The home healthcare market is on the upswing, and as baby boomers continue to age, that growth doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. The number of personal care and home healthcare workers will increase 70% between 2010 and 2020 in response to the rise in home healthcare demand. As a result of these trends, home healthcare spending is expected to outpace all other forms of health care expenses.
Home healthcare organizations need to be ready to face this increased demand with peak efficiency, while still providing high-quality care to patients.
Current Challenges with Home Healthcare
Healthcare providers face a variety of challenges in today’s home health climate. These challenges include:
- Technology adoption: Despite the amazing resources available, the home healthcare industry has been slow to adopt new technologies and processes.
- Broken communication: Many mobile healthcare providers struggle to communicate changes to appointment times or needs, changes in patient health status, and updates to other providers in a timely manner.
- Cost management: The consumerization of healthcare means patients expect more convenience and personalization from their healthcare providers, without an increase in cost. While home healthcare is a great example of delivering personalized service at the customer’s convenience, home healthcare organizations must still offer competitive prices.
- Talent retention: High home healthcare turnover rates—combined with the demand for services outpacing the supply of trained caregivers—makes positions difficult to fill and keep filled.
The Future of Home Healthcare
Here are some top trends, challenges, and solutions that are impacting the future of home healthcare.
Integrating Home Healthcare into the Healthcare Continuum
With an aging population and the desire to continually improve patient outcomes while responsibly using health care resources, there will be more importance on the home healthcare sector to become part of the mainstream healthcare continuum of care.
Home healthcare is no longer a luxury or a sideline player—it will increasingly become an expected, fundamental part of many patients’ healthcare experience.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
From remote patient monitoring to consultations performed via telemedicine, information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming patient care. With the ICT available today, home health workers can record and report new symptoms and changes in patient health status in real-time. Overall, the increase in home healthcare communication leads to fewer hospitalizations, better quality of care, and cost savings for both patients and providers.
Attract and Retain Talent
Between the 50% annual caregiver turnover rate and the addition of over one million jobs between 2016-2026, attracting and retaining talent in a crowded and hungry marketplace is vital for a home healthcare organization to survive.
Three important areas to focus on to attract and retain talent are:
- Empowering workers: Providing workers with the necessary tools to do their jobs not only increases efficiency and productivity, but it engages and retains talent.
- Increasing worker safety: Technology can help with location tracking, quick and easy communication, and an easy way to share real-time patient information between caregivers.
- Boosting wages: In a competitive market, it’s important that your company increases efficiency in ways that can translate to more funds available for employee compensation.
Home Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions
Due to the increased costs, wages, and complexity of providing home healthcare, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have been a major disruptor in the healthcare industry, affecting many medical groups, hospitals, and health systems. Sights have turned to home healthcare, and it’s likely that these mergers and acquisitions will continue. They may slow within the next year, but then there’s likely to be another spike in the M&A rollercoaster for home healthcare.
Mobile Workforce Management Software
It’s important to invest in tools that can help prevent latent or incorrect patient history details, improve worker and patient safety, and prepare your business to handle the large patient load that home healthcare will experience with an aging baby boomer generation.
A mobile workforce management platform offers many benefits to both patients and home healthcare providers:
- Scheduling optimization: Give caregivers the right number of patients in a day to satisfy their workload needs, grow your business, and prevent burnout.
- Making the right match: Pair the skills, availability, and even preferences of patients to caregivers to make the right match from the first visit.
- Building relationships: Pair caregivers with patients they can see on a recurring basis to better develop relationships.
- Savings on mileage: Provide efficient travel routes to multiple locations.
- Improved continuity and communication: Access job notes and history for better patient service, as well as providing your staff with a single, reliable place to see, adjust, and communicate about schedules.
Use Case: Mobile Workforce Management in Home Healthcare
Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare provides in-home pediatric nursing, occupational, physical, and speech/language therapy services to children in the home, preschool, or other settings. As the business grew, Solace’s fragmented, email-dependant system to schedule and communicate with patients and providers became too cumbersome. Even worse, it created friction for patients and caregivers alike.
To solve these problems, Solace implemented a mobile workforce management platform. Now, Solace collaborates quickly and easily with patients and providers. As a result, there has been an 84% reduction in no-show appointments, faster and more accurate communication with families, and less worker time lost to driving and other administrative duties.
Prepare for the Future of Home Healthcare
Home healthcare is rapidly changing—from moving to the forefront of the continuum of care to increasing efficiency through technology. Acquiring and retaining talent will be key for home healthcare organizations to remain competitive in the growing market, and in order to do so, mobile healthcare workers shouldn’t be distracted by miscommunications, schedule mix-ups, or incomplete patient information.
Empower your workers to deliver a great patient experience by using an intelligent mobile workforce management system. If you are ready to see how Skedulo can bring your home healthcare organization into the future, book a demo today.