The Burden of Care Facing Home Health Agencies
The increasing aging population, along with the rise in chronic conditions, has placed a great burden of care on home health agencies. Many home health agencies do not have condition-specific specialists on-staff and/or readily available for in-home patient visits. For example, a shortage of wound experts means that many agencies may have limited (if any) wound nurses on staff despite the need for wound care management. And, the increased demand for physical therapy services means that many agencies may not be able to adequately leverage their PTs and PTAs to address the needs of aging baby boomers and conditions (e.g., stroke, diabetes, and/or obesity) which may influence the need for therapy. As a result, an agency may not be able to take on new patients with conditions needing specialized care, limiting the agency’s ability to increase revenue. Moreover, the worsening of patient conditions and patient dissatisfaction can lower an agency’s ratings, negatively impacting the agency’s relationship with referral sources.
How Synzi is Helping Home Health Agencies Better Leverage Staff Specialists
Home health agencies are using Synzi to leverage staff specialists in virtual visits during the clinician’s in-person visit with a patient in various ways including:
- Wound care: Synzi’s platform is used by wound care specialists who can provide remote wound care management to those in the field during a visit. During virtual wound consultations, the specialists support home health nurses with proper diagnoses and evaluations for patients. With Synzi, the wound care specialist’s productivity is optimized as s/he can see multiple patients throughout the day vs. dedicating a significant portion of available time to driving to/from a patient’s home. Transportation costs and related liabilities are reduced for the specialist, leading to a significant reduction in the cost of care. The savings in time and travel is critical in rural areas where specialists have “a lot of ground to cover” in order to see and treat patients.
- Physical therapy: Synzi’s virtual care platform is also helping home health agencies maximize the productivity of their PTs and PTAs. With Synzi, therapists help patients improve their movement and manage their pain more efficiently via HIPAA-compliant video and messaging. The flexibility in providing care virtually also helps agencies when a therapist is unexpectedly unavailable for an upcoming appointment. Other available therapists can use the Synzi platform to provide short-term coverage via video. Appointments will not always need to be rescheduled and patients will be able to access the therapy they need on a more consistent basis.
- Diabetes management: Synzi’s platform is used by home health clinicians to connect new patients to specialists who can provide recently diagnosed patients with education and tools needed for effective self-care. Also, the clinician can incorporate the agency’s nutritionist into a video-based virtual visit to review the patient’s dietary patterns (e.g., omitted meals, sporadic intake, and poor food choices or amounts that may exacerbate glycemic control). HIPAA-compliant video and messaging helps support patients as they embark on the management, prevention, and lifestyle changes needed to improve outcomes and quality of life.
With the Synzi platform, home health clinicians can better collaborate with agency specialists and provide more enhanced on-demand care. In turn, agency specialists can better manage their patients on a regular basis and treat more patients overall.