Making the Home the Center of Care
As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly disrupted healthcare delivery, more payors, providers, and patients took a fresh look at the home as the most convenient and cost-effective setting for care. Now, there is new energy behind the push to make the home the center for healthcare delivery. Since March, we have learned several lessons that will help pave the way for increased at-home care in the future. In a recent fireside at the HME News Business Summit, Dr. Richard Popiel, CareCentrix Strategic Advisory Board Member, and Laizer Kornwasser, CareCentrix President and COO, discussed care delivery from pre-COVID to post-COVID. Below are key takeaways from their discussion.
Telehealth and Remote Monitoring Tools
Before the pandemic, many therapies, DME, and HME services were provided at home. Moreover, while most people wanted to get medical care at home before the pandemic, many telehealth services did not receive significant use. COVID-19 changed all that. We have seen the rapid acceleration of the adoption of telehealth and remote monitoring tools. CareCentrix responded to growing demand by extending – at no cost – its advanced home technology package, including telehealth, care collaboration, and home monitoring tools, to its network of 8,000 home health locations. Through collaboration with the technology companies Dina and Synzi, CareCentrix continues to offer a robust set of tools that providers can use to deliver efficient, quality care. With Dina, for example, CareCentrix providers monitor social and emotional health, activities of daily living, and safety factors in the home to facilitate whole-person health. Through Synzi, two-way, live communication is possible between patients and providers. These HIPAA-compliant video, email, and text options support ongoing communication without leaving home.
Renewed Emphasis on Healthcare at Home
Dr. Popiel and Kornwasser predicted a tipping point toward health-at-home in the next few years, especially as more providers and health plans use innovative technology and pursue value-based payment structures that reward quality. In order to support more care at home, Dr. Popiel and Kornwasser noted the need for a reexamination of policies and HIPAA regulations to address the evolving way people getting care want to communicate with providers, including through text messages, over email, and using video meetings. A central feature of a quality at-home care experience is accessibility, and providers and plans are increasingly asked by consumers to innovate existing models and facilitate care in the home.
During COVID-19, telehealth adoption has exponentially accelerated. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted more than 43 percent of Medicare primary care visits in April 2020 were provided using telehealth, compared with just 0.1 percent using telehealth for these visits in February 2020. Increased use and familiarity with telehealth complements the interest in home healthcare options that existed before the pandemic and will bring more care to the home.
As providers and payors race to meet the demand for more home care services, Dr. Popiel and Kornwasser noted policymakers must consider potential revisions to existing payment structures. Care at home will be a central component to value-based models because payors will need to provide care in a setting that delivers high satisfaction for members and supports high-quality outcomes that reduce costly ER visits and hospital admissions. Technology companies also play a role, and device manufacturers will need to make remote monitoring capabilities a central component of their products. In the months ahead, new technologies and increasing interest among patients, providers, and payors will continue to prompt more healthcare services delivered in the home.
To learn more, access the full webinar here.