Home Healthcare Services Benefits: Providers Need to Jump In
Healthcare has been revolutionized with the discovery of antibiotics, robotics used for previously impossible surgeries, and much more—even home healthcare. Yes, the old-fashioned home healthcare services of yesteryear, but with a futuristic twist, promises to added its name onto that list and bring about a healthcare industry revolution. And healthcare providers need to jump in.
The home health services industry is growing amid skyrocketing demand and supported by the expansion of mobile health (mHealth) apps and mobile technology, such as artificial intelligence and wearable monitoring devices. Providing home health services is more cost-effective and efficient than ever. Conditions that would have hospitalized patients just a few years ago are now easily treated in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
But it’s not only the patients who benefit from home health and mobile technology. Providers are well-positioned to reap significant rewards from the home healthcare revolution.
Home Healthcare Cuts Costs
Patients who follow home health orders following a hospital discharge cost Medicare about $4,000 less than those who don’t follow through with their home health care plan.
This is good news from both a patient and a provider perspective. The move toward healthcare consumerization means patients are demanding cheaper, more value-added services. Home health certainly fits that bill. And because home healthcare is cheaper to deliver than more intensive treatments in a hospital or clinical setting, providers save money, as well.
Shorter Hospital Stays with Home Healthcare
In the past, patients who weren’t unwell enough to require hospitalization but needed support at home were commonly stuck in limbo. It took time to set up the necessary services required to get them back to their daily lives, often leaving them hospitalized for longer than necessary because of inadequate support at home.
Now, however, many hospitals are partnering with home healthcare companies, allowing for support to be set up much faster. Instead of a patient lingering in the hospital, a healthcare aide can be assigned to the case and formulate a care plan, allowing the patient to go home sooner. This frees up beds for the hospital, saves time, and increases business for healthcare providers—and ultimately lets the patient return home more quickly.
Home Healthcare Reduces Readmission Rates and Improves Outcomes
Hospital readmissions cost Medicare more than $17 billion each year. As such, there is plenty of pressure on healthcare professionals to reduce readmission rates and the resultant penalties that come along with them.
Enter home healthcare. With up to 75% of readmissions being preventable, home healthcare professionals do their part: help manage medicines, ensure orders are followed, educate patients and their families on their care, and monitor for risks though wearable technology such as heart rate monitors and oxygen sensors.
Many studies have found that patients tend to recover better at home. They start walking or moving faster, may perceive less pain, and enjoy a more restful environment. Their risk of infection is also significantly reduced, as they aren’t exposed to the myriad of germs and bacteria present in even the cleanest of hospitals.
Reduced readmission rates and more favorable outcomes don’t just benefit the patient, either. Providers who have low readmission rates are more attractive to potential patients, may qualify for incentives and have a better chance of striking up a lucrative partnership with hospitals and other care facilities.
Additional Benefits of Home Health Services
Lower costs, shorter hospital stays, reduced readmissions, and more favorable outcomes are all fantastic benefits of home health services, but they’re not the only benefits.
- Streamlines the continuum of care: Home healthcare makes it easy for a patient to go from one level of care to the next, stepping down gradually as fewer services are needed, or increasing care as the patient ages or a chronic or terminal condition progresses. The patient is supported throughout the process, and the provider is able to build a relationship with the patient based on trust.
- Allows for remote monitoring: Wearable tech, mHealth apps, and home health software makes it easier than ever to monitor a patient without ever making a house call. This saves the provider time and money while still affording the patient a high level of care. Should problems arise, the provider will be quickly alerted to the fact and can act before more intensive medical intervention becomes necessary.
- Increases the ability to form partnerships: There has been a recent shift from the “silo effect”—each medical entity acting as a standalone—to a more partner-focused care system. Home health companies may have the ability to partner with hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other senior and/or medical-based companies, creating an umbrella of services that benefit patients and providers alike.
We’re about to see another revolution that will join the ranks in changing the course of healthcare. The benefits of home healthcare services to patients and providers are too many to sit on the sidelines. Providers need to jump in and embrace this revolution!
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