As the elderly population, witnesses rise in the United States, the demand for home healthcare services is increasing. With Medicare and other insurance programs covering the entire expenses of home care, patients are not reluctant to opt for specialized home care. At present, the majority of the population who are receiving home care comprise older patients over the age of 65 years. Out of this, more than 88% of the senior citizens need assistance with their daily activities such as bathing, shifting in and out of bed, etc.
With the recent development and advancements in the home care industry, more and more patients are relying on assisted care services at home. From older adults to patients with disabilities, all are increasingly opting for home healthcare services. Now, home healthcare agencies are actively working towards offering quality in-house care and reducing unnecessary hospital visits and medical expenses.
Here are five of the latest trends that are likely to affect the home healthcare industry in 2019 and beyond.
1. Home Care to Go the Smarter Way
2. Care to Become More Specialized and Skilled
3. Home Care Patients to Get Medicare Cover
4. Focus on Patient-centric Home Care to Increase
5. Consolidation Between Insurers and Home Care Providers
Let’s have a look at the trending aspects of home care:
Home Care to Go the Smarter Way
Now, with the emergence of latest technologies like sensors, GPS and digital networking platforms, home care services are better. Earlier, there were constraints regarding offering care to patients at home as real-time tracking of their condition was not possible. But with healthcare apps, health apps, and devices, medical professionals get the live status of the patient. Even the old generation today are adapting to technologies to make their living more comfortable. With connected devices, old and disabled patients can stay in constant touch of a physician, family member, and caregivers.
In 2019, the industry is likely to see an increase in use and adaption of voice technology like Alexa and Google Home. With voice search expertise handy, senior patients and people with disabilities can self-report their health stats. They can set the alarm, reminder, and do quite a lot to reduce their burden. Already the popularity of voice technology has started gaining momentum. In the New Year, more and more homes are going to turn smart. This will help home acre agencies who will benefit and use it to improve their services.
Care to Become More Specialized and Skilled
Earlier home care meant light housekeeping services involving non-skilled and non-medical care services. However, the concept started to change from considerably from 2018 when home care agencies in large numbers began to offer more specialized care. Most of these care services are addressing severe health issues like COPD, heart failure, dementia, etc. which is great news for the industry and the patients. The same trend is likely to prevail and grow further in 2019 with multiple drivers prompting home care towards improvement.
Moreover, Medicare advantage is doing every bit to make home care affordable for the patient. With beneficial health plans, home care providers are now able to offer the best care to older adults. Earlier prolonged hospital stay incurred huge expenses. But with insurance programs making care affordable, older patients need not stay in the hospital for post care and can get extended treatment for their condition at home. Hence, the year 2019 is going to witness further advancements in the field of specialized care. Also, home care is no longer a ground for non-skilled professionals. As specialized care programs soar up, they need skilled experts to offer care that adheres to program’s quality standards. For sure the New Year is going to witness an increasing number of efficient home care programs that comes with the high wage for the workers and quality assistance for patients.
Home Care Patients to Get Medicare Cover
The transformation in the home care industry began in 2018. Last year in April, the Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the inclusion of some non-skilled in-home services under the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. Since the time of its announcement, home care providers started to form payer partnerships and began finding out ways to best leverage this opportunity. Around 35% of Medical beneficiaries have already signed up for MA, and the enrolment number is increasing every quarter. The whole healthcare industry is under transformation with the introduction of MA. According to experts the opportunity to explore MA benefits will not come before 2020. However, providers are already preparing for MA.
Therefore in the year 2019, we can expect to see more MA enrolments and an increasing number of patients opting for home care. With MA in action, the cost of home care will further reduce. We may reach a time when the insurer will have its ownership stake in the home care space.
Focus on Patient-centric Home Care to Increase
We are in the digital age where technological transformation is not the only great thing to happen. When it comes to the healthcare domain, a drastic change is noticeable. Now, providers and healthcare professionals are keen on providing patient-centric care. They are trying to add a personal touch to patient care at various stages of the recovery and treatment journey,
Home care already operates on a person-centered care model. Patients who need personalized attention in a homely environment are the ones requesting for home care. As a result, the demand for individual attention and care is increasing manifold. Especially for disabled and old adults, their family members are looking for person-centered care only. This trend is already prevailing, and it is likely to impact at a large scale in 2019 and beyond reports MedicoReach. Care providers are going to focus on overall well-being including a patient’s physical, emotional, financial and social health.
Consolidation Between Insurers and Home Care Providers
In the past few years, the trend that’s creating buzz is mergers. A growing number of acquisitions and mergers between insurers and home care providers are taking place. This trend is going to continue in 2019 and the following years as well. The primary purpose of such alliances is to provide value-based care to in-home patients at an affordable price. As more and more insurer tie-up with home care agencies, patients are likely to avail integrated services. A comprehensive approach will allow providers to meet medical needs with quality care.
As New Year commences, every industry witnesses some changes or the other. Home healthcare industry too is not going to be an exception. With new insurance plans and federal agencies’ involvements, in-home patient care has taken a whole new dimension. As more patients start depending on home care, insurers and care agencies are coming up with new programs and strategies. All their initiatives aim to accommodate the growing demand and address the needs whenever necessary.
Looking to at these trends, we can foresee that 2019 is going to be promising for the industry. Most home care agencies will dedicate resource to ensure better caregiver engagement, technical developments and delivering of wholesome patient care. With technology playing its diverse role and making a valuable contribution to the industry, there are lots to unveil. We must wait to see something extraordinary making its way.