The advent of virtual healthcare has brought about a host of benefits, such as greater convenience, improved accessibility, and better patient outcomes. However, the transition from traditional in-person care to virtual care is not without its challenges. In particular, the home health space faces unique technical and operational barriers that make the adoption of cookie-cutter or fee for service virtual/digital health solutions difficult.
In this blog, we explore two reasons why digital health solutions have struggled to gain adoption across the home health industry.
1. Technical Challenges
One of the primary challenges of virtual healthcare is technical difficulties. Patients who receive care at home may encounter issues such as poor internet connection, lack of familiarity with new software platforms, and incompatible devices. These obstacles can disrupt the continuity of care, cause delays, and create frustration for both patients and providers.
For home health providers, these technical difficulties can be especially problematic. They serve a growing patient population who are usually of higher acuity with a workforce that has minimal bandwidth. Many virtual health solutions on the market require point-of-care clinicians to undergo new training to understand the virtual solution and support their patients with equipment like tablets effectively. For anyone who has dealt with utilizing various devices in a patients home, the challenge is not a matter of “if” technical issues will happen, but “when.” As staffing and resource challenges persist, agencies prioritize clinician satisfaction and reducing employee turnover, causing owners and operators to become even more hesitant about implementing virtual/digital care solutions because they fear it will add more responsibilities to their teams.
2. Operational Challenges
Another significant barrier to the adoption of digital health solutions revolves around operational and workflow challenges. Home health providers have unique workflows, and incorporating new technologies into these workflows can be disruptive and time-consuming.
Many solutions require significant administrative and care team effort, which can take resources away from patient care. Solutions that put an increased load on point-of-care teams, such as managing devices, troubleshooting technical issues, and educating patients, can amplify clinician burnout that limits adoption at scale.
A Solution that Fits
However, there are solutions available that are seamlessly integrated into daily workflows. Our solution is designed to capture relevant patient information between visits without any action required from the point of care teams. Our care navigators work alongside care teams to contact patients via phone calls, which originate from the agency’s main phone line. This approach provides care teams with additional patient information without disrupting their workflow or adding responsibilities. Patients can easily recognize and trust the calls, as they are made directly from the agency’s phone number. Our solution helps overcome many of the technical and operational hurdles to assist care teams in delivering uninterrupted quality care to the patients they serve.
While virtual healthcare has brought about a host of benefits, the home health space faces unique challenges that require tailored solutions. Digital and virtual health solutions designed around fee-for-service models may not be the best fit for this space, given the technical and operational challenges faced by home health providers. However, there are solutions available that are integrated into existing workflows and allow point-of-care teams to provide high-quality care without added responsibilities. By understanding the challenges and seeking solutions that fit, home health providers can leverage the benefits of virtual healthcare to improve patient outcomes.