Trends in home health and hospice (part 2): Technology implications
In the first part of this blog series, we discussed trends and strategies for home-based care. From labor challenges to value-based reimbursement, the home health industry is evolving, and technology can help your agency adapt and thrive. Home is becoming the hub for care delivery, which comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Here, we discuss the technology implications for the trends in home health and hospice and how tech can guide you toward growth and success in our rapidly changing industry.
Bringing preventive measures and safety to the home.
With home becoming the hub of care delivery, we’re seeing higher acuity in this environment. This trend has created an emphasis on solutions that drive preventive measures, safety, and the management of chronic conditions—especially for seniors. These solutions include:
- IoT (Internet of Things) sensors to monitor various use cases, door openings, pill management, movement tracking, or even fall detection.
- Radar technology or the use of cameras to detect a change in conditions in non-intrusive ways.
- Remote patient monitoring such as oximeters, glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs, and wireless scales to track vitals.
- 24/7 monitoring for emergency response or to provide early warning signs of changes in health status.
- Voice-activated solutions to improve patient and family engagement amid a shortage of caregivers.
From a provider’s perspective, EHRs integrated with rich interoperability in both ambulatory and acute care settings are crucial to keeping physicians and acute providers up to date on patient status and flow.
Diversifying out-of-hospital care settings.
As post-acute providers increasingly diversify across out-of-hospital care settings, managing multiple EHRs is sub-optimal. Integrated, multi-line support for EHRs purpose-built for all the various care settings—whether it be home health, hospice, palliative care, private duty, or skilled private duty—gives providers synergy in terms of labor with improved scheduling, optimized payroll, and enhanced reporting analytics. The ability to use all this data across various care settings drives better clinical outcomes.
Also important is the user experience, with dashboards and analytics tools allowing providers and their staff to easily navigate their daily systems. Network-based expectations will also need to be integrated into your EHR solution, with rich interoperability tools like integrations with nationwide networks, HIEs or other referral sources, tools to connect with labs and pharmacies, and the ability to connect with supply sources and interfaces.
Shifting to value-based reimbursement and other payment models.
In order to be included in value-based networks, providers need the right technology. ML and AI models can help them understand ROI analysis and risk, make decisions based on past referrals or referral sources, and use focused analytics to measure performance.
With value-based purchasing, for example, providers need rich analytics to understand both risk and gain. There also needs to be a closed loop back to payers and ACOs or MA plans to demonstrate better care. Better quality, better clinical outcomes, real-time analytics—these are must-haves for providers to thrive in this accelerated shift to value-based payment models, and technology can help them get there.
Challenging labor shortages.
Labor challenges remain the number-one issue in the post-acute industry. Technologies that help create a multiplier effect will become a premium. These will feature tools that help with onboarding, identification of best fit for caregivers within an organization, cultural incentive programs, and training.
From an EHR perspective, the user experience, voice-based charting, and efficiencies from assessment capabilities are key to providing clinicians with a better work-life balance.
Surviving economic hardship.
If they haven’t already, most providers will feel the squeeze from economic hardships, particularly as they experience the shift from fee-for-service to fee-for-value. Having all the tools to help understand the economics of the business is crucial. These include:
- Custom value-based dashboards that allow providers to measure performance in each payment model
- Simple, visualized RCM lifecycle management tools
- Coaching on coding, reviews
- Scrubbers and other tools that drive improved accuracy
- Third-party tools that drive better utilization in terms of care delivery
- Deep business intelligence tools for cost optimization, payer and referral mix, and profit margin trends
As the industry continues to evolve toward home-based care, we will see an acceleration of technologies that have been around for years as well as new technologies and trends in home health and hospice like predictive analytics, AI, and robotic process automation. These advances will not only help organizations deliver better care to the home, but also help to solve the labor challenges by simplifying roles in home health and hospice care. Providers will find that these tools are critical to navigating this new normal and thriving in their business.
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