Healthcare delivery has been forever impacted by COVID-19 and its preventative restrictions on in-person services. While there have been plenty of doors opened for innovation during this time, some of which we’re all excited to see stick around, there continues to be pressure on certain provider types that is misaligned with funding and resources to sustain those caretakers. Home Health is one post-acute care setting that has felt the burden of this shift toward in-home care delivery. Yet, healthcare communication exchange with these vital healthcare professionals is still a hot mess. Disjointed lines of communication, antiquated exchange methods, and lack of technical tools has left Home Health in the dark and on an island (to overuse analogies a bit). Considering how we can empower and engage Home Health with better connectivity has tremendous opportunity to cultivate better patient outcomes and improve the care experience.
Alleviating Paperwork Problems to Allow Home Health to Address Patient Needs
It is no secret that those who care for patients must subsist on a steady dose of patience and grace. It is very difficult to be on the front lines of caring for the public, especially those battling chronic diseases and comorbidities. Often the diagnoses aren’t the only issues plaguing a provider’s charge, and it’s these additional (yet inextricably related) needs that contribute to a hefty burden on providers most engaged with day-to-day care.
Because Home Health services are provided in the intimate setting of a home, and services rendered are more frequent than your average doctor’s visit, it’s hard to ignore the extenuating circumstances that impact the health problem at hand, mental health and countenance being top of mind. An article published in the National Library of Medicine cited that the psychosocial job demands of Home Health aides has only increased post-pandemic.
How much more important, then, is eliminating cumbersome patient information exchange and clunky manual processes for getting timely data on Home Health patients, as well as providing a secure, reliable means for conveying Home Care notes back to other physicians involved in the care continuum? Better yet, consider the benefit of creating bridges between Home Health aides and mental health professionals to coordinate opportunities for true wellness!
Simple Healthcare Communication Solutions are Key for Connectivity
One of the key considerations when it comes to connecting Home Health providers into the provider network is acknowledging that HH doesn’t always have the sexiest technology suite to leverage. Solutions may be quite limited in terms of technical capabilities, if not overwhelmingly manual in nature. Leveraging a simple, widely-available tool like Direct Secure Messaging is a great, secure way of enabling digital record exchange with a whole network of physicians and care providers. This serves Home Health aides who can deliver their care notes as attachments, as well as recipients who are viewing the records in their EHR (via a connected Direct inbox) for meaningful workflows and easy record management. No more paper copies flying around or requiring several sets of hands and clicks to end up in the right spot.
Recognizing how valuable is Home Health – on the front lines and in the most ubiquitous care setting of all (a patient’s home) – positions the industry to consider how technology can serve and uplift these providers. We cannot get behind mandates that require significant infrastructure and cost to bring post-acute providers into the fold, especially given how heavily the patient population relies on them for their well-being and daily care. So let’s move the needle on patient outcomes by looping in post-acute care to communication strategies, ensuring that Home Health has everything they need to stay connected and provide that hands-on, in-home care that patients have come to rely on.