Embracing Technology and Transforming Homecare | Mevlude Markashi

The healthcare landscape is evolving rapidly, catalyzed by unprecedented challenges and opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic not only shook the foundations of healthcare delivery but also accelerated the shift towards technological integration—highlighting the critical need for agility and resilience in the face of crisis. Mevlude “Mev” Markashi RN, CHFP, CSBI, whose career path exemplifies the essence of flexibility and foresight in healthcare, is at the vanguard of this transformation.

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Mevlude Markasjh Markashi Home Health Consulting LLC

The term “Great Resignation” came to characterize the psyche of today’s workforce. Even in the healthcare industry, workers started to rethink their careers, often out of self-preservation or exhaustion. Amidst these turbulent times, the role of technology in healthcare has come to the forefront, yet it faces resistance from a sector traditionally rooted in human interaction.

Still reeling from the pandemic’s effects, organizations are grappling with the demand to create environments that embrace innovation while recognizing their staff’s well-being and satisfaction. New difficulties have emerged due to these paradigm shifts, such as bridging the gap between generations when it comes to redefining leadership and advancement in healthcare.

Mevlude “Mev” Markashi RN, CHFP, CSBI, whose professional path is a model of healthcare innovation and adaptability, embraces this pivotal moment. Mev’s journey, which began in the corridors of an emergency room, has led her through diverse experiences—from the intense environment of medical oncology to the unique challenges of a detention center. Each chapter in her career has contributed to a multifaceted understanding of her industry.

Her journey through various healthcare roles and her acute awareness of the sector’s evolving needs culminated in establishing her own home healthcare consulting firm—Markashi Home Health Consulting.

She brings with her not just clinical expertise but a keen understanding of the business aspects of healthcare. Her firm represents a synthesis of clinical knowledge and business acumen, addressing the pressing needs of the industry—technological integration, staff development, effective management, and regulatory compliance, all underpinned by a strong emphasis on workplace culture and employee well-being.

Her firm addresses the pressing issues in home healthcare, embodying a vision for a more era-responsive and people-centric system. Mev’s story is one of embracing change and pioneering a path that others in the healthcare field might find illuminating and inspiring.

For Mev, her journey into the realm of healthcare was as serendipitous as it was transformative.

“I never had any thoughts of becoming a nurse,” Mev recalls. Her initial foray into the healthcare world was through a medical assistant program at school, chosen not for its intense academic rigor but for the raw, real-life experiences it promised. “It wasn’t the academia that hooked me,” she explains, “but the externship in the ER.”

Amidst the chaos and urgency of the emergency room, Mev found an unexpected home. “The more intense the environment, the more focused I become,” she says, painting a picture of a young woman discovering her true calling in the eye of a storm. At 19, she witnessed the seamless ballet of clinical staff in the ER—the controlled urgency, the swift decisions, the life-changing outcomes. “They operated smoothly, grabbing IV bags, assessing patients, and I saw that control,” she says.

These were “wow moments,” as she puts it, moments that ignited a passion for nursing, a field that felt like an extension of her giving personality.

“I have always been instinctively drawn to helping others, often prioritizing their needs above my own—a trait I find resonates strongly with the nursing ethos.”

She eventually received an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing from the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY) in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Psychology at Lehman College, CUNY, in 1999.

However, Mev’s nursing journey was not without its challenges. In 1996, amidst a nursing freeze, she found herself navigating the unfamiliar and daunting work environment of a detention facility.

“Opportunities were scarce—you either found a position in a nursing home or grappled with the demand for experience. Many of my freshly graduated peers faced the grim reality of joblessness. But I knew then that I didn’t want to work in a nursing home. Working with the elderly population, in that type of environment would have pulled on my heartstrings.”

On the other hand, before showing up for her first day, Mev assumed that she would find violent criminals in the detention center. Her nursing journey was partly shaped by the allure of a flexible work schedule, contrasting starkly with the rigid structure of her job at a detention facility. However, the experience turned out to be eye-opening.

Working with a young inmate population, she encountered the harsh realities of life—the stories behind the headlines, the faces of youth forced into maturity. It was here, in this unlikely setting, that Mev’s empathy and understanding of the human condition deepened.

“We watch the news, and you know it’s real, but it really became real to me when I worked at the detention facility. That’s when I realized this really does happen. They were also such a young population, ranging from 12 to 16 years old, and they were forced to grow up pretty quickly.”

The experience was devastating but revelatory.

“You start to see that you don’t know what’s happening in people’s homes or what people do to survive. Put a 15-year-old in an environment they have no control over. If their parents are opening the door to drugs in and out, you can’t expect a better outcome for the child. Sometimes, these kids are victims themselves.”

Many kids would come to her under the guise of a headache just to speak with her. “I realized that they didn’t want medication; they just wanted someone to listen to them,” she says. They yearned for someone to acknowledge their existence and stories.

As Mev continued her journey, she delved into medical oncology, a field as demanding as it was necessary. “It was 12 patients to one nurse, and if you were lucky, you’d have two nurses’ aides that night with you,” she recounts. Mev found many of the same aspects of nursing practice in each setting, despite their differences, including the workplace dynamics between nurses and supervisors.

She eventually went into home healthcare. While juggling the demands of her job, Mev’s curiosity and desire for growth persisted. She overheard her directors discussing costs and reimbursement, her entrepreneurial spirit awakening to the business side of healthcare.

“I wasn’t a numbers person, but I also understood that you can’t look at something in pieces. I like to know the whole picture, so it made sense to me to start learning the business.”

This thirst for knowledge and understanding led to a promotion to director, a role that brought new insights but a longing for patient interaction. “I noticed very quickly I was missing working with patients,” she says. Nonetheless, she still found this new role exciting, frequently asking the upper management team questions so she could further her business acumen.

“I started learning more about what was working and what was not. Everything is always multifaceted to me. When you make one decision in healthcare, it’s connected to another step. So that’s what intrigued me in the business end because I already knew what to do clinically. It was a revelation—understanding how my clinical assessments impacted not just patient outcomes but also the end profit results or the regulation reimbursement based on number of visits. You have to understand the whole picture of healthcare.”

The advent of COVID-19 marked a pivotal moment in healthcare, particularly in home care. Mev observed firsthand the critical interplay between technology and employee retention. “A lot of healthcare professionals quit,” she notes, emphasizing the fear and pressure of the pandemic. This crisis underscored the urgent need for technological adaptation—from the basics of consent forms to the complexities of remote communication and operations.

“We couldn’t go into the offices, but communication had to be established, and it needed to be established quickly. We have certain requirements, whether in services, or onboarding requirements, or the application process; this used to be all on paper. For example, we have to get consent forms before we do anything with patients. Well, what if the patient is 85 years old? What if they don’t know how to use the computer or sign the consent form? Now that becomes a liability.”

In June 2021, amidst the global upheaval caused by the pandemic, Mev took a decisive step, founding Markashi Home Health Consulting LLC. This venture was not just a business move but a culmination of years of experience, observation, and a deep understanding of the gaps in the healthcare system.

Markashi Home Health Consulting was born out of Mev’s desire to not just observe or partake in the healthcare industry but to actively shape and improve it. Her firm offers comprehensive services to enhance home care outcomes and financial performance. These services span clinical operations management, process improvement, regulatory compliance, staff development, and transformational leadership. Mev’s holistic approach integrates her vast clinical knowledge with her keen business acumen to personalize implementable solutions.

As her website states, “She does not reinvent the wheel but will use your current resources and build on them to ensure outcomes are stronger and better.”

Mev’s decision to launch her company came amidst a tumultuous backdrop. Though it was daunting, she saw the situation through a different lens. “I’ve learned enough to know nothing is ever secure,” she muses, reflecting on her leap into entrepreneurship from private employment.

Mevlude Markasjh Markashi Home Health Consulting LLC

“When you work for an employer from 9-to-5, somehow, in your mind, you’ve convinced yourself you’re in a stable position. You’re really not. That’s the funny part. Layoffs happen all the time. Departments get closed because of consolidations. It’s not secure, and the moment just came. It was something I had thought about for a few years. With COVID and everything going on, I thought, this is not where I want to be. The status quo is not working for me. When you’re an employee somewhere, you tend to be limited. I knew I could do better. And I knew I could offer better.”

Mevlude Markasjh MarkashiHome-Health Consulting LLC

Once she dove into her consulting work, she studied up on why home healthcare businesses were failing. Mev observed a persistent reluctance in the healthcare industry to embrace new forms of automation. Companies are reluctant to spend money, she explains, stressing the need for a broader understanding of efficiency and productivity. A central focus of her consulting work is bridging the technology gap in home healthcare. She champions using AI and other innovations in the greater healthcare industry, advocating for proactive approaches.

“So many companies were trying to figure out how to keep their business going. Some got creative quickly—they got doctors onsite to assist with health assessment requirements or immediately signed up for some type of software to start reaching out to their caregivers to assist with their recruiting process. Some did not, and they paid the price for that in business losses.”

Management also frequently failed to communicate with their nurses and other caretakers when their staff sought reassurance. “They didn’t engage with the caregivers to let them know they were here or to make something easier for them or to provide online support.”

These communication and technological adaptation failures have persisted even after the pandemic has died down, spilling over in a sense. “Things were already just brewing,” she says.

Challenges remain, particularly in bridging the generational divide. Mev notes the resistance among her peers to embrace software advances, in contrast to the younger generation’s insistence on digital competence. This aversion to change, she argues, is a significant hurdle for home healthcare businesses.

“I see some companies think it’s too costly. That’s what I do: quantify their operation. You either pay now or you pay later—penny-wise and pound-foolish. So, I think they do not fully understand how efficiencies can truly be productive to their revenue and internal processes. Everyone should be open to new technologies, but you need the expertise to distinguish between what is valuable and what is not.”

Some innovative applications of technology, such as AI in healthcare, include using predictive models to prevent issues before they occur. “Being proactive ahead of time,” she explains.

“It’s the expertise that is not in there, and again, where do you invest first? You have reimbursement rates decreasing, you have wage rates rising, and then you have technology coming into play as an investment.”

She notes that resistance from the established healthcare workforce to the preferences of the new generation of professionals is a significant barrier to business growth.

“The healthcare profession is deeply rooted in human interaction, and there’s a natural resistance to a shift towards a more technology-focused approach. However, the younger generation of nurses increasingly seek workplaces that embrace technology. For them, efficiency and the ability to leverage digital tools are non-negotiable.”

Nurses from her generation avoided working for businesses that used computers, but attitudes have changed.

“I’ve seen it when I assist clients with recruitment. Recruitment strategies need to reflect these shifts. Potential hires are now inquiring about the technological capabilities of their employers, and their decisions often hinge on this factor. It’s about efficiency and the potential to be more productive.”

She believes embracing a mindset of progress can also help re-attract clinicians who left the field during the pandemic. Those who have been disenfranchised may be keener to return if they are allowed a place in the boardroom.

“There’s a significant opportunity to win back talented clinicians who have become disillusioned. By allowing nurses a voice in decision-making processes and integrating their insights at the executive level, businesses can greatly enhance their operations and patient care. Executives are always looking at dollars, cents, spreadsheets. Your clinicians can assist. A good savvy leader using the expertise of a nurse, who is focused on what your clients want and how things can be better for patients, would improve your business.”

Software training used to be provided by nurses, but these days, it is typically provided by IT professionals.

“I’ve been there, and it is not effective. To place non-clinicians in these positions, they tended to start the call with, ‘We are very familiar with New York regulations.’ That’s their first insecurity because they know that question will come at them, and they will have to consider how the software impacts the workflow, which can end up not supporting regulatory compliance.”

Mev laments that many businesses in the healthcare sector are still operating in a mode of survival in the wake of the pandemic despite the changing market conditions.

“Here we are, right? Let’s not keep working like we’re trying to survive. And I do feel people are slowly starting to see they have to pivot now. ‘OK, we’ve got all the pieces, we made it through. What are we doing wrong? It’s like the dust is finally clearing. What if you have invested in your technology and gotten all your platforms together; however, your recruitment has stayed the same? You cannot bring your nurses back, so what are you missing? It’s time to shift from a survival mindset to one of growth and adaptation. We need to reassess our strategies. It’s about recognizing the new landscape we’re in and adapting accordingly.”

Workers previously sought security and stable compensation. The new generation values a nurturing workplace culture—a critical aspect that has been overshadowed in recent years.

“That workplace culture got lost these past few years. The focus on profit over people is a detrimental approach in our industry. Treating staff as mere numbers leads to a cascade of negative outcomes, both for the employees and for the business. Cultivating a positive, people-centric workplace culture is essential.”

While the influx of new healthcare software is needed and welcomed, there should also be an awareness of its limitations. The key is finding a balance between reaping the benefits of automation while preserving the workforce’s morale and the human element of healthcare.

“You can’t just deploy an app to someone and think you can never speak to them. You still have to cultivate your relationships with your staff and your patients. That’s the part that’s broken. You have to be customer-driven because it’s very competitive. Nowadays, you have a homecare agency on every other block. How are you differentiating yourself?”

According to Mev, the pandemic was a wake-up call for the industry, highlighting the need for flexible, open-minded, and forward-thinking approaches.

“We’ve learned hard lessons about adaptability, about the critical importance of being nimble and responsive to change. And most importantly, about the value of our people—the caregivers, nurses, and staff who are the heartbeat of healthcare.”

As Mev reflects on the current state of the healthcare industry, she sees it as a pivotal moment.

“We are in the midst of a transformation. That is the state we’re in. We need better leadership. What we do now is going to impact generations to come. It really will, and the big problem is that we need full leadership to consider all variables that come into play—the people, the relationships, the culture, the technology, the retainment, the outcome, the healthcare reform, and the regulations. We can navigate this with strong teams and proper collaboration.”

Looking ahead, Mev is confident that technology will continue to play an increasingly vital role in healthcare. “Technology is not just a passing trend; it’s not going anywhere. It’s a fundamental shift we must embrace and integrate effectively.”

For those aspiring to start their own business, Mev offers some sage advice.

“Your plan—you will never get it perfect. If you feel like you have good contacts, you need to understand that you will still have to network. There is no such thing anymore as 9-to-5. That saying, ‘When someone says jump, you say how high.’  I never asked how high. I was already up at the initial contact. If they needed something, they called me. I made sure to get it done.”

Another crucial piece of advice she offers is to be smart about allocating your time.

“It’s easier to say yes to everything and every client that calls you because you don’t know when that next clientele will come around. But you know what? Know your target audience and find the people who share your values.”

Her final words of wisdom encapsulate the entrepreneurial spirit. “Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t be afraid if your heart is really in it. Don’t sell yourself short either.”

Mevlude Markasjh Markashi Home-Health Consulting LLC