Choosing a Home Health or Hospice Software Vendor

Home Care Software Tips.

Choosing a home health software or hospice software vendor is a big decision. When I started thinking about going through the process of selecting a software vendor it reminded me of dating and marriage. No, your commitment to a vendor isn’t for life, or in my husband’s case eternity, but it’s a big deal never the less.

Perhaps you start out by asking some friends. Do you know anyone special? What are they like? Could you introduce us? Or you try speed dating. In the homecare software world this would be either calling some vendors to ask for some more information or checking out their websites, LinkedIn pages, etc.  Maybe after talking to a few prospective “dates” you decide you’ll line up a few to see if hit it off with any of them.  (This would be the demo stage.)

Following the demos there is one, maybe two, that you felt might be worth a second date. The others you knew weren’t going to be good enough to take home to meet the family (or the rest of your team).  You set up a meeting for your family (team) to meet your friend. Well, what do you think? Are we a good fit? Do you think the relationship will work? Are they everything you’d hoped I’d find? I really want your input!

So, while I can’t help you with the whole dating and marriage scene, I CAN help you with some tips on choosing a homecare software vendor. As you start to enter the “dating scene” there are some suggestions for things to consider. By no means is this the be all, end all list of tips to choosing a homecare software vendor, but they’re a start. Hopefully these will trigger some other things to consider as you begin your journey to find your match.

Consider the question: What’s prompting you to look for new home health or hospice software? This will help you ensure that going into the selection process you know your motivation. It will also ensure that you can relay that to prospective vendors.

Before going into the demo portion of the selection process meet with your team and understand what key things your organization needs.  For example, you may have a report that you’ve identified as key to your business. Does the report need to look exactly the way it does in your current system? What is the business purpose behind it and what do you do with the information?  You never know, you may not need that report in the system because the function that used to be manual is automated now!

Scripts: There are lots of opinions on this topic. I’ll share just a couple of thoughts.

  • If you have a specific scenario that you think is challenging, or impossible, to complete in your existing system OR it’s unique to your agency, ensure you share that with the vendor.
  • Scripts take a lot of effort on both the agency side as well as the vendor side.  Be sure they’re really needed before you create one.  What is your goal of creating one?  Creating scripts for the sake of creating them can end up being more frustrating than rewarding. Have a purpose, if you decide to use them.

Narrow your selections before demo time.

  • Decide the things that are the most important to your organization and narrow your selections accordingly.  10 demos of 10 different products will likely leave participants with a feeling of “which one said X?!” or “who had Y?”
  • If you get done with your first short list and aren’t sure you’ve found “the one”, finalize one from your short list then maybe start a couple of others.

Consider the following questions when going through demos and talking with prospective vendors.

  • Will this software vendor be able to meet my needs two, three or five years from now?
  • Will this software vendor be able to respond quickly to market needs, as well as the needs of your agency
  • Does the purchase of the system require a significant upfront investment? Consider the investment and if your relationship with the vendor changes how will that impact your agency?

Complete your due diligence. If there’s something that’s critical to your business ensure you share that with prospective hospice or home health software vendors. It’s in your best interest to be honest and forthright with your requirements and needs.  Ensure your goals and that of your vendor align.

Software is important… Relationship may be more important.

  • There are key pieces and parts of a system that every agency needs. The journey of how the process is completed may vary from vendor to vendor. That being said, feature functionality aside, does the vendor seem to be an organization that is client focused? Are they willing to listen?  How do they engage with their customers? Do they have User Groups? Focus Groups? Understanding a potential vendor’s relationship with their customers is important.

Do you have some tips to add to the list? Share your thoughts as a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

If you’re in the process of looking for a new home health software vendor and would like to learn more about the options available through HEALTHCAREfirst click here!