Senior care facilities: How to help elderly patients reduce healthcare costs

25% of elderly Americans sacrifice their basic needs to afford healthcare costs. Even with these sacrifices, 50 million American adults aged 50 and older are at risk for illness progression—and even death—because costs are still too high. 

The situation is getting even worse as inflation strains the United States economy. The cost of basic needs, healthcare, and senior care facilities are rising, but social security checks remain stagnant.  

By helping your seniors embrace technological advances, you can help reduce the burden of healthcare costs. 

Reducing healthcare costs: Technology’s role

A few decades ago, seniors were reliant solely on in-person healthcare, which gets pricey very quickly. Fortunately, this is no longer the case due to recent advancements in healthcare technology. Patients can now more effectively manage their health issues virtually, at a fraction of the price of in-person care. 

Seniors pay an average of $7,030 per year on healthcare, which is 13% of their total spending. On top of nursing home costs, these fees are often very challenging for seniors to handle, even when they have Medicare.  

Healthcare technologies in the market help seniors spend less on healthcare—for example, Ōmcare Home Health Hub only costs $9 per month—because they provide a solution that reduces the need for healthcare employees day-to-day. Longterm, these technologies reduce costly hospitalizations.   

How to help seniors reduce healthcare costs

There are three main alternatives to in-person healthcare: virtual care, remote patient monitoring, and medication management.   

Virtual care

Virtual care allows your seniors to speak with their physician, receive diagnoses, and learn about their treatment plans—all from inside your facility. A medical care professional provides services through video chats, voice calls, or text messages. 

With virtual care, patients get the care they need, at a far lower cost. The reduction in cost is why many people choose to use virtual care: a RAND study found that “people who preferred video visits were more sensitive to out-of-pocket costs than those who preferred in-person visits.”  

Despite the reduction in costs, quality of care remains the same. The RAND study found that only 2% of those who had a video visit were unwilling to do so again. That means patients are content and happy with the outcome of virtual care. To make virtual appointments as effective as possible, have an employee accompany your seniors, while taking detailed notes. 

Remote patient monitoring

Virtual care is increasingly effective when paired with remote patient monitoring. Using remote patient monitoring, healthcare providers can monitor and manage a senior’s chronic conditions. When any issues arise, they can see the data. They can spot the issue and deliver virtual care. 

By monitoring vitals 24/7, remote patient monitoring: 

  • Reduces and shortens hospitalizations 
  • Decreases emergency room visits 
  • Prevents long-term health complications 
  • Reduces risk of getting infected with COVID-19 and other illness 

When your seniors are healthier and dealing with less complications, they face fewer healthcare costs. Remote patient monitoring also helps your facility and your seniors cut any travel costs. 

Medication management

A key aspect of managing chronic conditions is medication adherence. Unfortunately, seniors are likely to forget to take and refill their medications—leading to $100 billion in preventable medical costs every year.  

Why does medication nonadherence cost so much? The answer is that when seniors aren’t properly taking their medicine, they’re 25% more likely to be hospitalized. That leads to a major hike in emergency healthcare costs.  

To avoid hospitalizations, use healthcare technologies that were created specifically to help seniors manage their medicine. These include: 

  • Automatic pill deliveries 
  • Pre-sorted pill packages dispensed at the right time, in the right dose 
  • Text message, email, or call reminders 
  • Automatic refills 
  • Adherence tracking  

Medication adherence technologies help seniors stay on track of their proper dosage schedules, leading to less health complications and less costs. 

Boosting healthcare tech adoption

No matter what healthcare technology you’re introducing to your facility, follow these tips to improve adoption among your seniors:  

  • Find simple, intuitive technologies that are easy to use, with few, well-marked buttons. 
  • Make sure the technology is accessible for seniors, with features like larger text sizes and speech-activation.  
  • Provide well-written, easy-to-follow instructions. 
  • Offer extra in-person technology coaching. 
  • Assure seniors that their data is safe—only 1 in 10 seniors feel confident that their interactions with healthcare tech will be kept private. Address these privacy concerns. 
  • Educate seniors on how the technology will help them, improve their health outcomes, and reduce their costs.  

And finally, make sure your technological options are actually affordable to your seniors. One way to increase affordability is finding a technology that offers many key features in one. 

Ōmcare brings it all together, for less than $10 a month

If you’re looking for an all-in-one healthcare solution that allows for virtual care and medication adherence, consider the Ōmcare Home Health Hub. The technology: 

  • Stores up to a 30-day supply of multi-dose pouched medication  
  • Provides a video portal for medication adherence tracking 
  • Connects patients with providers virtually 

Our 3-month pilot showed that the Ōmcare Home Health Hub drove a 98% dose-level adherence rate. At the end of the pilot, all 780 participants strongly agreed that Ōmcare helps them remember to take their medications.  

Drive positive health outcomes for your seniors and help them cut their healthcare costs by partnering with Ōmcare for just $9.99 a month per patient. Learn more today. 


telemedicine equipment: automatic pill dispenser

4 top technological solutions to improve medication adherence for Medicare Advantage

55% of senior patients are noncompliant with their medication schedules, which is an issue for Medicare Advantage plans given 41% of the Star Rating depends on beneficiaries properly taking their medicine—especially medications for diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension. 

Having a high Star Rating is key to earning more enrollees—90% of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a plan with a 4.0 rating or above. Focus on improving medication adherence to positively impact your plan’s Star Rating.  

To improve medication adherence, we first have to understand why seniors aren’t taking their medicine properly. 

Understanding the reasons behind medication non-adherence

Some of the top reasons for medication non-adherence include:  

  • Forgetfulness: This is the cause in 63% of cases 
  • Complex regimen: Having too many medications to manage. 
  • Medication schedule is too confusing: 36% of U.S. adults struggle to understand medical terms. 
  • Hassle of refilling prescriptions: In one study, 20% of patients didn’t renew their prescriptions on time, and another 10% put off refilling their prescriptions.  

What do all of these reasons for non-adherence have in common? They have solutions—especially cost-effective technology that takes the burden off healthcare teams. Here are the top technological solutions to help Medical Advantage plans improve medication adherence. 

Technology helps seniors take their medicine properly

1. Platform to virtually connect patients to providers 

Virtual appointments and messaging systems help patients easily refill their prescriptions. Using online communications, patients avoid an unnecessary trip into the doctor’s office—and this saves time for busy healthcare providers, too.  

If you’re worried that telehealth will cause a decline in quality care, don’t be. 82% of patients say that telehealth is just as effective as in-person care. After connecting online, patients can have medications delivered right to their doorstep 

2. Automatic pill dispensers 

Another way to increase medication adherence among beneficiaries is by using an automatic pill dispenser. High-quality dispensers on the market automatically provide pre-slit packages of multi-dose medication at the right time.  

The dispenser helps patients that might otherwise forget to take their medication, plus it aids those with a complex regimen. With a dispenser, medication adherence is no longer dependent on whether the patient understands their schedule or not. Technology provides the medication they need, when they need it.   

3. Medication reminders

Beyond pill dispensers, some patients need more reminders to ensure they take their medicine. Automatic medication reminders often come in the form of text messages or emails, and they’re a very effective way to help forgetful seniors take their medicine on time. 

Medication reminders often go a step further with notifications to get refills and attend medical appointments. All of these reminders, used in combination, help seniors stay on track and adherent to their medication schedules.   

4. Adherence tracking

To make sure your efforts are successful, we recommend an adherence tracking technology. This is a great alternative to relying on self reports—which can often be highly inaccurate. Dispensing data and video observation enable reporting when a patient misses a dose.   

That way, providers are directly notified when a patient is being non-adherent to their medication schedule, giving them the chance to respond quickly. 

Finding the right medication adherence technology

Medication adherence is very important to improve a plan’s Star Rating. We highly recommend looking for technology that includes:  

  • A communication channel between healthcare professionals and families  
  • Pill dispenser 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Medication adherence tracking 

The Ōmcare Home Health Hub® has all of these features to help Medicare Advantage plans increase medication adherence among senior patients. Reach out to Ōmcare today to learn more!  


The Omcare Home Health Hub with the door open to display the roll of medications.

Ōmcare selected as a 10 Most Innovative Digital Therapeutics Companies of 2022 by Insights Care

Omcare: Enabling One-Touch Access to Healthcare and Dose-Level Medication Adherence

What is the best thing to do for yourself or your loved ones when going through illness?

The only correct answer is CARE! People are most comfortable when they are in their own place of comfort. When illness occurs, individuals’ first instinct is to instantly check it with healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and medical assistance.

For various reasons, going to healthcare or medical care centre is not always a viable option. In such a situation, a digital healthcare solution can prove to be a great sigh of relief.

A remote digital care solution provider company, Ōmcare, came into existence to provide effective healthcare services for you and your loved ones from the comfort of your home.

Based in Minneapolis, Ōmcare is a digital health company that aims to change the way the world cares by extending the reach of caregivers, increasing medication adherence, and improving treatment outcomes through the power of remote care and two-way video technology. By partnering with pharmacies, payers, providers, and family caregivers, Ōmcare strives to help people live healthier, more vibrant, independent lives and reduce healthcare costs.

Dedicated to providing one-touch access to various healthcare needs of the people is Ōmcare’s Founder and CEO, Lisa Lavin.

Let’s dive into the story of Ōmcare in its ambitious journey to become an efficient remote care solution.

Promoting Independence and Dignity for Aging Adults

Ōmcare is a digital health company that has pioneered a customizable home health platform that enables one-touch access to telehealth services, aggregated RPM, and medication dispensing with visual confirmation of medication adherence.

We all have those extra special people that impact us deeply at some point in our life. For founder Lisa Lavin, this special person was her grandmother, Mildred. Mildred was Lisa’s primary caregiver during a difficult period in her childhood.

Lisa and her grandmother were very close. As Mildred aged, she developed dementia and was eventually placed in a nursing home because there was no other way to help her maintain her independence.

Through this experience, Lisa became impassioned not only for her grandmother but for all aging adults. Lisa vowed that she would do everything she could to promote independence and dignity for older adults. “This generation deserves much more than a nursing home,” says Lisa. “They deserve connectedness, love, and a full, healthy, liberated life.

All-in-one Healthcare Solution

Home is the new site of care, but it is messy and requires many solutions pieced together today to work. And the patient is always in charge of piecing them together by themselves.

For example, if your mom has a telehealth appointment. Hopefully, she has a tablet, and if she does, she knows where it is, and it’s charged. Then if she needs to take her blood pressure or give the doctor any other vitals, she needs to track down those devices too. It simply doesn’t work.

Ōmcare opens up the home as a legitimate site of care by creating a single, all-in-one solution that addresses consumer expectations while ensuring the comprehensive suite of capabilities required for the home is together in an easy-to-use, one-touch interface. It brings everything together—down to the data.

Greater Reach and Lower Cost

The world’s healthcare needs are on a constant rise. Getting customized medical attention from time to time requires people to keep visiting healthcare centers from time to time and also pay high amounts for simple consultations.

It is difficult for older adults to visit doctors regularly. The chances of worsening their health cannot be neglected if they have to go to hospitals on a regular basis. Ōmcare provides such people with the go-to option for getting one-stop assistance for their healthcare needs.

Ōmcare allows people to age in place, bringing humanity and liberation to the aging process. It also provides greater access to care to more people since it’s less expensive and can reach rural areas,” says Lisa.

Continue reading the full article from Insights Care.


Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare: What's the difference?

Making decisions that impact your physical and financial well-being can be confusing. Should you pick Medicare Advantage, or Original Medicare? What’s the difference? Here’s a comparison of your two options. 

What is Medicare?

To dive into the differences between Medicare plans, we have to understand Medicare as a whole: it is federally-funded healthcare insurance. Medicare plans are much more cost-effective compared to private insurance plans.   

Most people who sign up for Medicare are 65 or older, but it also assists younger people with certain disabilities and anyone with End-Stage Renal Disease. No matter why you qualify for Medicare, you have the choice between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare. 

Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare

Coverage

When we say coverage, we mean “What will the Medicare plan pay for?” 

Prescription Drugs 

Medicare Advantage often covers prescription drugs. However, only certain plans cover medications—if you need prescription drugs covered, make sure to pick a plan with Part D coverage. Each plan will cover different drugs. 

With Original Medicare, you’ll either have to purchase separate coverage for drugs or pay for them out-of-pocket.  

Medicare Advantage offers extra coverage 

Medicare Advantage covers more medical services—like dental care, vision, and hearing—that Original Medicare doesn’t. Both Advantage and Original usually cover medically necessary services or supplies. 

Medicare Advantage requires approval  

With Medicare Advantage, you often need approval of services or supplies before the plan covers it. In contrast, with Original Medicare, you usually don’t have to get any sort of approval ahead of time.  

Costs

When considering coverage, cost is a very important part of the equation. First, we need to understand a few insurance terms: 

  • Premium: The amount you’ll pay for your health insurance per month. 
  • Deductible: A specified amount of money that you agree to pay before your insurance pays. 
  • Coinsurance: The amount you pay for covered health care after you meet your deductible. 

AARP writes, “The federal government sets the premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for Part A (hospitalizations) and Part B (physician and outpatient services).”  

Original Medicare  

Most people qualify for premium-free Part A—meaning your hospitalizations are covered with no monthly fee. As for Part B, you pay a premium for that. 

As for out-of-pocket costs, you usually pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after your deductible. Before you meet your deductible, you cover all the costs yourself. There’s no cap on out-of-pocket costs.  

Many people who enroll in Original Medicare enroll in Medigap policy too, which helps cover the costs of:  

  • Copayments 
  • Coinsurance 
  • Deductibles 

Aside from Medigap, you can pay for these costs using coverage from a former employer or union, or Medicaid. 

Medicare Advantage 

Similarly to Original Medicare, most people qualify for premium-free Part A. As for Part B, you pay a monthly premium. Plus, it’s possible you’ll have to pay a separate premium to the plan. Premium costs vary greatly depending on what plan you pick.  

Out-of-pocket costs also vary by plan, but there is a yearly limit on out-of-pocket costs for Part A and B. Once you reach your plan’s limit, you won’t have to pay anymore for the rest of the year.  

As for Medigap, you can’t buy it and you don’t need it when with a Medicare Advantage plan.

Breakdown of costs 

At the end of the day, costs depend on your individual plan. Many seniors do feel more comfortable with a Medicare Advantage plan, because there’s a yearly limit on costs, plus more coverage in general. 

After costs, there’s still one more factor to consider. 

Freedom of choice: Doctors and hospitals

The last question to ask yourself is, “Can I choose my doctor and provider?” 

Original Medicare offers more freedom. You can go to any doctor or hospital that takes Medicare, and you usually won’t need a referral to see a specialist. 

Medicare Advantage has more limitations. Typically, you can only use doctors who are in the plan’s network and service area. If you want to see a specialist, you often will need a referral.  

Quick Summary

We’ve thrown a lot of information at you, so here is a quick summary of it all: 

  • Coverage: Medicare Advantage offers more coverage. 
  • Cost: Original Medicare may be less expensive if you have minimal healthcare needs, but Medicare Advantage offers a yearly cap on out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • Choice: Original Medicare offers more freedom of choice in doctors and hospitals. 

Ōmcare engages with Medicare plans 

Ōmcare partners with organizations that are seeking to:  

  • Increase access 
  • Improve health outcomes 
  • Reduce costs 

Ōmcare is actively engaging with Medicare plans—both traditional and Advantage—to help bring technology into the home as part of the costs you already pay. Learn more about how we partner.  

 


Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan: What you need to know

If you’re a senior looking for affordable healthcare, you’ve probably heard of (and may already be using) Medicare. It’s federally-funded health insurance, designed to get you the care you need at a lower cost. 

When you sign up for Medicare, you have two options: Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. We’re focusing on Medicare Advantage because it has extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t—including coverage for vision, hearing, dental services, and prescription drug coverage.  

What does Medicare Advantage cover?

Medicare Advantage usually covers all three Medicare Parts: 

  • Medicare Part A: Covering hospitalizations. You usually won’t pay a premium for this, however, it’s possible you won’t qualify for premium-free Part A. If so, you can buy it. 
  • Medicare Part B: Covers medical insurance (non-emergency). Every Medicare Advantage enrollee pays a monthly premium for Part B. 
  • Medicare Part D: Covers prescription drug coverage. You pay for Part D coverage, and you’ll have extra out-of-pocket costs throughout the year. Only some Medicare Advantage plans offer this coverage. 

We’ve covered the basics of Medicare Advantage, but you have more choices to make when it comes to choosing a plan. It can get confusing, which is why we’ll walk you through what to consider before making your decision.  

What to consider when choosing coverage

Here are five factors to consider when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan: 

Five factors to consider
  • Costs: How much are the premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, and yearly caps? 
  • Coverage: How well does the plan cover your needs?  
  • Prescription drugs: Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs, but plans vary with costs of certain medications and which ones are covered.  
  • Doctor and hospital choice: You’ll only be able to visit doctors and hospitals that are within the plan’s network.  
  • Quality of care: Each Medicare Advantage Plan receives a star rating, so you can see how high its quality of care is before you enroll. Compare your options based on this factor using  an online tool. 

 While you’re considering these factors, we highly recommend documenting your needs. This will help you remember what you need while you’re picking a plan. 

Types of Medicare Advantage Plans

There are different types of plans. Here are the most common types of Medicare Advantage Plans: 

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

An HMO generally limits coverage to care from doctors, hospitals, and providers who are within their network. HMOs typically have lower monthly premiums, but more limitations when it comes to which doctors they cover. With an HMO, prescription costs aren’t usually covered. 

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

Similarly to an HMO, PPO plans have a network of doctors and healthcare providers that are cheaper to use. You can use other providers, but they’re more expensive. You’ll have more flexibility than your typical HMO plan, and unlike HMOs, prescription drugs are usually covered.  

Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS)

Some PFFS plans work with any provider, while others have a network of specific doctors. Often, you can go outside of that network for a higher cost. This plan determines how much it will pay, versus how much you must pay when you get care. Prescription drugs aren’t always covered under an PFFS. 

Special Needs Plans (SNPs)

According to Medicare, “SNPs limit membership to people with specific diseases or characteristics. Medicare SNPs tailor their benefits, provider choices, and drug formularies to best meet the specific needs of the groups they serve.” The chronic or disabling conditions these plans tailor to include: diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and dementia.   

Care will typically be provided by specialists that cover your condition. 

Joining a Medicare Advantage Plan

Once you decide what plan is best for you, all that’s left to do is enroll. You can enroll when you turn 65 or during open enrollment (every year from October 15 – December 7). You’ll also be able to switch plans one time from January 1 – March 31 each year. 

When you’re ready to sign up, Medicare has created a resource to help you through the process.  

Ōmcare engages with Medicare plans

Ōmcare’s goals are to help increase access to senior patients while reducing costs. Yet at the same time, we seek to improve health outcomes. We actively engage with Medicare plans to help bring cost-effective healthcare technology into your home as part of the price you already pay.  

Learn more about how we partner.  


telemedicine equipment: automatic pill dispenser

Ōmcare Achieves Dose-Level Medication Adherence and Creates New Revenue Model for Senior Care

In partnership with Ecumen and Thrifty White Pharmacy, Ōmcare successfully completed a pilot of its first product, the Ōmcare Home Health Hub® proving a new model for additional revenue and dose-level adherence.

[Minneapolis, October 11, 2022]. Ōmcare successfully wrapped their initial pilot in partnership with Ecumen and Thrifty White Pharmacy to test its first product—The Ōmcare Home Health Hub.

The Hub is an all-in-one home telehealth solution that enables remote care and ensures dose-level medication adherence. It stores up to a 30-day supply of multi-dose pouched medication that works in tandem with a video portal, providing visual confirmation that loved ones are taking the right medication at the right time.

Thrifty White Pharmacy provided home-delivered pharmacy fulfillment service for each participant in easy-to-load packaged medications. Then, over the course of the 3-month pilot, participants—who took at least 4 medications a day—received calls to their Hub from an Ecumen staff member when it was time to take their medications.

The pilot aimed to measure three key measurements:

  • Evaluate medication adherence among participants
  • Examine patient and caregiver satisfaction
  • Compare operational and cost between remote medication assistance via the Ōmcare Home Health Hub and the traditional med door pass

“This innovation sparked our interest because we saw it as a way to help older adults live independently longer,” said Shelley Kendrick, president and CEO of Ecumen, a nonprofit provider, developer and operator of living spaces and services for older adults. “As we seek to find ways to serve people wherever they call home, medication management solutions like this are key.”

Overall, the pilot successfully demonstrated improvements in all three areas. With 780 calls, lasting an average of three minutes, the results showed:

  • The participants had 98% dose-level adherence
  • The medication assistance service via the Hub is 85% more efficient than door med pass
  • 100% of the participants strongly agree Ōmcare helps them remember to take their medications
  • 100% of the participants agree that they're more likely to take their meds using Ōmcare.

“We are grateful to Ecumen and Thrifty White Pharmacy for their commitment and stellar performance in our pilot,” said Lisa Lavin, Chief Executive Officer. “Both organizations continue to innovate to improve health, reduce cost, and elevate the patient and provider experience.”

Ōmcare is scaling up for an early 2023 commercialization and is actively seeking senior care partners who wish to expand their services via technology.

View the full report: Omcare Home Health Hub® Pilot Outcomes Report


Benefits of home care for seniors and how age-tech can help

Before advancements in technology, seniors had no choice but to age in a care facility. Now, it’s no longer the only option. In fact, many seniors prefer not to go into a senior care facility, and would rather stay in their own homes. 87% of older Americans want to age in place, and age-tech can empower them to do so.  

What is age-tech?

Age-tech is technology specifically created for seniors. Seniors living at home, or “aging in place,” rely on healthcare technology to decrease the amount of in-person care they need.   

53% of older Americans would prefer a mix of medical staff and healthcare technology to manage their medical needs. The healthcare age-tech that can help seniors age in place includes: 

  • Medication adherence: These devices help seniors accurately take their medication, in the right dose, at the right time. It includes automatic pill dispensers, medication reminders, and adherence monitoring. 
  • Remote patient monitoring: These devices track the vitals of patients, helping their healthcare providers manage their chronic conditions. 
  • Emergency alert systems: If a senior is in a medical emergency—for example, if they have a heart attack—emergency alert systems can notify healthcare providers, sending help without the patient even calling 911.  
  • Telehealth: Remote messaging systems, video chats, and calls with providers allow seniors to receive medical care in the comfort of their own home. 

Although only 8% of seniors currently have a health and safety device, 70% of seniors made a tech purchase in the past year. Seniors keep reaching for their devices, and AARP says they’re ready for more. There is great potential for seniors to be using healthcare technology to age in place, and home care can help seniors live a higher-quality life. 

Benefits of senior home care with age-tech

Retain their independence

Seniors have spent their entire lives building a home they love, working for themselves, and making choices. When they move into a senior care facility, it can feel like their autonomy has been stripped away from them. They no longer feel that same sense of independence they’ve had throughout their entire life. 

“Many seniors know they need help,” says Mary Sue Patchett, Vice President of Brookdale Senior Living. “But they don’t want to ask for it because they’re afraid of losing their independence.”  

To help seniors retain their independence, home care is key. It allows seniors to live their lives in their own homes, and technology allows them to experience their time without a stay-at-home caregiver constantly looming over their shoulder.   

Far less expensive

Another aspect of independence is financial independence. Unfortunately, 65% of adults said they aren’t saving money to pay for senior living, and senior care facility costs aren’t affordable. The average monthly cost for a semi-private room in a senior care facility is $7,900. Similarly, full-time at-home care is also extremely expensive, with a median of $4,500 per month. 

Along with pricey assisted living and caregiving prices, healthcare expenses are also on the rise. Costs for inpatient care have risen by 195% over the last 20 years, while prices for outpatient services grew by 200%.  

Assisted living facilities, in-home caregiving services, and healthcare are all extremely expensive, and seniors only have a finite amount of retirement savings. However, age-tech can lower the cost. By using age-tech, seniors require less in-person care, without a reduction in quality. 

Overall less fear

When seniors can’t afford to hire help, caregivers in the family usually have to step up to assist them. Family members of seniors spend an average of 24 hours a week providing unpaid care, and this increases when there’s no extra help. In fact, many caregivers need to reduce their hours or quit their jobs to help care for their elderly loved ones. 

Unfortunately, seniors aren’t blind to the impact of their need for care. In fact, Pachett says another reason seniors don’t ask for help is because they’re afraid of “becoming a burden to their children.” She continues, “Instead, they suffer silently and often in isolation.”  

Since age-tech reduces the amount of in-person care seniors need, it can help them feel like less of a burden. This increases the likelihood that they’ll seek care for any medical ailments they’re facing, without worrying about the impact it’ll have on their loved ones.   

Delivering high-quality care with age-tech  

Age-tech helps seniors maintain their independence, save on finances, and drop the fear that they’re a burden. Most importantly, age-tech provides high-quality care that drives positive health outcomes.   

If you’re looking for a healthcare solution for seniors, look no further than the Ōmcare Home Health Hub®. It was specifically designed for elderly patients to help them age in place by providing:  

  • Medication deliveries: We’ll deliver medication directly to your doorstep.
  • Pre-packaged medicine: Up to 30 days of medication comes in easy-to-open pouches, and it is programmed to dispense on time, in exactly the right amount.
  • Medication reminders: You’ll get reminders when it’s time to take medication.
  • Regular check-ins: You can regularly check in with healthcare providers via video chat, calls, or text messaging.
  • Cost effectiveness: After a one-time fee, the Ōmcare Home Health Hub® is only $9.99 per month.

Reach out to Ōmcare today to learn more.


Employee Spotlight: Lexie Wiek

Name: Lexie Wiek 

Title: Customer Care Specialist

Education: I went to the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and received a Bachelor's Degree in both Forensic Science and Biology with a minor in Criminal Justice

Time at Ōmcare: 10 months

1. What led you to Ōmcare? 

I started with Ōmcare by working part time over winter break doing Customer Care. When I was done with school I started to help by testing the Ōmcare Home Health Hub. Last November I was offered a full time job as the Customer Care Specialist.

2. What’s the most rewarding part of working at Ōmcare? 

The most rewarding part of my job at Ōmcare is helping our Lead Users become more adherent with their medications because they can really see a difference personally with their health and wellness.

3. What is your favorite current project you’re working on? 

My favorite project is working on the Lead User Pilot because I love getting to know our Lead Users and I love helping them find solutions that they are proud of.

4. Pick out a core value that means a lot to you. How have you seen this lived out in your time at Ōmcare?

WE are a Team; I love collaborating with different members of our team and learning new perspectives that could help solve a problem or make our product even better!

5. What are you most proud of accomplishing throughout your time at Ōmcare?

I am most proud of the help that we have given to the participants and lead users that we have helped become more adherent leading to them feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

6. Why should someone work at Ōmcare? 

I believe that someone should work for Ōmcare because we are working towards having an amazing product that will truly change people's quality of life and will have a huge impact on the longevity of their lives.


Ōmcare Home Health Hub with the door open

Transitioning to virtual healthcare for senior care facilities: Your ultimate guide

Since January 2020, 400,000 senior care facility staff have quit, but the mass exodus of caregivers started long before then. "We know that even before the pandemic, two years ago, there were already staff shortages," says Susan Reinhard, senior vice president at AARP. "It's a perennial problem." 

Senior care facility staff are leaving the industry due to a number of reasons, including low pay. However, Laurie Brewer, the New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman, says "Sometimes money is not the problem. It's working conditions that are the problem." These conditions include taxing physical and emotional demands, especially as they have watched 200,000 of their residents and colleagues die of COVID-19.  

As senior care facilities continue to face staffing shortages, healthcare technology can step in to provide relief to already-exhausted caregivers. Technology delivers high-quality care with less manpower, and seniors actually prefer this blended approach. 53% of elderly patients say they would prefer their healthcare needs to be met by a mix of staff and technology. 

Transitioning to virtual healthcare isn’t simple, but this guide for senior care facilities breaks the process down into clear, actionable steps.  

Transitioning to virtual healthcare

Step 1: Know what problems virtual healthcare can solve

When transitioning to virtual healthcare, be aware of the limitations. While healthcare technology can ease the burden of a lot of tasks, some will still have to be handled by your staff. For example, you’ll still need staff to change bedding, clean residents, and shift patients to avoid bed sores.  

Although virtual healthcare isn’t appropriate in every situation, virtual healthcare can handle tasks including:  

  • Monitoring chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease 
  • Improving medication adherence with automatic pill dispensers 
  • Interactive patient care (IPC) which connects patients with doctors virtually, via calls, messaging systems, or video chats  
  • Remote vital monitoring that can alert senior care facility staff when there are issues 

Technology also allows residents to connect with providers virtually, which means no traveling to and from the appointments.  

Now that you know when virtual healthcare can be leveraged to assist senior care facility staff, it’s vital to pick the right technology.  

Step 2: Picking the right technology for your facility

When you’re thinking about looking for the right healthcare technology, there are a lot of options to consider. As you do your research, focus on: 

Simple implementation 

Technology should make your staff’s jobs easier, not harder. Look for solutions that are easy to implement, and prioritize companies that assist with implementation. Getting the platform up and running into your senior care facility should be relatively easy. 

Integration 

Another thing to look for is integration of all your needs. It complicates matters if you have to turn to one platform to monitor chronic conditions, and another to improve medication adherence. One interface should allow you to manage all your healthcare needs. 

Easy-to-use 

Look for a user-friendly, intuitive design. Especially for senior patients, who can often feel uncomfortable using new technologies due to the digital divide, ease of use is key. If some of your elderly residents are still struggling, your staff may need to train them in how to use it 

Data analytics 

Without tracking data, it can feel like going through a maze in the dark. When you track analytics, you’ll know what to improve going forward. There are healthcare technologies that automatically collect the data for you, and these are often the best for your senior care facility.  

Step 3: After making a choice, train your staff

When your residents have questions or difficulties using healthcare technology, they will turn to your staff for answers. Your staff should be trained and knowledgeable about the technology you implement.  

Your staff should also be able to handle basic troubleshooting if issues arise. Another way to set your transition up for success is to find a healthcare app that offers ongoing tech support.  

As you’re training your staff, you can pick a few staff members to be on your “super user” team. These team members will know more about the technology than an average staff member, and they can train their peers and offer relief in the face of any issues.  

Step 4: Create documentation

Creating documentation of how to use healthcare technology and the workflow that staff should follow helps you quickly train new staff members as time goes on. Even staff who have already undergone training can quickly and easily access your documentation to answer any questions they may have.   

Documentation can also help you develop a roadmap of how to implement the new healthcare technology. For example, you can outline:  

  • Who will be responsible to explaining the technology to residents 
  • Who will obtain informed consent 
  • Who is responsible for introducing providers to patients 
  • Who will document the needs during the appointment (for example, a medical scribe) 
  • Who will coordinate follow-up appointments 
  • How data will be integrated into your existing systems 

When you have all the steps and processes written down, it’s easier for your staff to implement the healthcare technology and continue to use it properly. 

Step 5: Engage with the residents and their families

The whole process of transitioning to virtual healthcare is for the benefit of your residents. Engage with the residents and their families to figure out any concerns and how to address them, and keep them engaged throughout the process. Similarly to how you’ll train your staff, we also recommend training your residents to allow for easier integration. 

 After you implement your new healthcare technology, continue engaging with residents and their families by asking for feedback. Use their responses to help you make it easier on your residents and for new residents. After all, your residents are your primary concern.  

Ōmcare offers a new standard for care coordination

As caregivers are diminishing, telehealth solutions allow senior care facilities to deliver quality patient care in a unique way. The Ōmcare Home Health Hub® allows you to:  

  • Coordinate: Connect your residents with healthcare providers via live chat. Efficient communication is possible with an interactive interface. 
  • Improve medication adherence: Automatically and accurately dispenses pre-slit packages of multi-dose medication at the right time. 
  • Inform: Dispensing data and video observation allow your staff to be aware of when doses are missed or taken incorrectly. Your staff will receive visual confirmation of the right medicine, at the right time, with the right person.  
  • Effectively manage costs: We’ve focused on creating a customizable, cost-effective solution for your senior care facility that won’t break the bank. 

 Ōmcare’s Home Health Hub® makes transitioning to virtual healthcare easy and keeps your patients healthier. Connect with Ōmcare today to learn more. 


Improve medication adherence: Healthcare best practices for Medicare Advantage

Medication non-adherence is when medication is not taken as prescribed. Especially in patients with a chronic condition, medication non-adherence leads to bad health outcomes and even causes 125,000 preventable deaths every year. 

Medication non-adherence is also an expensive issue. It leads to $100 billion in preventable medical costs every year. Plus, patients who aren’t taking their medicine properly are 25% more likely to be hospitalized—adding more stress to an already overburdened hospital staff. 

All of this begs the question: How can we improve medication adherence? We’ll dive into the details.  

What is medication adherence?

Medication adherence is the ultimate goal. It’s when a patient takes 80% or more of their prescribed medication doses, leading to positive health outcomes and proper management of chronic diseases.  

Currently, only 50% of U.S. adults take their medication properly. This is important especially for Medicare Advantage plans, because 41% of the Medicare Star Ratings is influenced by proper prescription management and medication adherence. Specifically, medication adherence for oral diabetes medications, cholesterol, and hypertension are triple-weighted in a plan’s Star Rating. 

When a plan is rated higher, more people enroll in it. 90% of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a plan with a 4.0 rating or above, which means improving your Star Rating should be your first priority to increase enrollees.   

Here is how to improve medication adherence to help increase your Star Rating:  

How to increase medication adherence

1. Understand the reasons for non-adherence

In order to improve medication adherence, it’s important to understand the reasons why patients aren’t following their medication schedules. Here they are:  

  • Forgetfulness: 63% of medication non-adherence cases are because patients forgot. This is especially a problem for patients with dementia or Alzheimer's 
  • Cost: 1.1 million Medicare patients are expected to die over the next decade due to prescription costs. Even when a patient has great health insurance, their medication might cost too much, so they stop taking them. 
  • Adverse side effects: Many medications cause adverse side effects, such as extreme nausea, so patients stop taking their medication altogether. Unfortunately, not taking the medication provides temporary relief, but it causes more issues down the road. 
  • Trouble managing multiple medications: Many patients have multiple medications–-all with different refills, prescription schedules, and dosages. It becomes too challenging to manage so many medications. 
  • Lack of health literacy: 36% of adults have low health literacy, which means they don’t understand health and medicine. These patients can’t make educated decisions about their bodies and often leads to a lack of understanding for what they’re supposed to do.  
  • Mental illness: Between 40 - 60% of patients who are mentally ill don’t adhere well to their medication schedules. Mental illness is a huge risk factor when it comes to non-adherence.

Knowing the reasons why patients aren’t properly taking their medication allows you to proactively take steps to improve adherence. Ask personalized questions to get a sense of what’s causing the patient to skip medication, and address the reasons head-on.  

2. Simplify communication and education

The average Medicare beneficiary reads at a 5th grade level, which is a problem because most healthcare communications are written at a 10th grade level or higher. Medicare patients need simple, easy-to-read language to help them improve their medication adherence.  

Cut out the medical jargon and focus on clearly communicating the treatment plan in everyday language. Explain in common terms what could happen to the patient if they don’t adhere to their medication plan.  

Another way to simplify communication is by making it possible for patients to reach providers via phone, portal, or video chat. Not every single question warrants an in-person visit, and making providers accessible saves time. It also drives better medication adherence.  

3. Make treatment plans easy to follow

Medication plans should be explained well, and they should be easy for the patient to follow. A patient can’t follow a treatment plan they don’t understand. There should be no surprises for the patient when it comes to how much they need, when they should take their medication, and where they need to pick it up. 

One way to do this is: Print the patient’s medication plan and provide them with a copy. When listening to a diagnosis and medication plan in the office, patients can feel overwhelmed, causing them to forget what you said. Printing out the plan in easy-to-follow steps makes it simpler for patients. 

Another way to keep plans simple is by sending text or call reminders. They might understand their plan, but forget to follow it in their daily lives. Since forgetfulness causes the majority of medication non-adherence cases, sometimes it’s as simple as sending a reminder text. 

4. Use automatic pill delivery and dispensers

Patients often forget to take their medication or order refills. In the Express Scripts medication non-adherence study, 20% of patients did not renew their prescriptions on time, and 10% put off refilling their prescriptions. Automatic pill deliveries can combat this issue. Patients don’t even have to leave their homes—medication gets delivered right to their doorsteps. 

Beyond forgetfulness, another common reason for medication non-adherence is that patients find it challenging to manage too many prescriptions. It gets complicated to sort out all the medication, their refills and doses, and when they need to be taken. One way to overcome this issue is to use automatic dispensers that deliver the right dose of each medication. 

Medicare Advantage Plans: Rely on Ōmcare  

Automatic pill deliveries, dispensers, reminders, and easy accessibility to providers make medication adherence much simpler for many patients. This helps Medicare Advantage plans reach the Star Ratings they need. 

Ōmcare streamlines and simplifies the entire medication management process: 

  • Medication is delivered to your patient’s doorstep. 
  • Prepackaged medication is dispensed to patients in the right amount, at the right time. 
  • Daily (or multiple times a day) check-ins connect patients with caregivers so they can ensure medication adherence on a dose level.  

Ōmcare’s Home Health Hub® keeps your patients on track for positive healthcare outcomes. Reach out to Ōmcare today to learn more!