20 years later, why is home care still not sure?
On March 17th, 2016 we held our most popular webinar ever, featuring our founder and CEO Adrian Schauer and Tim Rowan of Rowan Consulting Associates and Editor of Home Care Technology Report.
The webinar focused on a hot topic for home care agencies this year: how home telehealth and home health software is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. So for those of you who couldn’t attend, here is a quick summary of our presentation and the best practices suggested.
The Current State of the Home Care Industry
As we’ve all heard by now, there are numerous benefits to providing care for patients in the comfort of their own homes. Home care providers (owners, staff, associations) and even patients have known for some time now that increased home care spending lowers overall payer costs.
As Tim put it, “Sometimes, if you spend $20 in the right place, you save $100 in another, often more important, place.” But the issue is that the officials and organizations in charge (Insurance, MedPAC, Congress, State Medicaid, etc.) don’t seem to understand the overall value and true potential of home care services.
The Home Health Dilemma
Even though the evidence shows home care will save payers money, MedPAC, Congress, and CMS continue to focus on the “$20 spending” rather than the bigger picture.
According to Tim, while the benefits are obvious to providers, the home care industry is still facing a number of dilemmas. These include but are not limited to shrinking margins, aggressive auditing practices, short sighted reimbursement policies, and much more.
So where does telehealth fit in?
Based on this evidence and the current policies in place, majority of large home care agencies (in the $20M/year bracket) have already implemented, or plan to implement telehealth solutions because it is a viable, and affordable option.
Hospitals and physician groups are purchasing telehealth equipment and using it in place of HHA referrals. There is no question that telehealth will play a big role in the future of home care, but a number of mid to small sized agencies could be left out in the cold because they don’t have the resources, or possibly the foresight, to implement a telehealth solution under the current regulations.
What is the recommended strategy?
Rowan recommended that it’s in the best interest of the U.S. healthcare system and of all payers to encourage more home care and more telehealth, even though those in charge are doing the opposite.
As HHAs decrease in numbers, Tim highlighted what he believes will be the main characteristics of the surviving home care agencies in the years to come.
Current policies are causing downward pressure on telehealth pricing, rise of rental options, and new opportunities for outsources telehealth services and consultants.
Based on Tim’s assessment of the industry, in order to survive in the future of home care it is imperative to consider a telehealth solution.
As a leading provider of an end-to-end home care software platform, AlayaCare offers a mix of real-time telehealth and face-to-face visit solutions, including robust home health documentation, exceptional home care scheduling, and next-generation technology such as integrated Portals, Virtual Care and RPM Dashboard, Electronic Visit Verification Software and Machine Learning.
With our all-in-one solution, you can ensure your patients have the tools they need to be more confident and knowledgeable in their healthcare services, increasing engagement and ultimately improving patient outcomes.