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How Technology is Changing the Face of Home Health

Every day 10,000 baby boomers become 65 years old, which more precisely equates to seven people per minute turning this age.  According to a recent survey, 90 percent of these seniors want to “age in place”, which has led to explosive growth in the home health sector.  In fact, the home health market is outpacing every other type of care with its annual spending growth rate predicted to be 6.7 percent by 2020.  However, this “age wave” has led to a shortage of home health workers, with another million predicted to be needed by 2026.  To deal with these types of escalating demands, technology has become an increasingly important component of home health.  In fact, in 2005, the Home Care Technology Association of America was established to advance the adoption and use of technologies that support quality, safety, integrity, and the coordination of healthcare services in the home.  In this blog we will discuss not only how technology will help fill these employee shortages, but also how the quality of home health will improve thanks to these innovations.

Virtual Caregivers

With the shortage of home health workers expected to further increase in the coming years, technology companies are developing virtual caregivers to help alleviate this issue.  At the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, Addison Care™ — the world’s first Virtual Caregiver, was launched.  Addison Care™ is a state-of-the art, 3D animated caregiver designed to engage aging and chronically ill clients throughout the home, not only supplementing care, but also providing various health and safety features. Addison appears on 15-inch monitors strategically placed throughout a patient’s home, offering the ability to conduct two-way conversations, and is programmed for a patient’s personal needs and plans of care. This virtual caregiver’s capabilities include 24/7 in-home checkups, medication reminders and verification of adherence, collection of vitals and real-time assessments if a client develops evidence of increased risk of falling or health decline.  However, virtual caregivers do need localized support from home health companies in order to thrive; therefore, relationships with these businesses are critical.  Addison is just one of the cost-effective virtual caregiver solutions that are being launched into the home health market currently.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records (EHRs) is another technological advancement, which provide numerous benefits for home healthcare providers.With the patient’s information being readily available, any time, any place, home health workers can manage care better and improve the quality of it.By having ready access to a patient’s complete record, home health agencies (HHAs) will improve coordination of care and communication with patients.  Also, when a clinician has comprehensive health information readily available, better testing, diagnostic and treatment decisions can be made, leading to improved health quality.

Alarm Integration Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making headway into many different industries, including home health.  Smart sensors are now being placed in appliances to monitor patient’s movements and alert caregivers of any risky behavior.  For example, sensors can determine if a patient afflicted with Alzheimer’s has left the water running too long.  Also, smart sensors are being incorporated into mattresses to determine a patient’s movements, breathing rates and fluid retention, which is an early indicator of trouble related to chronic heart failure.

Changing Times for Home Health Agencies

The need for home health services is growing exponentially due to the aging population.  However, this growth cannot always be fulfilled with current resources and methods; therefore, outsourcing and technology are critical to ensure excellent patient care.

5 Star Consultants can help you stay competitive in the home health market.  Our team of experts stay on top of the constant changes taking place in the home health industry and can ensure your staff does too.  For further information about our services, please contact us at [email protected] or 866-428-4040.

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