In-home healthcare company streamlines business while keeping security top priority

"COVID-19 has affected us a great deal, but we've actually taken this moment to spin it into an acceleration of our technology."


John Fraser, CIO

Adapting to new work environments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult, especially if your company is considered an essential medical service. Add to that the importance protecting highly sensitive HIPAA and employee data, and things become even more complicated. Fortunately, Recover Health was prepared and ready to transform their entire 1,500 person company to operate fully remotely in just a month, thanks to strategic planning, lots of hard work, and leveraging new technology. From implementing new changes, enacting strict data security protocols, and adding Zoho to help with some heavy lifting, the company has become more efficient and secure—so much so that they plan to keep the new processes, developed during COVID, long term.

The Company

Recover Health is a medicare-certified home health agency providing a full range of home care services including skilled nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapy. They also provide pediatric, private pay, and independent living services. They've been around for over 10 years and since then, have grown to their current standing of 4,000 active clients with 31 locations across six states. John Fraser, CIO of Recover Health, has been with the company just shy of two years and has been an instrumental part in shaping their digital transformation efforts. As CIO, Fraser has helped develop strategies to boost Recover Health's technology and set them apart from competition. Through research, planning, and even dabbling in different solutions, Fraser has been able to find the right technology to help Recover Health serve their clients more efficiently and effectively, all while keeping the security of their system and privacy of client data top of mind.

The Challenge

Prior to Zoho, Recover Health relied on their people alone. "Our business process was on the backs of a few wonderful people. The knowledge was built into the person and wasn't always documented, which meant new people really had to know the right stuff and ask the right questions," Fraser said. Because of this process, onboarding and training new talent became tedious and confusing if certain employees weren't available to answer specific questions. Additionally, Recover Health wasn't using quite the right system for their processes. Though they considered using an industry-specific CRM platform, "It did not work well for us," said Fraser. Instead, they struggled using Microsoft Outlook as a CRM for their company, knowing all along that they would soon need a more robust and secure technology platform.

Recover Health continued to face new challenges as inevitable turnover meant they had to constantly train new talent on how to generate reports and oversee the business. "Asking 31 branches to run 30 reports and then manually fill in the data in dozens of ways [makes it so that] by the end of the day you have 70-100 different views. As a leader in one of our branches, it takes a long time to learn that," said Fraser. The same problems followed in sales. "Without a CRM...rather than having all that information logged, if somebody left the org or was just sick for the day, we had no idea what they were doing, who they were working with, and no idea if the incoming referrals were matching the work they were doing," said Fraser.

Besides having a difficult time training new talent, Recover Health also lacked visibility into important metrics and activities, causing them to operate on what Fraser called "gut feeling." And in Recover Health's line of work, with security and privacy of the utmost importance when dealing with client data, gut feeling just wasn't enough. Without a sophisticated system, the team was spending more time guessing how employees were performing rather than truly knowing how much work was being accomplished in a day, all the while security had to remain the top priority.

Introducing Zoho

Fraser began searching for a solution to help Recover Health innovate for the future and improve process efficiently and kept seeing Zoho. "I felt like I was getting the same features and functionality that other systems had in a higher market share. We were getting the same functionality for literally four times less than Salesforce. For mobile device management, we were getting the same functionality that we'd have to pay eight times more for with AirWatch," said Fraser. For Recover Health, the big factors were ROI, feature price comparison, and integration capability. With Zoho checking off every item of that list, Recover Health started using Zoho CRM followed by Zoho Analytics, and quickly grew into using more and more from there.

Given Fraser's background, the process of getting started with Zoho was fairly simple. "We didn't have a ton of questions because the software was intuitive enough where my team and I were able to dive in and do all the configurations. That's true for CRM, Analytics, and for all the products," Fraser said. First, they introduced Zoho CRM to replace their former practice of using Outlook as a CRM. Recover Health now feels that they're able to leverage their technology to attract top talent. "I was traditionally a Salesforce user, and every single requirement we needed was going to be $75 a month per license with Salesforce. We ultimately got more functionality for a much better price with Zoho CRM," said Fraser.

Implementing Zoho Analytics proved to be a big game changer for Recover Health. "Before Zoho Analytics we didn't have any analytics or data platform, but [we] had been using a longstanding operational platform for about 10 years so we had all this wonderful beautiful data in a back-end data base that people were running and generating reports off of, but we weren't necessarily able to look at that data within a few seconds to tell us whether or not the business was on the right track or wrong track. And now with Zoho Analytics, we're able to look at a dashboard and within a few seconds we know where we're excelling and where we need to work a little bit more," said Fraser.

Benefits and ROI

Recover Health now uses Zoho CRM, Analytics, Recruit, and SalesIQ, as well as ServiceDesk Plus and Mobile Device Manager Plus from Zoho's IT division, ManageEngine. "Using Zoho not only created efficiencies for our employees, but also improved our communications and connections to clients and referral sources," said Fraser.

Zoho Analytics also helped to significantly transform their business in providing more insight. "Really that built-in integration between Zoho CRM and Zoho Analytics was a huge differentiator in terms of real-time and dashboard data. Everybody at the company, including those that didn't have a Zoho license, can now see how our sales staff is doing," said Fraser. By implementing technology with built-in automation, the team was able to generate reports quicker and in higher volumes. "With the help of Zoho's products we're now able to hand new talent a process that 30 people in the company can replicate, or 60 people, or 600 people. We're running the reports automatically for them. Now, employees have all this extra time and capacity to actually work on what those reports are presenting, rather than spend all this time just trying to run and interpret them," said Fraser.

Recover Health can now put those extra hours into helping their clients. "Productivity has increased and there's actual, tangible results in our margin so that we can serve more clients," said Fraser. They're also completing work more efficiently. "When we first started using the ServiceDesk Plus ticketing system [from ManageEngine ], our average response time on tickets was four and a half hours. Right now, we're under two hours and we’ve maintained that for a period of six months, despite having an increase of four times in the number of service tickets that we handle," said Fraser. With the help of Zoho, Recover Health was able to reduce outstanding contractor time cards from 3,300 to 330 in only eight weeks. They continued to cut down their times by reducing un-reviewed appointments for nurses in the field from 2,347 to 520 in 12 weeks.

Simultaneously, they were able to ensure fool-proof security and privacy measures were being taken to protect their client and the company data. "If we're going to load in HIPAA and employee data into Zoho, it's important that that data is safe and a big component of that is being able to disable a user in Active Directory and know that that's immediately going to stop their access to different apps like Zoho CRM, Zoho Analytics, and Zoho Recruit," said Fraser. A secure login system was also critical. “We love the fact that everything is single sign-on. When we add a new employee into our Active Directory, they automatically synchronize in as a requester in ServiceDeskPlus, our ticketing system," said Fraser. Recover Health is now seeing major changes both from their new strategies and from finding technology that could be easily customized and expanded upon to fit their unique needs.

Healthcare during COVID-19

Shifting any business to remote work with little notice is a challenge to say the least, but Recover Health had to act fast and prepare strategically to care not only for their existing clients, but also for incoming COVID cases requesting in-home healthcare. While all this brought its own challenges, these quick changes resulted in their business doing better than ever. "We're considered an essential healthcare organization so COVID-19 has affected us a great deal, but we've actually taken this moment to spin it into an acceleration of our technology. We're leveraging Zoho and ManageEngine products at a faster rate as a result of COVID because we are forced to use process more, and those tools are helping to keep our staff productive and, most importantly, safe," said Fraser.

When transitioning to remote work, keeping strong security measures in tact was of the upmost importance. Being able to set permissions for individual users ensured that employees were only seeing what they needed to do their job. “In Zoho CRM, we have a lot of intellectual property as it relates to referral sources, contacts, and people’s addresses and by having that tightly integrated with our Active Directory, we're able to grant and withdraw access quickly, set up permissions for reports, workflow for approvals, and more," Fraser said. Besides using the right technology, Fraser and his team had to plan how they would set up their 300-person staff, who were used to working in an office, to work from home. "The only way we made this work was by having the practices and technology in place so that people could work collaboratively while being hundreds of miles away," said Fraser.

Analytics was also a huge help to Recover Health in adjusting to remote work. "Zoho Analytics enabled us to manage the business from afar so we didn't need to necessarily see how everybody was doing, because we had a dashboard that allowed us to see where we needed to put our time and energy," said Fraser. Remote work forced them to become more data-driven, which helped increase productivity and consistency. "Going remote has accelerated technology growth by at least a year. Currently we're evaluating mergers and acquisitions, growing substantially, and cash rich," said Fraser. Through the surge in need for home healthcare with COVID and leveraging technology to improve their processes, Recover Health is now doing very well and planning large-scale growth.

Looking forward

Recover Health has been able to adapt and thrive in a time of crisis, showing that the limits are truly endless with smart planning and the right technology. "What I love about my job is what I love about the company. Their mission and values...we see it every day. Whether it's our pediatrics business where we serve children in their homes, whether it's the aging population with our skilled services, whether it's those in assisted living or private paid services that we have—the fact is they do an amazing job at making sure every employee knows that their job is to serve our clients, build meaningful relationships, and keep people as healthy and independent as possible," said Fraser.

Enabling the right technologies for their needs means they're growing faster than ever, which means Recover Health can serve more people in need while ensuring their system stays secure and their clients' data stays private. Recover Health has been able to accelerate quickly in uncertain times and can be a beacon of hope for businesses everywhere of what can be achieved when you're open to change, take security seriously, and are ready to enable digital transformation for years to come.