Interested in Growth
More than 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day in the U.S. This population shift is helping to position the home health industry for significant growth as boomers will need more care for their clinical and chronic needs. Definitive Healthcare recently surveyed a number of home health agencies and concluded that nearly half (43% of surveyed agencies) are planning to expand or add services in the next two years given the expected demand for home care.
Chronic care is a key area for investment. Jason Krantz, CEO of Definitive Healthcare, shared that aging baby boomers “fall within the very age demographic most frequently suffering from chronic disease states and conditions, like Alzheimer’s, cardiac diseases, COPD, and diabetes.” Home health agencies are helping patients age in place by providing condition-specific care.
- A majority (nearly 70%) of the surveyed agencies already provide specialized services for patients with chronic conditions and treat an average of nine disease states / conditions.
- Wound care (89.9%), cardiac disease states (87.2%), and COPD (84.4%) are the top three conditions currently served by surveyed agencies.
Almost three-fourths (73%) of respondents plan to either expand upon or initially offer specialized care services, with an emphasis on the care or treatment of specific chronic diseases or conditions. The top three future service lines are palliative care (17.2%), veteran-specific care (11.2%) and mental health services (10.3%).
Not surprisingly, agencies expressed concern about the future of their agency. Almost two-thirds (61.6%) indicated that recruiting qualified staff is a key concern. Profitability (42%), and an uncertain regulatory climate (34%) are also top issues keeping agency executives “up at night.”
Investing in Telehealth and Virtual Care
Given its ability to help staff manage, monitor, and motivate patients with chronic conditions, telehealth was highlighted as an area for future investment amongst surveyed agencies. The study highlighted that 48% of respondents anticipate using telehealth offerings by 2021— more than double the current rate (20.8%) of telehealth usage. Almost a third (32.5%) plan to offer or expand on using mobile apps for virtual visits. Two-way video (31.2%) and SMS/text (22.1%) are also in future offerings or expansion plans for a number of agencies.
Investing in a virtual care communication platform is critical in rounding out the care of patients with chronic conditions. Implementing Synzi’s virtual care communication platform is helping healthcare organizations better manage, monitor, and motivate patients with chronic conditions. Using Synzi’s technology, agency administrators can program HIPAA-compliant messages which remind patients of their daily medication regimen and provide diet/lifestyle suggestions. The platform also enables agency clinicians to conduct video-based virtual visits with the patients, helping to minimize clinicians’ drive time and maximize their available time to see more patients, more frequently. With Synzi, agencies are more actively engaging patients throughout the episode of care to drive better satisfaction and outcomes for all involved.