09 Jan Top Five Home Health Trends to Watch in 2024
A look at the latest trends in home healthcare tech
Given today’s technology, the future of home health and hospice looks brighter than ever. Today, agencies can give better care to patients in new ways thanks to innovative trends in home health care and technology. New technologies are finding their way into the living rooms of regular people. Home health technology, once an emerging field, is now thriving. Companies are developing solutions to improve home health care. At the same time, these products are boosting efficiency and productivity. New developments on the horizon will alter the way we provide healthcare at home. In this article, we dive into the top trends in home healthcare technology for 2024, and how they promise to improve care and generate profits. Here are the top 5 home health technology trends that will be the most significant this year.
- The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in home health tech increases.
- Technologies like telemedicine and virtual psychology address the rise in mental health issues.
- Virtual roles become more prevalent in home health and hospice.
- Social media marketing tools secure more home health referrals.
- Cybersecurity remains top of mind in the healthcare sector.
These trends in home healthcare technology are sure to influence the market in 2024. As the sector grows and evolves, home care executives must stay ahead. They can leverage the latest tech to improve care and earnings.
1. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in home health tech increases
Anywhere you go nowadays, you’ll hear something about the latest AI advancement. AI software has the potential to change medical and economic perspectives in healthcare. Likewise, there are many use cases for AI in home health and hospice. Home care leaders are embracing AI.
“AI technologies are changing and improving faster than we can implement and will impact the future of home care indefinitely,” Michael Slupecki, CEO of Griswold Home Care, recently predicted. He listed ways agencies can use AI, from crafting job descriptions to automating training. AI can save time on administrative tasks, such as scheduling, billing, and record-keeping. This frees up time for healthcare workers to focus on direct patient care.
Through predictive analytics and machine learning, AI can detect problems early. Applying predictive analytics to staff documentation can alert managers to risks for falls, UTIs, or medication issues. AI can identify anticipated problems in the early stages. Then, it uses these predictions to suggest care plans. As a result, every client receives patient-specific interventions. Home health and hospice agencies that implement these tools may see a dramatic drop in hospital stays and better patient satisfaction scores. Both lead to agency growth.
2. Technologies like telemedicine and virtual psychology address the rise in mental health issues
Three years after the initial COVID-19 pandemic, home health and hospice agencies are still grappling with its effects on mental health. In fact, the National Poll on Healthy Aging reported that nearly one in five older adults aged 50–80 talked to their doctor about a mental health concern in the past two years. Depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and substance abuse are among the common observations. “While this is true for nearly every age group and demographic, [yet] older adults remain at particular risk for poorer outcomes if they don’t have adequate support and access to mental health care,” said Kathleen Cameron, senior director of NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging.
Access to (or lack of) mental health care has led to a new trend in home health care tech. An increase in mental and behavioral health issues has prompted entrepreneurs to look at new ways to keep seniors engaged. Telemedicine, virtual psychology, and other technological solutions are addressing the rise in mental illness. Telehealth services let patients get therapy without leaving their homes. Patients are safer since virtual care reduces exposure to infections, falls, and accidents. Patient satisfaction is also higher. The home setting is more intimate, private, and devoid of stress from transportation and traffic, so patients are happier.
Technologies like RPM allow agencies to interact with patients in their communities daily. Some platforms also give users self-help exercises, education, and other mental health resources. These tech advancements give homebound seniors access to mental health resources they need. It keeps them connected with others so they can maintain their mental health in a secure environment. As a result, agencies can prevent hospital visits, boost satisfaction, and improve outcomes.
3. Virtual roles become more prevalent in home health and hospice
Technology has made it possible for companies to hire virtual workers. According to the Harvard Business Review, executives expect growth in both remote and hybrid positions. Remote roles in home health and hospice agencies are likely to grow this year as well.
Remote work enables home health companies to boost efficiency. At the same time, companies cut expenses and use fewer resources than hiring traditional office staff. That’s because remote workers minimize office space requirements. In addition, companies can recruit experienced home health staff from anywhere. That means a bigger talent pool and potentially lower compensation (supply vs. demand).
Remote workers can provide virtual support, including scheduling, care coordination, and data entry. Virtual workers can phone patients and manage their interdisciplinary needs from a distance, increasing communication and collaboration. Virtual staff can review charts to ensure care plans are compliant with regulations and followed by field staff. All of these tasks can lead to better patient outcomes and client satisfaction.
Remote workers can provide virtual training for staff, reducing onboarding time and costs. Take for instance an agency with multiple sites. A remote trainer can virtually meet with staff instead of traveling to each branch. Of course, there are times when there is no substitute for in-person meetings and on-site work. That said, embracing remote workers and these technologies can position companies for more success in 2024.
4. Social media marketing secures more home health referrals
Social media is a long-standing megatrend that continues to impact consumers’ health decisions. Four in five adults use social media to research their care, according to an article in the National Library of Medicine. Withal, a smart social media presence boosts exposure, credibility, and image. In one study, 81% of patients thought a strong social media profile was a sign that a facility had cutting-edge technology. And 57% said they believe social media would greatly affect their choice of where to go.
To be competitive, home care companies must keep their social media presence current. Patients and caregivers use social media to explore their options. Many times they’ll use the web to find comparable providers. They read reviews and want to hear what others are saying. Social media is an invaluable tool. Agency owners can use it to connect with referral sources and build a successful company.
As the world of health care tech evolves, home health professionals must keep up with social networking trends. In 2024, social media will remain a powerful tool for influencing health decisions. Home health and hospice businesses must develop effective social media strategies. This will enable them to reach target consumers and grow this year.
5. Cybersecurity remains top of mind in the healthcare sector
As technology evolves, so does the demand for enhanced security. Cybersecurity will stay among the primary challenges for home care businesses this year. Companies must preserve patient data and secure networks from hostile assaults. Malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and password theft threaten agency operations. “When this happens, the patients suffer,” said Dan L. Dodson, CEO of a national healthcare cybersecurity firm. “That’s what gets these conversations moved up into the C-suites. These attacks impact patients, No. 1, and revenue, No. 2. If you’re not prepared for these attacks, they can be pretty devastating in both areas
Home care businesses must maintain system security and data privacy. Organization leaders must stay up to speed on security threats and implement best practices. Security measures such as encryption, authentication, and two-factor authentication are a good start. To protect technological systems from threats, risk assessment and patching are critical. In addition to prevention, a response plan is essential. “The problem for most home-based care agencies is they don’t know what to do when a cyber event happens,” said Barbara Citarella. Citarella is a subject matter expert to the United States Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response.
The first step is to evaluate the current home health software or hospice software product. Agencies must make observations about their capabilities and limitations. When an agency is under attack, it must be able to carry on operations offline. Platforms like Alora Home Health Software offer offline capabilities. Created with ease of use and security in mind, Alora Offline stores HIPAA-compliant notes when systems are offline. Then staff can securely transmit to the full suite when operations resume. Alora uses a one-click transfer that is unmatched in the industry. Agencies who are interested can schedule a free demo. Looking ahead, home health and hospice leaders can protect their businesses now. Prioritize cyber security, and provide staff with the training and education they need.
The possibilities for home health technology are vast, and there is no telling what the future of healthcare holds. Investing in the right technology saves time and money. At the same time, staying on top of the latest trends in home health care tech can help companies give the best care. These technology trends will undoubtedly enhance the way home healthcare is delivered. Expect to see creative solutions to make our business more efficient — and more effective. Keep an eye out for these trends in the coming year to make sure your organization is keeping up with the times.
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Alora provides agencies a complete solution for home health agency workflow. We work with industry professionals and our agency partners to incorporate the latest homecare technologies, offering our customers a strong EHR for home health where everything you need is in one complete system. Alora’s worry free workflow paired with phenomenal customer service helps agencies stay on top of regulatory requirements, keep records and data organized, and centralize all important information securely and easily.