It’s time to embrace electronic visit verification (EVV) and begin transitioning from Telephony if your home care agency has not yet done so.

Whether your non-medical home care agency provides services for private pay, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, long-term care insurance, or workers comp clients, EVV is the new normal.

What is Telephony?

For those who are unaware, Telephony is a purely numerical way of clocking in and out for a shift. It is done using a touch-tone keypad, and it requires the caregiver to correctly enter accurate numerical codes.

Even a binary 1 or 2 selection is prone to human error by accidentally touching the wrong key. For an agency trying to bill and get paid correctly, accuracy is critical.

For agencies trying to collect task information via Telephony, each task has to be answered individually. That can take minutes. And that’s IF the question is answered correctly the first time, every time. If it’s not, and the wrong key is accidentally pushed, you’re adding more time to the process.

For some caregivers, our records show they can have up to four or five failed attempts at Telephony before the correct EVV is finally recorded. That can become very frustrating for the caregiver.

Telephony Usage Is Declining Rapidly

Let’s be honest. Telephony is antiquated. When it was originally created, it was new and great and powerful. 

Now, Telephony is at the end stage of its lifespan, and its usefulness is all but gone.

Before we started carrying around little computers in our pockets, the only way caregivers could clock in and out digitally was via Telephony. It served a valuable purpose when it was originally created. 

But just like everything else in life, change happens. When cell phones became popular, affordable, reliable, and easily accessible, Telephony usage started slowing down.

Now, most people have access to a smartphone, but very few have access to a landline. Our agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to find landlines at the homes of the clients they serve, making it difficult for caregivers to use Telephony.  Without a landline, Telephony becomes useless.

In addition, the interface for Telephony is antiquated and not as accurate as mobile app EVV. It’s a relic from a time before we had better tools and options available to us.

Here are a few reasons Telephony usage is becoming a problem:

  • It’s becoming more common for clients to have cell phones rather than landlines.
  • Cell phones are not tied to a single location.
  • Many clients have limited minutes or simply don’t want to give someone else access to their phone.
  • Caregivers cannot use their personal cell phones for Telephony. If they did, there is no way the agency could prove the caregiver was on-location at the proper time, and a client could easily dispute services if they wanted to.
  • Landlines in some areas of the country are old and fail for random reasons, so they’re not always reliable.

4 Reasons Agencies are Slow to Change

  1. Not all caregivers have smartphones. While it’s true we live in a world where smartphones are readily available, depending on the income level of your caregivers, they might not be able to afford a smartphone.

    Some states have rolled out robust infrastructure to provide subsidized smartphones to low-income individuals. That can be a huge help for agencies trying to move away from Telephony.

    One thing to assure caregivers with subsidized phones of is that the amount of data used by the Rosemark Caregiver App is so small, that it won’t really eat away from their data plan.

  2. Agency practices that have been in place for decades can also be a problem. People get set in their ways and often get a “Why fix it if it’s not broken” or “But that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality.

    While it can be argued that you don’t need to fix what’s not broken, you also need to expand your horizons and be open to new ideas.

    In addition, agency owners and office staff need to put themselves in the shoes of the caregivers who are out in the field. How would they feel if they had to use antiquated technology to do a task that could be done much more efficiently and in much less time if they just had permission to use and access to a mobile app.

    Keep an open mind and commit to a modern transition and understand the value a modern method of EVV will provide to your agency by improving your day-to-day operations.

  3. Legal issues and labor laws can be a challenge in some states. We know some agency owners are concerned that asking their caregivers to use a personal piece of equipment for work could possibly make them liable for data usage or hardware costs.

    This is a specific issue that each agency will need to address individually.

    For Medicaid services in most states, whether agencies are using a third-party vendor or a state-provided app, those services are provided by the government. Remember that the federal government has mandated EVV adoption across the country, so even if there are some concerns, agencies should have a conversation with a labor attorney in their region to make sure they are adopting technology changes correctly. Then take the advice the legal expert gives you.

    For non-medical home care agencies that bill private pay or the Veterans Administration, it’s still worth a conversation with a labor attorney for the simple fact that mobile app EVV is much more valuable to your bottom line than Telephony.

  4. Learning new technology if you’re not a tech-savvy person can also make some people slow to adopt new EVV best practices.

    Some agencies have been using Telephony for years, so that means you’re using some kind of software to generate your data. You might not think you’re capable of learning something new, but I promise, you are.

    While we understand the fear of changing, rest assured that your fears are unwarranted. If you have a good relationship with a software vendor that provides true customer care, let them help you learn and train on the app.

    The worst-case scenario is that it will take you time to learn something new. Be up for the challenge, and tackle this task with the help of your software partner. You’ll be so glad you did – and so will your caregivers! 

3 Benefits of Transitioning from Telephony to EVV

We’ve talked about why Telephony is no longer the best solution for EVV. Now let’s focus on why transitioning from Telephony to EVV with the Rosemark Caregiver App is a good idea for your home care agency.

  1. Rosemark customers that have moved from Telepony to the Rosemark Caregiver App have seen failed EVV events drop by almost 100% since we rolled out the app.
  2. Our new app rolled out in October of 2023. While EVV through our app was already better than Telephony, it’s even better now!
  3. Office staff don’t have to take calls from caregivers as frequently with questions or concerns when EVV is captured via the app rather than through Telephony. 

If your home care agency is still using Telephony and your caregivers are struggling with clock ins and outs, your EVV data is frequently inaccurate, and your billing is adversely affected by these events, now is the time to move on.

Reach out to the team at Rosemark today and request a demo on how your agency can start transitioning from Telephony. Your caregivers will be happier. Your office staff will be happier, and your day-to-day workflows and operations will improve tremendously.