With the advent of smart phones, tablets, and near-ubiquitous WIFI connectivity, the home health industry is poised to revolutionize healthcare by improving health outcomes, minimizing hospitalizations, reducing health-related expenses, and building stronger and closer relationships between patients and their caregivers.
If you think that this is a stretch of the imagination, then think again. Through remote patient monitoring, education, clinical health call center support, and fully customizable disease management strategies, the tools are available to make this revolution happen.
For years, a challenge for home health agencies has been the difficulty with connecting patients to their doctors, nurses, and other clinicians on a timely and consistent basis. However, with remote patient monitoring and other valuable web-based health solutions, home health agencies can now ensure that the quality of care provided to patients at home is equal to – if not better – than care provided by an on-site caregiver.
Education and Daily Monitoring for Chronic Health Patients
As of 2012, it has been estimated that roughly half of all American adults are living with one or more chronic health conditions. These conditions range in severity from arthritis to congestive heart failure, and the needs of chronic health patients vary significantly. Issues such as age, location, and related health conditions can have a dramatic effect on how chronic health patients are cared for, but one thing all chronic health patients have in common is their need for constant, daily monitoring and improved education to help them sustain healthy and happy lives.
Through the pairing of remote patient monitoring services and clinical health call center support, chronic health patients can communicate with care providers on a 24-hour cycle. By providing unlimited access to this level of health assistance, home health agencies can extend the reach of their services to lessen their burdens, improve the quality of their care, and improve the health and satisfaction of the patients they treat.
Educating patients on the specifics of their health conditions is vital in maintaining proper care practices for patients living at home. For instance, patients living with diabetes can greatly benefit from lifestyle coaching techniques to help them adjust their diet and exercise routines, while simultaneously gaining the information necessary to perform simple self-tasks such as insulin injections. By providing improved education, home health agencies can help patient better understand their conditions while also supplementing or even alleviating many of their daily responsibilities.
Reducing Rates of Hospital Readmissions
It is integral to the efforts of home health agencies to limit hospitalizations rates among their patients. Not only are hospitalizations a sign of worsening health, they also lead to spikes in expenses, further complications, and medical-related accidents. Even worse, with the implementation of the CMS Home Health Value-Based Purchasing program – which is currently being piloted in nine states – home health agencies stand to see their Medicare payments reduced in re-hospitalization goals aren’t met. By investing in ehealth programs such as remote patient monitoring, home health agencies not only can keep their patients at home – safe and connected – but also improve their chances of complying with the current and any future incentive-based performance programs.
About Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is a certified management accountant and the president of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, one of the leading telehealth monitoring companies in the U.S. Karen is a nationally renowned speaker, a lecturer for Missouri State University’s graduate-level Health Care Administration program, and a contributing author to, “Home Telehealth: Connecting Care Within the Community,” published by Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd. Karen has appeared on numerous webinars and has spoken at dozens of conferences on the benefits of remote patient monitoring, generating enhanced clinical outcomes, patient engagement, and coordination of care. She is a member of the Missouri Governors Innovation Task Force, a past board member of the National Association for Home Care and Private Duty Home Care Association, a member of the American Telemedicine Association and the American Society on Aging, and a past ex-officio member of the advisory board of HealthCare Technology Association of America.