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					                                                Windows Mobile
                                                Customer Solution Case Study




                                                Home Care Clinicians Use Synchronized
                                                Mobile Solution to Coordinate Patient Care


Overview                                        “Using our solution with Windows Mobile on an HTC
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Healthcare
                                                device dramatically reduces the cost for our
                                                customers. There‟s a big difference between buying a
Customer Profile
Dallas, Texas–based Homecare Homebase
                                                $2,000 laptop versus a $200 handheld device.”
offers a comprehensive software solution        Tom Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer, Homecare Homebase
for home healthcare and hospice agencies,
providing wireless information exchange         Home care agencies play a vital role in the healthcare industry, with
between the office, field staff, and doctors.
                                                an increasing number of patients receiving treatment at home
Business Situation                              rather than in the hospital. Not only is home care more economical
Homecare Homebase needed a flexible,
robust mobile environment to support its        than hospitalization, but studies have shown that patients recover
home healthcare solution. The firm needed       more quickly when cared for in the comfort of their own homes. One
the ability to transfer large amounts of data
quickly.                                        of the challenges faced by home healthcare agencies is the ability
                                                to exchange patient information between home care providers
Solutio n
Homecare Homebase chose Windows                 (nurses, therapists, and home health aides) and the agency office.
Mobile ® software as the founda tion for its    Dallas, Texas–based Homecare Homebase developed a dynamic
wireless solution, along with Microsoft®
SQL Server ® 2005.                              wireless solution using Windows Mobile® software and devices
                                                manufactured by HTC, a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner. Home
Benefits
 Reduced IT and equipment costs
                                                care agencies using the solution report a reduction in IT and
 Reduced transporta tion costs                 transportation costs, increases in cash flow, and simplified
 Increased cash flow
 Real-time information exchange
                                                information exchange that helps improve patient care.
 Improved coordination of care
                                        Situation                                         technology to create greater work/life
                                        With the cost of hospitalization skyrocketing,    balance for field workers.
                                        home care services have become one of the
                                        fastest-growing segme nts of the healthcare       “The country is experiencing a serious
                                        industry. According to a recent report by the     nursing and therapist crisis right no w,” says
                                        Medicare Payment Advisory Commission,             Tricia Collom, Vice President of Marketing for
                                        roughly 2.5 percent of the population in the      Homecare Homebase. “It‟s difficult to retain
                                        United State s receives some type of formal       these employees. So if an agency can give
                                        home healthcare services each year. In            them tools to make their lives easier and to
                                        2006, nurses, therapists, and home health         make them feel more empowered and like
                                        aides made more than 429 million medical          they‟re doing a better job, that‟s a huge
                                        and nursing visits to patients‟ homes.            benefit and goes a long way to ward improving
                                                                                          employee satisfaction.”
                                        The cost savings of home care services
                                        versus hospitalization can be significant. For    One of the main challenges faced by field
“During development,                    example, the National Association for Home        clinicians is the time-consuming task of
we looked at other                      Care and Hospice (NAHC) reports that the          documenting patient visits and submitting
                                        average hospital cost for a ventilator-           that information to the agency office. Many
mobile technology, but                  dependent adult is U.S.$21, 570 per month,        agencies still rely on manual, paper-based
the amount of data that                 while the cost for home care services is          systems for documentation, which require
                                        roughly $7,050 per month, a savings of            field workers to drive to the office each
we can push back and                    $14,520.                                          morning to pick up their schedules and
forth is tremendously                                                                     patient charts, and return to the office to drop
                                        “Insurance companies and the Centers for          off paperwork after completing their patient
larger with Windows                     Medicare and Medicaid Services would prefer       visits. According to NAHC, nurses, therapists,
Mobile than with other                  that patients recover at home because             and home health aides in the United States
                                        hospitalization is so expensive,” says Tom        drove an estimated 4.8 billion miles in 2006.
environments.”                          Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer of Homecare      With fuel costs on the rise, agencies are
Tom Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer,   Homebase, a software solution provider for        looking for ways to reduce the amount of
Homecare Homebase                       the home health industry. “Reimbursement          miles driven by home healthcare providers.
                                        for a 60-day episode of home care is about
                                        the same as a one-night stay in a hospital.       Even though some agencies have up graded
                                        That‟s why home care is the fastest growing       from paper to portable computers, this
                                        business in healthcare.”                          solution also has its drawbacks. “We found
                                                                                          that the majority of these nurses do their
                                        As demand for in-home healthcare increases,       follow-up documentation in the front seat of
                                        so does the need for skilled field workers. The   their cars or at their homes at night because
                                        U.S. Department of Labor reports that             they don‟t want to put the barrier of a
                                        employment in home care services has              computer between themselves and their
                                        increased 45 percent since 2000, jumping          patients,” says Collom. “If they‟re not taking
                                        from 633, 300 to 913,300 in 2007. Even with       that laptop into the pa tient‟s home, then
                                        this rapid rise in work force, home care          they‟re spending their evenings or weekends
                                        agencies still struggle to hire and retain        doing a lot of paperwork.”
                                        enough nurses, therapists, and home health
                                        aides. Successful agencies tend to place a        Solution
                                        high value on employee satisfaction and use       In 1999, April Anthony, then Chief Executive
                                                                                          Officer (CEO) of one of the largest home
                                        health agencies in Texas and now also            on Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0.
                                        President and CEO of Homecare Homebase,          Developers use the Microsoft Visual Studio ®
                                        began looking for a software solution to help    2005 development system to continually
                                        simplify the arduous process of collecting       augment and update the solution. “Another
                                        patient data and exchanging that information     factor in our decision to choose Windows
                                        between field workers, home health               Mobile was the ability to develop easily in
                                        agencies, and physicians. Anthony knew           that environment, ” Maxwell continues. “All of
                                        exactly what she wanteda handheld tool          our developers have earned Microsoft
                                        that wa s unobtrusive, easy to use, and able     certification, so we‟ve been able to advance
                                        to transmit pa tient information in real time.   the application and add features to meet
                                        She was unable to find an existing solution      changing regulatory requirements and
                                        that me t those requirements, so she decided     industry needs.”
                                        to develop the software in-house.
                                                                                         In addition to Windows Mobile, the solution
                                        After implementing the solution wi thin her      includes Microsoft SQL Server ® 2005
                                        own agency, Anthony realized that this           Compact Edition 3.1 da ta mana gement
                                        application could make life significantly        software running on the user device, and SQL
                                        easier for other home health agencies across     Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft
                                        the country. She launched Homecare               BizTalk ® Server 2006 running on the back-
                                        Homebase in 2001. “Homecare Homeba se            end servers to process and store the data
                                        was born directly from an industry need,”        being transmitted by the Windows Mobile
                                        says Collom, “the need for simplified, real-     devices.
                                        time coordination of care. Our mobile solution
                                        allows field workers to do most of their         Homecare Homebase partnered with mobile
                                        documenta tion during patient visits rather      device manufacturer HTC, a Microsoft Gold
                                        than in the evenings or on weekends.”            Certified Partner and one of BusinessWeek’s
“A nurse who lives 50                                                                    Info Tech 100 top information technology
                                        From the very beginning, Homecare                performers, to design and develop custom
miles away … can                        Homebase has relied on Windows Mobile ®          Windows Mobile devices specifically for use
synchronize patient data                software as the founda tion for its wireless     by home healthcare providers. “We noticed
                                        solution. “During development, we looked at      that the handheld devices on the market
with the touch of a                     other mobile technology, but the amount of       were becoming smaller and smaller,” Maxwell
button and not have to                  data tha t we can push ba ck and forth is        explains. “The screens had shrunk to 2. 8
                                        tremendously larger with Windows Mobile          inches, which becomes challenging for our
drive to the office. Gas                than with o ther environments,” Maxwell says.    users. We formed a really great relationship
mileage and time                        “Also, Microsoft is on the leading edge of       with HTC, so now we can offer the Home care
                                        mobile technology, while companies that          Homebase solution on Windows Mobile
savings were our big                    were major players a few years ago have          devices with 3. 5-inch or 5.5-inch touch
reasons for choosing                    faded away.” Homecare Homeba se currently        screens, extended battery life, Global
                                        offers its solution on Windows Mobile 6.1,       Positioning System technology, and even full-
Windows Mobile.”                        Windows Mobile 6, Windows Mobile 5.0, and        sized stylus pens to help prevent repetitive
Tom Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer,   Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphones,             stress injuries.”
Homecare Homebase                       depending on the equipment needs of its
                                        customers.                                       More than 14, 000 field workers currently use
                                                                                         the Homecare Homebase solution on
                                        The Homecare Homebase solution is a              Windows Mobile devices, including nurses,
                                        Microsoft® ASP.NET–ba sed application built      physical therapists, occupational therapists,
                                              home health aides, medical social workers,         dramatically reduces the cost for our
“Windows Mobile                               Reiki (healing energy) therapists, and             customers, ” Maxwell says. “There‟s a big

devices are much easier                       massage therapists. “We are really making
                                              an effort to support everybody who plays a
                                                                                                 difference between buying a $2, 000 laptop
                                                                                                 versus a $200 handheld device. Equipment
to use than a laptop or                       part in patient care,” Collom says. “Windows       costs can add up quickly. That‟s why we offer

paper-based system, so                        Mobile devices are much easier to use than a
                                              laptop or paper-based system, so training
                                                                                                 a large selection of HTC devices in a wide
                                                                                                 range of prices to meet our customers‟
training takes very little                    takes very little time. New users quickly          needs.”

time. New users quickly                       embrace the new technology as soon as they
                                              see how much more patient information they         Another cost-saving benefit of using Windows
embrace the new                               have at their fingertips and how much more         Mobile devices rather than portable PCs is

technology.”                                  efficiently they can complete their
                                              documenta tion.”
                                                                                                 the amount of I T support required to maintain
                                                                                                 the solution. “One of our customers,
Tricia Collom, Vice President of Marketing,                                                      Residential Home Health, has 350 Homecare
Homecare Homebase                             Field workers using the Homecare Homebase          Homebase users,” Maxwell explains. “If this
                                              solution on a Windows Mobile device can            company used a laptop solution, it would
                                              easily coordinate their daily schedules,           need several servers plus roughly 11 IT
                                              patient information, and billing details. For      employees to do maintenance and
                                              example, a nurse using the Homecare                troubleshooting. But, because Residential
                                              Homebase solution would start the workday          Home Health is using Homecare Homebase,
                                              by tapping the Sync button on the device.          it needs only 2 IT employees.
                                              Within two minute s, all of the data is
                                              synchronized, including patients‟ charts,          “Homecare Homebase is a hosted solution,
                                              medications, and visit notes from other care       known in the industry as „software as a
                                              providers. With this information in hand, the      service,‟ meaning we host the back-end
                                              nurse can drive directly to the patient‟s home     servers for our customers,” Maxwell
                                              rather than go to the office.                      continues. “The daily IT requirements on the
                                                                                                 customer‟s end are minimal. Even if we had
                                              “This real-time synchronization is quick, easy,    to completely reset a device and build it out
                                              and intuitive,” says Maxwell. “Press Sync, and     again, it would take only five minutes, and we
                                              the screen turns green if it‟s done, red if it‟s   would do it remotely so the user would barely
                                              not. It‟s tha t simple.”                           be affected a t all.”

                                              Benefits                                           As fuel prices continue to soar, home health
                                              As demand for home care continues to               agencies are eager to reduce the number of
                                              increase, home healthcare agencies are             miles driven by field workers. “A nurse who
                                              turning to a mobile solution that helps reduce     lives 50 miles away from the office can
                                              IT and transporta tion costs, increase cash        synchronize patient data with the touch of a
                                              flow, and simplify information exchange,           button and no t have to drive to the office,”
                                              while also improving the quality of care           says Maxwell. “Gas mileage and time savings
                                              provided to patients.                              were our big reasons for choosing Windows
                                                                                                 Mobile.”
                                              Reduce s IT and Transpor tation Costs
                                              Hardware cost wa s an important                    Increases Cash Flow
                                              consideration in developing the Homecare           Because clinicians can synchronize data from
                                              Homebase solution. “Using our solution with        the field in real time, the agency office is able
                                              Windows Mobile on an HTC device                    to process claims significantly faster than
                                        with a paper-based system. “After a nurse         scheduling. It was challenging to ge t all the
                                        completes a patient visit and synchronizes        paperwork done on time, which compromises
                                        that da ta back to the office, an automated       patient care. It used to take one employee 40
                                        process kicks in that allows agencies to          hours per week to check for completeness
                                        submit the RAP [Request for Anticipated           and file the visit notes for 350 caregivers, but
                                        Payment] for Medicare reimbursement within        with Homecare Homebase it takes only 4
                                        24 hours of the patient visit, ” Collom says.     hours per week.”
                                        “Agencies don‟t have to wait for the nurse or
                                        therapist to drive into the office and submi t    The simplicity of Windows Mobile makes
                                        the paperwork.                                    training new users on the Homecare
                                                                                          Homebase solution quick and easy. “We
                                        “Most of our customers report a large             currently hire at least 10 nurses or therapists
                                        increase in cash flow because they‟re able to     per week,” says Learman. “Homecare
                                        process billing information so much more          Homebase provides us with a structured
                                        quickly,” Collom says. “They‟re receiving         training program so we‟re able to get new
                                        payment in a few days versus two weeks or         clinicians out in the field within a couple of
                                        more, which has a big impact on the financial     hours. Because the technology is so intuitive
                                        health of the agency. ”                           and easy to use, we can spend our training
                                                                                          time teaching ne w employees about
                                        Simplifies Information Exchange,                  Residential Home Health policies and
                                        Improves Pa tient Care                            protocols. The technology is not a deterrent to
                                        Thanks to the real-time connectivity of the       recruiting at all.
                                        Homecare Homebase solution, users are able
                                        to synchronize data within two minutes,           “Studies have absolutely proven that people
                                        sharing information between the office, other     heal more quickly at home than in the
                                        caregivers, and physicians. Field workers can     hospital, and effective, simplified
                                        provide the best possible care based on the       coordination of care is essential to the well-
“Studies have absolutely                latest information regarding their patients‟      being of those patients. In addition, nurses
proven that people heal                 treatment. In addition, field workers are able    and therapists are using Windows Mobile
                                        to complete their documenta tion during           devices to complete their documenta tion in
more quickly at home                    patient visits rather than in the evenings or     real time, which essentially gives them their
than in the hospital, and               on weekends. “We‟ve been able to document         lives back. Now they have more time to spend
                                        that on average 90 percent o f all Homecare       with their own families. That is extremely
effective, simplified                   Homebase users complete their                     compelling.”
coordination of care is                 documenta tion in the patient‟s home and
                                        have very minimal notes or paperwork to
essential to the well-being             complete after the visit,” Collom says.
of those patients."
                                        Deanna Learman, Director of Clinical Systems
Tom Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer,   at Residential Home Health, can attest to the
Homecare Homebase                       time savings genera ted by using the
                                        Homecare Homebase solution. “Originally, all
                                        of our processes were done on paper,”
                                        Learman explains. “The visit notes and the
                                        orders were on paper, so we had to depend
                                        on the clinicians to come into the office, drop
                                        off the visit notes and orders, and do their
For More Information                                   Windows Mobile
For more information about Microsoft                   Windows Mobile brings the power of the
products and services, call the Microsoft              Windows® operating system to mobile
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                 devices, helping businesses and their mobile
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft                    employees stay connected while on the go.
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-                Windows Mobile runs mobile versions of
2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-               Microsoft programs, including Microsoft
hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone             Office Outlook® Mobile, Internet Explorer®
(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892- 5234 in               Mobile, Pocket MSN®, Windows Media®
the United Sta tes or (905) 568-9641 in                Player Mobile, and Microsoft Office Word
Canada. Outside the 50 United Sta tes and              Mobile, PowerPoint® Mobile, and Excel®
Canada, please contact your local                      Mobile. With Windows Mobile, information
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information            workers get powerful software combined with
using the World Wide Web, go to:                       the familiarity of Windows. Combined with
www.microsoft.com                                      available service plans and connectivity
                                                       options, Windows Mobile–based devices,
For more information about HTC products                available from 42 device makers and 68
and services, call (425) 861-9174 or visit             mobile operators in 48 countries, can be
the Web site at:                                       used to make calls, send e-mail and instant
www.htc.co m                                           messages, sur f the Web, and acce ss critical
                                                       business information even when users are
For more information about Homecare                    away from the office.
Homebase products and services, call
(866) 535- 4242 or visit the Web site at:              More information about Windows Mobile can
www.hchb.com                                           be found at:
                                                       www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile




                                                        Software and Services                             Microsoft Visual Studio
                                                         Windows Mobile 5.0, 6, and 6.1                   − Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
                                                         Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC                  Professional Edition
                                                          Smartphones
                                                         Microsoft Server Product Por tfolio          Technology
                                                          − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compa ct             − Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
                                                            Edition 3.1
                                                          − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard         Hardware
                                                            Edition (64-bit)                              Custo m-built HTC mobile devices
                                                          − Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2
                                                            Standard Edition                           Partner
                                                                                                          HTC


This case study is fo r informational purposes only.
MICROS OFT MA KES NO WAR RANTIES, EXPRES S OR
IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published August 2008

				
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