Home health is growing rapidly as the baby boomer generation hits retirement. As the change in healthcare moves to quality over quantity with the rise in bundled payments, the industry is challenged to provide the best care possible at the lowest cost to the patient and healthcare system.
Many home health agencies have the challenge of providing care over large areas with limited staff. The rise in telehealth is a way to address some of these issues without a drop in quality of care.
Whether you are a physical therapist that specializes in post op orthopedics, a nurse that provides advanced wound care, or an occupational therapist that addresses the correct usage of assistive devices in the home, it helps to be able to communicate with your patients on technical procedures between visits.
Caregivers are wonderful people who give selflessly to help their loved ones. Unfortunately they often lack the training necessary to properly assist and can sometimes make the situation worse when trying to help. Written instructions and visual demonstration are helpful, but make it difficult to ensure that it is properly being done when you (the provider) aren’t there.
Is your patient concerned that he or she put a bandage on correctly? Are they nervous that their wound looks worse than it did yesterday? Are they confused about how to do an exercise or if they’re doing it correctly?
I recently began consulting with In Hand Health and have had these questions in mind as I have learned more about the company’s solution and how it applies to my home healthcare patients.
Prior to my experience with In Hand Health, I likely would have turned to live video services like Skype. However, it and other similar services require you both to be free at the same time, which can be a challenge most days. Not to mention, Skype offers its own bandwidth and technical hurdles that often exceed the technical skill levels of many of my patients.
What I have found here at In Hand Health is a well-rounded solution to these questions and I plan to try it in these situations soon.
For starters, the In Hand Health Patient App allows patients to securely communicate (HIPAA compliant!) with caregivers through recorded videos as well as pictures, audio, and text all from an app on their smartphone that is launched with a simple tap on an icon.
If an issue comes up between visits, patients will be able to quickly contact me for clarification so I can address it before it becomes a serious problem. It should be an effective tool in helping to decrease hospital readmissions and emergency department visits.
The solution also provides tools for creating custom (and secure!) videos with a smartphone. I envision a series of short videos that can address things such as wound care in addition to exercises. With these readily available in the app on their phone, many patients will be able to quickly get their questions answered and, ultimately, feel more secure in between visits with me.
On another angle, I also like how the solution makes financial sense for the home healthcare professional.
For physical therapists who provide home health and wellness services, this solution allows you to stay connected with patients after the course of therapy has ended through easily managed subscriptions. You can set the subscription price points and terms (monthly or annual) as you wish. And again, it provides a bit of a safety net and place to get answers for home patients should issues arise.