The Evolution of Technology in Home Health Care
Sometimes referred to as private-duty home care or allied healthcare, home health care is one area of the healthcare market that is experienced tremendous growth in recent years. In the past, home health care was considered a luxury all but out of reach of most seniors. Today, with advances in technology and an evolving service delivery model, home health care is reaching new areas. As the market sector grows and evolves, insurance for home health care providers will become ever more important. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how technology is changing the face of home health care and fueling investment in this category of the healthcare industry.
The Status of Home Health Care in the United States
According to industry surveys and government regulators, the allied (home) healthcare sector is responsible for between $74.5 billion and $91 billion in annual revenue, and is comprised of over 300,000 businesses in the United States alone. Hundreds of thousands of people are employed in this growing healthcare sector, which may include providers of:
- Skilled nursing care
- Homemaker and companion services
- Personal care
- In-home hospice care
About 80% of all home health care agencies operate on a for-profit basis, and some of the largest providers have been actively engaged in merger and acquisition processes, helping to consolidate market share and to boost profitability.
A Technological Revolution in Home Health Care
As with many aspects of the medical industry, advances in technology have made delivery of care more efficient than ever before for home health care providers. Some of the emerging technologies include systems to track and manage patient data, helping to streamline care in an efficient manner. Data systems that integrate care plans between home health providers and larger facilities like hospitals, specialty clinics, and care centers are being rolled out across the country. Another technology advancement is that of service dispatch systems, typically used in urban environments. These systems have allowed home health companies to expand their reach to more rural locales, giving caregivers the tools to manage patient visits with a focus on efficiency and accuracy.
Patients now have access to advanced tools as well. Patients can identify the best providers by searching online for details about the companies and providers they wish to hire. These patients are, in effect, more informed shoppers, requiring home health care providers to step up their game in the hopes of landing new clients. One of the most exciting developments in the medical field is that of wearable technologies, Wearable devices such as heart monitors, memory aids, and security/safety devices are a growing part of the “smart” home health care industry. These technologies are those that help patients manage their health conditions and to connect them with caregivers whenever needed.
Emerging Risks with New Home Health Care Technologies
New technologies are welcomed by any business, allowing for more efficient delivery of services and giving customers the information they need to make purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, these new technologies often come with new risks. In the home health care field, portability and dissemination of computerized patient records can lead to interception by hackers, leading to violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which can result in significant fines and penalties for home health care companies and their staffs. Insurance for home health care providers can help to mitigate some of the risks associated with digital patient records, protecting companies and staff members from the losses associated with data theft. As technology continues to advance in the home health care field, providers and their parent companies must balance potential risks against the benefits these technologies offer. Insurance for home health care providers is but one of many risk management practices these providers must adopt to ensure continuity of care without unneeded financial hazards.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 317.575.4440.