Ninety percent of seniors plan to stay in their current homes for the next five to ten years, but 72 percent of low-to-moderate income individuals report a chronic illness that makes this aging-in-place approach more challenging.1
Home health care offers a way to bridge the gap by providing critical assistance where patients feel most comfortable. Already on the rise pre-pandemic, there’s now a great opportunity for home health providers to capitalize on growing market opportunities. However, companies must be prepared to meet the new expectations of post-pandemic patients. Here are three ways home health may evolve, and what this means for providers.
Support Telehealth Connections
Telehealth changed the face of healthcare during the pandemic, and it isn’t going anywhere as more “normal” operations reemerge. Consider recent data from McKinsey & Company, which notes that “telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels more than 38x higher than before the pandemic.”2 In addition, consumer attitudes toward telehealth have improved significantly since the start of COVID-19.
For home health providers, the advent of reliable and robust telemedicine solutions requires both the adoption of home health software capable of supporting these connections and the regulatory process rigor required to ensure telehealth visits are fully documented and compliant with local, state, and federal guidelines.
Be Ready for Higher Acuity
As more seniors opt to stay at home for longer, patient acuity is rising. As noted by Home Health Care News, this trend toward more acute care requirements in the post-pandemic world requires the creation of specialized provider programs — such as those targeted toward respiratory health, wound care, or heart health — in order to stay competitive.3
In practice, it requires companies to evaluate both current resources and required assets. This evaluation includes both physical and digital assets:
- Are staff equipped with the right tools to deliver specialized home health therapy, or do they need access to new equipment?
- Do providers have the right digital technologies in place to ensure staff can easily access their schedules, make changes as necessary and document care services delivered both in-person and online?
Effective evaluation paves the way for intelligent investment to meet acuity expectations.
Increase Staff Skills
With patient volumes increasing and care becoming more acute, technology and tools aren’t enough to deliver comprehensive care. Specialized training is now critical to ensure home health staff are prepared to meet emerging challenges. Also known as “upskilling,” this process has significant benefits for patients and providers alike. For example, training for home health teams in California led to a 43 percent decline in patient rehospitalization and savings up to $12,000 per patient.4 Training now runs the gamut from practical skills expansion to more technology-focused education that equips clinicians to better create and manage home healthcare EMR records.
When it comes to training staff, home health providers are best-served by doing their research to ensure potential partners are reliable, reputable and offer certifications that are recognized by official regulatory bodies. Doing so helps to not only reduce the risk of compliance challenges, it also helps boost patient confidence in home health.
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1 Aging in Place, “Aging in Place Vs. Assisted Living,” July 2021.
2 McKinsey & Company, “Telehealth: A Quarter-Trillion-Dollar Post-COVID-19 Reality?,” July 9, 2021.
3 Home Health Care News, “Top Home Health Trends for 2021,” January 18, 2021.
4 Health Affairs, “How ‘Upskilling’ Can Maximize Home Care Workers’ Contributions And Improve Serious Illness Care,” March 4, 2019.