by Amy Shellhart
Last week, in part I, Change Healthcare's Amy Shellhart explored how technology companies are tackling the challenges of the home health organization of the future. In part II, Ms. Shellhart assesses a 2016 article by Landers et al, titled, "The Future of Home Health Care: A Strategic Framework for Optimizing Value."
Key #3: High Quality Patient Care
Above all else, home health organizations must ensure they can consistently deliver high quality care for their patients. Landers et al (2016) outlined several reasons why high-quality patient care matters more today than ever before. The researchers noted that professionals must provide care to an aging population who have limited incomes, and patients often have “multiple chronic conditions and ADL limitations” (p. 273). Home health care firms must be flexible and highly adaptive to the changes in the patient population (Landers et al., 2016).
Home health providers must consistently minimize costs of care while maximizing the quality of care. Home health organizations must focus on the acute and chronic medical conditions, but also on patient safety as it relates to medication safety, fall risk, and disaster preparedness. Organizations that provide efficient and effective care will create a competitive advantage that payers will notice. Payers will pick organizations that can demonstrate consistency in care “that allows patients to get and remain home safely” (p. 273).
Technologists design and develop systems with the functionality to assist you in documenting emergency preparedness information specific to individual patients. There are solutions that provide scrubbing analytics and managerial oversight to help ensure data is captured accurately. Analytics platforms can predict readmission/emergent care scenarios. Accurate data provides insight into a patient’s admission risk factors that can help inform the development of a care plan facilitate the best potential outcomes. Technology platforms for business and clinical intelligence are making it easier than ever for home health organizations to demonstrate to their value to referral partners.
Key #4: Technology-Enabled
Technology-enabled refers to using technological platforms to gain new efficiencies that are not possible with traditional health care processes. The challenge with becoming technology-enabled is that it is a double-edged sword. Technology can improve health care coordination, improve quality of care, and make health care professionals more efficient, but Medicare does not typically reimburse for such technology (Landers et al., 2016).
If we know that technology can provide unique benefits that can create competitive advantage, then that same technology must deliver high value to make the investments worthwhile.
Recent industry analyses indicated that home health technology use is increasing. Analysts expect the number of consumers engaging in some form of home health technology to increase from 14.3 million worldwide in 2014 to approximately 78.5 million by 2020 (Tractica, 2015). Technology product categories include medical monitoring and management, remote consultations, eldercare, and health and wellness.
Deloitte analysts found that caregiver scenarios were most popular for consumers for remote patient monitoring (Korenda, Cruse, & Reh, 2016). Korenda et al. (2016) found that 40% of respondents said they likely would approve of sensor use for two caregiver scenarios: (1) location tracking; and (2) fall detection. One primary takeaway from these industry analysts is that companies implementing home care technologies must safeguard patient and caregiver information.
Remote monitoring has struggled to take a significant foothold in home health care. The reason for this struggle is the lack of financial incentives. If remote monitoring and other technological solutions in home health care are to become more ubiquitous, home health companies need to see a greater return in value from their technology investments. If Medicare will not reimburse for these efficiencies, then technologists must deliver technical solutions that make home health care processes more efficient while simultaneously lowering the barriers of entry for implementing such solutions.
Home health care agencies should focus on adopting technologies that exceed expectations. The goal of any such technology implementation should increase efficiencies, improve effectiveness, secure patient and provider data, and integrate with existing business processes. A goal should be to locate tools that are easy for clinicians to use while enabling better patient care. Time spent analyzing reports is inefficient and wastes resources. Technology tools should empower clerical staff and management to easily identify exceptions where intervention is needed. Directors and executives need technical solutions that tie key metrics to business processes so they can manage their enterprises and focus on strategy and building new business opportunities.
Korenda, L., Cruse, C. B., & Reh, G. (2016). "Will patients and caregivers embrace technology-enabled health care?" Deloitte. Insights. Retrieved from https://dupress.deloitte.com
Landers, S., Madigan, E., Leff, B., Rosati, R. J., McCann, B. A., Hornbake, R., . . . Breese, E. (2016). "The future of home health care: A strategic framework for optimizing value." Home Health Care Management & Practice, 28(4), 262-278. doi:10.1177/1084822316666368
Tractica. (2015). "Home health technologies: Research report." Retrieved from https://www.tractica.com/
Amy Shellhart is Vice President of Product Management, Change Healthcare. She can be contacted at Amy.Shellhart@McKesson.com
©2017 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org