The global home healthcare industry is valued at over $200 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent between now and 2027. Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the widespread implementation of telehealth and home healthcare visits.
As society becomes more infused with technology and convenience, home healthcare is expected to be a more mainstream choice by patients. This anticipated rise, however, does come with a variety of roadblocks that both providers and patients need to address for a smooth and successful transition.
With a traditional hospital, office, or clinic setting, many of these obstacles have already been addressed or are non-existent. Five areas that need to be examined as home healthcare grows:
• Patient care preferences
• Physician concerns
• Patient safety
• Necessary digital infrastructure
• Regulatory environment
Patient Care Preferences: More patients will be opting for home healthcare in the future. However, how do providers market this service and ensure consumer trust in the care and resources available to them? Additionally, a large segment of the population will still prefer in-office or hospital visits, as home healthcare may feel invasive, emotionally triggering, unreliable, or other reasoning. It is the job of providers and healthcare institutions to continue to provide optionality for patients and accommodate their concerns regarding individual health.
Physician Concerns: Another hurdle facing home healthcare centers around physicians, nurses, and support staff. Clinicians need to be financially rewarded, not disadvantaged, for the number of patients seen on a day-to-day basis. More patients can be seen in a traditional healthcare setting, but the shift to home health needs to monetarily incentivize physicians to be able to strictly focus on patient-outcomes versus patient quantity. Provider safety is another concern that needs to be looked at, as home health visits need to be safe for both parties. Having a quick way to quietly alert a supervisor or the authorities while maintaining a secure line of communication is essential to physical safety during a visit. Therefore, to serve disadvantaged populations, safety measures need to be put in place to protect providers.
Patient Safety: Home health presents several safety concerns that are more difficult to control compared to a traditional care facility setting. Physical layout, sanitation, and infection control are all possible hazards to patients with home health visits. Providers need to be equipped to make any home health procedures or treatment safe (without going out of their way to create an adequate healthcare setting).
Necessary Digital Infrastructure: A dedicated and secure home health infrastructure needs to be created that makes the job easier for providers in regards to documentation, procedure implementation, and more. Likewise, this infrastructure needs to accommodate patient needs as well -- providing an engaging and easy-to-use interface for communication, payments, and more.
Regulatory Environment: Maybe most importantly, as home healthcare moves into the mainstream, consistent regulations and protocols need to be drafted, implemented, and followed to ensure the success of this service. Both from a state and federal level, measurable and definable guidelines need to be put in place. From how information is recorded to what is appropriate patient-provider interaction within a personal setting -- and more. A repeatable regulatory environment needs to be created for the benefit of all parties.
As healthcare institutions move to build out their home health services, it would be wise to explore how chatbots can be leveraged to make the offering safer, more convenient, and more successful.
The use of chatbot technology within the healthcare industry has quickly become a popular choice by institutions due to the versatility and effectiveness they provide. While chatbots are increasingly being used to help reduce the workloads for staff relating to tasks like scheduling and billing, the potential for other usage continues.
Here are four direct benefits chatbots can provide:
Ensure Healthcare Provider Safety
Chatbot technology can be used as a check-in resource for providers. By having chatbots communicate with providers to ask about patient demeanor, location safety, time spent with a patient, and other factors -- then healthcare institutions can have a look into the environment and feelings providers may have regarding each home visit. Therefore, if concern or uneasiness is to arise, a provider can alert the healthcare institution or local authorities for help.
Chatbots have helped bring new life to patient engagement. With dedicated one-on-one assistance, patients can quickly and easily complete various tasks or receive information. For example, through this technology, patients may be able to have their symptoms checked without visiting or calling their doctor. Based upon the determined results, a chatbot can recommend a treatment course or schedule an at-home or in-office visit with a doctor if necessary -- eliminating a lot of the hassle associated with healthcare from the patient perspective, and in turn, theoretically improving overall patient wellbeing.
Chatbots also have the potential to resolve communication roadblocks associated with home healthcare. Through HIPAA compliant data security, chatbots have the power to act as a safe intermediary between provider and patient. Additionally, chatbots may in function be used as an assistant to providers during home health visits by capturing data and reporting follow-up.
Billing Management & Efficiency
Lastly, chatbot technology can handle billing payments and questions for patients. By eliminating the need to call or visit in-person to make payments or have discrepancies resolved -- a more streamlined process is available, making the experience more enjoyable for both patients and healthcare staff.
QlipSOFT’s platform and chatbot, Quincy, provides organizations and healthcare providers a secure, user-friendly application that goes beyond HIPAA complaint minimum standards. In doing so, we have developed a software program that is designed to improve your security practices while also enhancing your group’s communication habits and efficiency.
Contact us today at (866) 295-0451 about a free demo, or how to start implementing our technology at your health company!
A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.
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