go wherever they can get the maximum pay. The only place you can improve your productivity or improve your cost is in the back office as of today.
Electronic visit verification (EVV) is going to become mandatory nationwide, and it will be a challenge to bring it across all the lines of business. Staffing challenges will also continue in this caregiver marketplace because there are a lot of alternate career opportunities.
Finish this sentence: “The top strategy that care providers should employ in 2022 to best prepare for 2023 is…?”
Implement a longitudinal care platform that addresses all care settings.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
KanTime streamlines all aspects of your agency from beginning to end. From patient intake to scheduling, billing, and payments, our solutions allow you to do what you do best – deliver quality care to your patients. To learn more visit www.kantime.com.
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