The home care health industry of 2017 was tumultuous for many. There were many new regulations to contend, for example the requirements for emergencies. Many other issues were also grabbed the attention of the industry. According to experts, the health care industry (home) will continue to be as interesting and exciting in 2018 too. Here are some of the top home care trends 2018, which home health providers have to bear in mind while strategizing for 2018:
Home care trends 2018
New VBP models will keep healthcare providers alert
One of the home care trends 2018 which home healthcare services providers will have to watch out for, is the better services which they would have to provide due to the VBP (Value Based Payment) models. Healthcare providers would have to innovate their ways of serving their patients to get the best client outcomes.
Traditionally, healthcare has been provided by many different entities. In order to make home healthcare services according to the VBP models, the industry will have to perceive healthcare holistically, and work in tandem with each other. They will have to invest resources and time, in order to improve communication not only with their own team members, but with all the people associated in the care of a particular individual.
Thus improved communication between various players is one of the home healthcare trends to watch out for this year. The potential for the new value based system is huge, as it can lead to great outcomes at low cost. To achieve this goal, home healthcare services have to be delivered at the right time and place.
EVV choices of states will impact healthcare services
States in the US have till January 1 of 2019, to establish their standards for EVV or Electronic Visit Verification, for personal/home care services funded by Medicaid. The stated who do not meet the deadline will lose a certain amount of the FMAP funding.
There are two options for the states, from which they can choose from. They can choose a closed system approach. In this approach, the state will mandate a specific vendor for EVV. In the open system approach, the state will establish the criteria that agencies must meet, but they can choose their selected EVV vendor.
Another approach, is a hybrid one, in which the state would provide list of EVV vendors which the home care service providers can choose from. Some states have delegated the decision to MCOs or Managed Care Organizations in their state.
More states are opting for the hybrid system. Close system may drastically reduce the choice for healthcare agencies, and affect the quality of the services as well as make the home healthcare more expensive.
The latest trends on home health care 2018, might be that healthcare agencies will get involved with the home health care association in their region and state, such as NAHC, ElevatingHome, and NHPCO.
Labor crisis may be a problem
Resolving the crisis of labor, which has been growing in the home healthcare industry, will be another home care trends 2018. Almost 60% homecare providers have identified shortage of labor as one of the major threats to business growth. The wages in home health care are not attractive enough to attract workers.
Labor crisis is a social and perhaps even a political issue which will take time to be resolved. There will soon be a catch 22 situation, as workers prefer to work in higher paying industries than home healthcare. But people are getting older, and they have to be taken care of. There has to be an increase in government funding for worker wages.
One of the latest trends on home health care 2018 will be that agencies too will have to become appealing employers, that qualified workers would like to work for. They would have to provide plenty of correct training and empower their employees with right tools. Back office workflow and care delivery systems will have to be streamlined, so that it does not become time consuming and cumbersome for employees.
Agencies will have to make documentation and communication methods so as to enhance employee retention and attract new employees. The home healthcare agencies will have to create an environment in the workplace, in which the employees feel empowered and respected, inspiring them to stay on, even if wages are low. This is another home care trends 2018 to look out for.
Competition with online and offline retailers
There has been a big growth in homecare and retail in 2018. Pharmacies, big-box stores, local mall stores have begun to sell medical equipment to assist the elderly, and these stores are frequently providing healthcare services too.
Home care service providers can expand their market, as more seniors may choose to stay at home due to easy availability of products. But they also face stiff competition, as now the elderly have more options to choose from. If they can be helped to shave with the new Gillette assisted razor by a family member, for example, they will not ask for the services of a home healthcare provider which is much more expensive.
Home healthcare trends to watch out for this year are that agencies will have to work out innovative ways to attract elderly clients. They have to contend with new technology such as Amazon’s Echo which shows the potential to become a big help to stay-at-home elderly. Besides, Amazon’s ‘home services’ can bring personal assistance to the elderly, which would again counter the services of home healthcare service providers.
More variation in care due to person centered approach
People are now interested in holistic care, which tends to their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Home care trends 2018 will be to concentrate on the holistic healing approach, as healthcare agencies strive to become a partner with the person in delivering the care suited only for him/her. This will lead to customized care, which might result in better customer satisfaction, and may be one of the factors that the elderly retain the services of home care providers.
The goal of this is to improve care outcomes, and to leverage the immense potential for better resource allocation while reducing the cost of home care.
Using data to improve operations
Till now, the focus had been on using data to improve diagnosis and treatment. A home care trends 2018, experts say will be to use data for care delivery, to improve workflow efficiency and productivity.
For home healthcare service providers to provide the best care, national, regional and state associations have to share best practices. This would also help small healthcare agencies to survive in the increasingly data driven home healthcare industry.