Home health care, which used to be a care option for the elderly and rural patients, is now becoming an expectation of health consumers of all stripes.
Today, consumers want health care to come to them, much like Amazon brought the mall to them, said Rami Karjian, co-founder and CEO of Boston-based Medically Home Group. Karjian spoke on a virtual panel on the state of home health during Monday’s MedCity INVEST Digital Health conference. Aneesh Krishna, partner at Mckinsey & Co., moderated the panel sponsored by Workpath.
Patients are aware of the myriad benefits home nursing offers, including improved quality of care, Karjian said. The amount and quality of data that can be collected at home is one of the main reasons that home care leads to better results.
For example, when a patient presses the nurse call button in a hospital, there can be significant delays before a nurse actually gets to bed, but no one knows how long the delay is or how many times the patient has pressed the button, Karjian said. But in the home health care arena, these metrics are available.
“We have excellent data on how long it takes a nurse to get there, how long it takes for a doctor to come to the phone when you call,” he said. “[There is] more details about the wealth of data you get at home. “
Eddie Peloke, CEO of Workpath, based in Richmond, Virginia, repeated Karjian during the discussion.
The mindset of healthcare consumers has changed irrevocably, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has led to a shift to home care, he said. Patients are open to intensive care at home, which offers the opportunity to expand the patient population who normally receive this type of care.
One population to which home nursing can be rapidly scaled is patients in clinical trials. At-risk patients from anywhere in the country can stay home and still take part in a potentially life-changing study.
“If you are thinking of taking in different patients [and] Participants, increased engagement, reduced drop-outs – truly doing this at home can be a huge benefit to clinical trials [population]”Said Peloke.
In addition, home nursing can provide insight into social determinants of health that have a large impact on patient outcomes.
According to Peloke, his 97-year-old great-uncle had a heart operation and was discharged with the usual instructions. A nurse later came to visit him and discovered details about the house, including the narrow stairs with no handrails and a wood stove that changed her recovery plan for him.
“He would never do what they told him,” said Peloke. “He couldn’t do it.”
As home nursing becomes increasingly popular, certain precautions need to be taken, particularly with regard to the technological infrastructure that supports this model of care.
The technology provides clinical insights, but there may be biases in the IT systems and algorithms used that skew medical decision-making. The teams building technology for this space and the vendors who deploy it need to protect themselves from this possibility.
“Since we’re moving very quickly, it’s easy to bypass some of the things that you do in one [healthcare technology] Data science or engineering team, ”said Serrah Linares, vice president of partnerships for Change Healthcare based in Nashville, Tennessee, during the panel. “And if you are in one of having an expert who is the clinician, or someone who is an expert in the field, you gain the knowledge for [is] a really important part of the development. “
It is up to industry stakeholders to build trust and consumer confidence in the technologies and apps used in the home health field, she said.
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