Last week I had a riveting time in Chicago at the Post Acute Link Care Continuum Conference. If you haven’t attended in the past, it’s an incredibly valuable event for providers in home health, hospice, senior living or SNF. I look forward to attending each year because it allows me to understand the current challenges and pressures clinicians are experiencing in the field, at the point-of-care.
In many conversations I had with providers I spoke with last week, it became clear there is a growing number of issues and trends impacting the healthcare industry, specifically for home healthcare providers. For example:
- Hospitals are facing new penalties with high avoidable readmissions coupled with Medicare reimbursement. This increases the pressure on home health agencies to leverage technology to aid patients in following aftercare instructions, adhering to medication plans and accessing their medical information – all to better prevent costly readmissions from occurring.
- We’re facing unprecedented growth in the number of aging Americans. Baby boomers have recently begun reaching retirement age, making the senior age demographic the largest population in the country. As seniors continue to live longer, and the popularity of “aging at home” continues to rise, the home health market will be tasked to streamline care and keep up with a growing patient base that requires a greater level of care over a longer period of time.
- Lastly, a nursing shortage continues to impact hospitals, where the lack of nurses may contribute to patients being discharged earlier, putting the burden of recovery on care received once the patient has returned home.
Mobile technology and the ability to fulfill the same data demands in-home as in-hospital can help home health agencies meet these issues head-on. According to Allied Healthcare:
Mobile device use to improve health care delivery and outcomes could double access to healthcare services while lowering administrative costs through better data collections – potentially reducing seniors’ health care costs by 25%.
Home health providers will soon be held to the same standards for data handling and patient service as other healthcare entities. As such, mobile technology must integrate with a home healthcare provider’s workflow and promote access to treatment records, educational materials, and billing information, all without sacrificing treatment quality or data security. Mobile technologies that help achieve these goals include barcode scanners, which help verify that the right medication and dose is given to the right patient.
Also integral are tablets and smartphones, which allow for access to EMR and patient records in-home. And finally, mobile printers will allow providers the ability to print barcode labels, treatment instructions, updated medication plans, anytime from anywhere. All these technologies help home health agencies address industry standards while providing the best mobile care for patients.
To take a deeper dive into topic, check out a recent article I authored for Health IT Outcomes, Home Health and Mobility – Meeting Provider Needs.
This post originally appeared here.