In September, at the National Private Duty Association’s conference in Orlando, I will be facilitating a panel of industry experts on the topic of technology (including telehealth) in home care. This topic continues to grow in importance and in potential, for the home care client, the family, the clinicians and for companies like ours, delivering “non-medical” home care.
In the company associated with this blog, Support For Home, we provide non-medical home care. Our employees focus on support of our clients’ Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental ADLs. We do not provide nursing or other medical services.
However, the state of health of our clients is a large factor in planning and executing the care we provide. We are strong believers in the important of telehealth / telemedicine and technology for home healthcare.
There is an excellent analysis, “The Connected Patient: Charting the Vital Signs of Remote Health Monitoring,” published by the California HealthCare Foundation. The author, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, takes a look at the current state of remote health monitoring / telehealth.
One of the critical points she makes – and why this subject is so important to us in non-medical home care – is that 75% of annual health spending in the U.S. is associated with “chronic diseases, notably chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and diabetes…”
As the author points out, to “successfully manage these conditions, patients need to regularly collect relevant health data,” communicate it to medical professionals and modify their behavior as a result. The collection and communication of that data is not something that is going to take place through daily nurses’ visits or trips to the doctor. Our Home Care Aides, on the other hand, are restricted in terms of their role in the process. Meanwhile, the patient (our home care client) may have a very limited ability to participate, due to their conditions.
What is left? Technology that enables remote monitoring, analysis and feedback to the patient / client is really critical to managing this challenge in any rational, humane way. The author of the study is careful to point out that there is still debate as to how much savings (financial) would result from a more rapid adoption of advanced technology for home healthcare. As a non-medical home care provider, I can tell you very clearly that the human savings would be astronomical.
In the next few days, I will talk more about this study and what we believe is a very clear case for improving medicine for our clients — doctors’ patients — through technology.
Best wishes, Bert