When getting home health care makes sense

Over the past twenty years, concerted efforts have been made by companies in many different industries to make convenience for their customers a fundamental tenet of their offering. It used to be that food delivery required fumbling with menus, making a phone call, then not knowing if dinner was coming in 15 minutes or 50. Calling a taxi was hit or miss, especially when you had to get to the airport . . Buying a new iPhone, for some people, meant camping outside a store.

While hundreds of billions of dollars of investment have gone into the advancements needed to make “buying” as easy as the click of a button, healthcare remains mired in a daunting cycle of inconvenience and frustration. . The sad reality is that many patients delay recommended care or diagnosis because of inconvenience. Once we lose that momentum to meet our needs, it often wears off, which means late diagnoses and even more expensive treatments in the long run.

The best way to encourage patients to take control of their care is to make it easy for them. This means online scheduling (who wants to talk to a human these days!?), wide availability (early, late, weekends) and making sure they have transparent cost information at their fingertips. tomorrow. To take it even further, make the total time it takes to get these heals significantly less than they’re used to – 50% or even 80% shorter. Removing travel time to a doctor’s office or lab does almost all of this on its own, but the model only works if the same quality of care can be provided.

Of course, we can’t move all medical interactions home, nor should we. But the size of the global home healthcare market is already large and growing rapidly – ​​expected to reach $273.9 billion by 2027 from $181.9 billion in 2020. Several key factors have driven this trend: growth rapid increase in the elderly population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases, growing need for cost-effective health care benefits due to rising health care costs, and technological advancements in home care devices, to name a few. only a few.

Ultimately, reversing the healthcare experience and bringing it home can dramatically take it from headache-inducing to – dare we dream? – pleasant. However, it must also be accompanied by at least cost neutrality, or even better, cost reduction. If a patient is already in the doctor’s office and has a lab on site, the patient should use that lab. If they don’t have mobility or time constraints, going to a facility will often be more affordable (even if significantly less convenient). However, when it comes to foregoing care, the financial implications can be dramatic. In many situations, early diagnosis leads to early intervention, and early intervention leads to better outcomes for patient, provider, and payer.

Where home care can really shine is in value-based care arrangements. Finding out early that a person has high blood pressure can lead to drugs that reduce the risk of heart failure, and paying for an at-home exam is well worth the expense for the overall savings it can confer on anyone with the responsibility of pay. A recalcitrant patient can agree to spend 5 minutes of their day instead of 90 for this type of assessment, and a real “win-win” can be achieved. Of course, risk stratification is how the economy ultimately works, which means a significant investment on the data and analytics side of healthcare providers or payers – you don’t suddenly want to make home checks for all of America, at least not until we have flying clinical drones.

The healthcare of the future may look a lot like the healthcare of today, simply faster, more convenient and more affordable when considering the full patient and money journey. We don’t need magic technology to solve these problems, we just need a commitment for different organizations within the value chain to work together, even if it means a small additional expense to be saved considerably later. It is achievable today; one day soon, getting basic diagnoses will be as easy as getting food delivered to your doorstep.

Photo: SDI Productions, Getty Images

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