Tech-enabled home care -- what does the interview research reveal? The report will be posted later this month, but specific insights emerged after speaking with 21 leaders in the home care business and technology segments. The interviews are completed and the report is drafted. Here are six predictions that are drawn directly from that process:
- A continuum of care will have a continuum of contracted partnerships. Hospitals are striving to reduce the risk of readmission through discharged-to-home-care programs. Rather than manage multiple and fragmented relationships, these programs will be formalized with home care companies, who in turn will partner for the service elements they cannot directly provide, such as transportation, meal and supply delivery.
- Viewable information and tools for families will be service differentiators. In its 2016 Caregiver Innovation Frontiers report, AARP presented six categories of technology that would be needed to support family caregivers. Care coordination was one of those categories – and supporting care coordination software is a relatively recent market category. According to AARP, “only 2-3% of patients with chronic conditions have reported receiving support from a care coordinator” – representing a strategic opportunity recognized by the home care industry.
- Wearables and sensors will become standard in both home and home healthcare. While the use of Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) devices has long been accepted, the use of the next generation of so-called fitness wearables and in-home motion sensors will likely be recommended by doctors and checked by in-home care providers – checking vital signs, but also whether the patient got up from a chair and walked.
- All home care aides will be certified to provide a standard of care. The government reimburses for home health aides, they are required to have “successfully completed a training program approved by the Secretary.” The federal overtime rule in home care may trigger a national standard certification for home care workers and a set of standards applied to care.
- Tech-enabled home care services will be self-funding and profitable. While startups launched in a wave of venture capital investment, they will ultimately need to become profitable -- or be acquired by companies that are profitable. Becoming profitable will be dependent on managing the right mix of work between in-home direct care with tech-enabled oversight and services.
- Standard check-out home care procedures will be paperless and include checklists. Home care agencies have long been familiar with home safety checklists – looking for ways to help the care recipient stay safely at home. Moving forward, other home care agencies will review the Harvard study that demonstrated the utility of an interactive voice response (IVR) health status checklist and adopt the checklist approach as a way to help avoid hospital readmission of clients.