As demand for personalized in-home healthcare grows, providers are identifying innovative technology solutions to improve the standard of patient care. 

As applications for technology in healthcare continue to emerge, innovative tools and top organizations are driving the evolution of the industry. Leading technology company Amazon recently expanded into the healthcare space, sparking discussion around how their massively successful e-commerce platform and supply chain technology could impact patient care.

The advancements of modern medicine paired with the explosion of innovative technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are impacting life expectancy and the demand for personalized, high-quality care. This advancement is also driving demand for patients to receive hands-on, personalized care from a provider within their own homes.

Home health care is a nearly $100 billion market today and has consistently grown for over 20 years. In fact, one recent study found that the industry has grown 44% over the past five years. Major healthcare companies are already planning for the future with this progress in mind. UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Health and CVS Health, for example, have both recently announced the expansion of their home health units.

Beyond simply meeting this increasing demand for home health care, however, providers are rethinking their technical infrastructure and its ability to drive patient value. Emerging technology that provides 24/7 access to on-call doctors, automated medication delivery powered by patient data, and reliable mobile applications are driving a new standard of care.

Challenges for Home Health Care Expansion

For healthcare organizations to effectively scale their home health care services, they will need to evaluate their operational models and technology infrastructure. Delivering traveling clinicians and home health care providers involves managing the logistics of a large network of geographically dispersed care visits. Many healthcare organizations moving into the home health space face limitations with logistics, fleet management, and technology platforms.

The home health industry has grown 44% over the past five years

Navigating the operational complexities associated with deploying nurses and clinicians out into local communities can be daunting. Advanced applications that leverage AI could mitigate some of these complexities, automating the scheduling and routing required for clinicians to provide care. Some nurses and caregivers describe passing coworkers on the road as they visit patients in the same neighborhood, a lack of efficiency that not only results in unnecessary costs for the organization but also a less effective patient experience.

Further, patient notes and schedules are frequently executed from a mobile device with outdated applications or worse, no technical capability at all. Market leaders in the space are employing a multitude of healthcare technologies, including healthcare CRM software, telehealth software, remote patient monitoring (RPM) tools, and more. The added complexities of home health care demand modern software to deliver best-in-class care.

As home care organizations scale, the lack of logistics and fleet management of traveling clinicians is an obvious cost factor for providers wishing to capitalize on this growing market. To maximize efficiency, home health care companies may be able to model operations after organizations that have already mastered some of these logistical challenges.

Transport companies like FedEx and UPS have implemented the infrastructure to effectively manage vast networks of vehicles and customer interactions daily. Amazon’s fleet edge technology is driving efficiencies and prioritizing safety for their delivery drivers. Home health care organizations may look to these industries as they work through scaling their service offerings. Key aspects to consider for home health care technology may include:

  • Healthcare-specific fleet management software
  • Patient monitoring and tracking tools
  • Medical billing and payment technology
  • Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Mobile healthcare applications

Importance of Digital Capabilities for Providers

Beyond the logistics, home health providers also face the issue of outdated or ineffective mobile technology. Clinicians require high-quality mobile devices and applications to log patient interactions, transactions, and appointment scheduling that mirrors the capabilities of the traditional hospital setting. These digital applications may even leverage artificial intelligence to automate some of the logistics and maximize efficiencies with staff, minimizing unnecessary travel and administrative time and improving the overall health and wellness of the patients. An application that aids in scheduling, prioritizing the most critical cases first, and generating the most efficient routing, could revolutionize the home health care experience.

Summary

Providers and payers looking to capitalize on the growth of at-home health care should consider their business from the perspective of fleet management and logistics operation, and the technology these types of organizations utilize. Proper operations management and technical infrastructure drive significant efficiencies and cost savings for home health providers, and digital applications are critical to providing great care.

As technology continues to drive the standard of patient care, healthcare organizations will need to be bold in their digital transformation journeys. Implementing advanced applications, adjusting and reworking product roadmaps, and prioritizing efficiencies will be key to the future of the industry.