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From patient to CEO: learnings from a home health success story

It’s always a good rule of thumb to empathize with your clients, but for Rick Collett, the CEO of the franchise branch of BrightStar Care in Chattanooga, Tennessee, empathy has been the major driving force behind his home care agency’s success.

From Patient to CEO

As a senior in college, Collett was involved in a car accident that left him with a shattered femur and third degree burns on both of his feet. He required fifteen surgeries, spent two months in a wheelchair, and received daily visits from caregivers from a local home health care agency. Although Collett was a home health care patient for just two weeks, the experience was enough to change the course of his life. The accident inspired him to get his Master’s in Healthcare Administration, and he went on to become a manager at the same agency that cared for him after his accident. Twenty years later, Collett decided to open his own business, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Focus on Quality and Patient Satisfaction

Collett believes that his previous experience as a home care patient gives BrightStar a unique competitive advantage. In a September interview with Entrepreneur, Collett said, “We let people know that the nurses we hire are ones we would let take care of me or my mom. It’s a different way of thinking, because it rules some people out quickly who might be OK as caregivers. Having been a patient, I’ve had very compassionate caregivers and some who are not. We don’t tolerate the non-compassionate ones.”

Regardless of whether you’ve had a Rick Collett-style firsthand experience as a home health patient, your agency undoubtedly has a strong interest in delivering quality care. Communicating to your patients that their satisfaction is a high priority can go a long way in establishing trust. Here are three tips for getting a glimpse into your patients’ perspectives:

  1. Consider Collett’s standard of care in your hiring practices: Would you want your caregivers taking care of you or someone close to you? Though it might be difficult if you’ve never been in a position comparable to Collett’s, try to imagine the qualities you’d look for in a caregiver. Visualize yourself at your most vulnerable and then visualize the person you’d want caring for you.
  2. When in doubt, go to the source: Don’t be afraid to ask your clients directly for feedback. Instituting quality assurance measures demonstrates your agency’s commitment to high quality care. For example, take a look at Accessible Home Health Care, a company headquartered in Florida, but with franchises all over the company and internationally. Despite the large size of this company, they offer a interactive quality assurance program—and it’s administered under the direct supervision of the company CEO. The program surveys patients, physicians, and family members to get a wide perspective on the quality of care. Accessible Home Health Care staff members are evaluated weekly for the first three months of their position and then monthly for the remainder of their employment.
  3. Organize your performance review system: Keeping track of employee performance reviews can be tedious, but there are home health software options to make this important process easier. Check out “HealthcareSource Performance Manager,” which is designed to not only organize, but motivate. According to the product’s website, this software simplifies the healthcare performance management process by automating the workflow and content for performance appraisals, training, and performance reporting. To help simplify your agency’s performance reviews and assure your clients are receiving optimal care, consider how software options aimed at the home health business owner can help.

Though we can’t all claim the level of intimacy with our clients’ experience that Rick Collett can, the quality of care you’re offering them can still benefit from his example. What are some strategies your agency has used to put yourself in your patients’ shoes?

female nurse helping elderly man get out of bed

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