Over the past three summers I have interned at a small home care company based out of North Andover, MA. In my time there I have held various roles which all involve some type of technological aptitude. When I started, we used a database and scheduling system that one of our Software Developer’s had made. It worked, but was not efficient and couldn’t do things such as export reports to excel, communicate with other companies website, and often glitched out. Following the conclusion of my second summer with Associated Home Care (AHC), they were bought out by a publicly owned company, a front runner in home health care throughout the United States, Amedisys. Following this merge, AHC began to transition from small to big business. With new members of management, AHC began to monopolize home health care in MA as they have bought smaller home care companies throughout the state. As we took on more clients, employees, and offices, we understood that it was pivotal to invest in the advancement of our technology. We have made a number of developments in our own systems which have made our employees much more efficient. We updated our servers so that we can use the internet at higher speeds. AHC has also placed an emphasis on integrating new systems into our business model–the biggest one being CellTrak. As I do not have access to revenue data from offices in MA ¬†at the time being (I’m working on receiving data), it may be difficult to quantify the impact of the of these new systems and techniques that AHC has implemented. However, the qualitative results can be discussed. I would like to discuss the societal impacts of these changes on three levels: office employee, field employee, and client. In addition, I would like to specifically talk about how science plays a leading role in the implementation of CellTrak.

CellTrak is an app that was made for the convenience of our field employees, which in turn, makes the office employees lives much easier as well. I will supply a little bit of background on why AHC made the switch to digitizing hours. Prior to CellTrak, our field employees (Home Health Aide, Personal Companions, Registered Nurses, etc.) were all required to submit their weekly hours on a “time sheet”– for all intensive purposes a piece of paper. This gave field employees the opportunity, not to say that everyone did this, but the opportunity was there to be dishonest and add hours to their shifts. With CellTrak, employees clock in and out from their phone and are tracked with a GPS locator so that it leaves them with no room to lie. Initially, employees were given the option of using CellTrak or continuing with the time sheets. It was evident that dishonest or lazy employees did not want to start using CellTrak because their weekly hours would decrease and ultimately their paycheck would decrease. Not only is CellTrak easier to use than the time sheets, but it is quicker and more reliable. It allows our clients to be billed for the amount of time they were truly seen and it shows management and the office employees which aides and nurses are truly fulfilling their duties as health service employees which is important.

Sustainability and employee retention is something that AHC has struggled with given the nature of the company. Aides often spend a year to 6 months with the company and then move on to a new position or are terminated due to a lack of hours worked/missing shifts. Something that was pushed through by management to mitigate this cycled nature was the gifting on work-specific tablets. These tablets have systems and applications downloaded onto them that make the aide’s job much easier. There are certain in-services that aides have to complete quarterly– this was often a hassle for them as they did not want to travel all the way to the office just to sit through a 30 minute presentation. Now, with these tablets, aides can complete these in-services through a portal called “Amedisys Academy”. ¬†Additionally, CellTrak can be accessed through these tablets at any location as they are given a data plan. Management just passed this tablet distribution idea in July so as of right now it is difficult to quantify the return that they are getting. We have seen that aides are now more willing to pick up shifts and less aides are being suspended or terminated for not being able to complete the necessary in-services.