Connected Care

Top 3 Reasons Connected Care Requires Telehealth

Interest in telehealth is increasing rapidly around the world, including here in the U.S. In fact, the telehealth market has grown over 250% since 2015 and is expected to exceed 15% CAGR* through 2025. This growth is attributed tech-enabled services and a regulatory environment that has started to embrace virtual connected care options.

The Health Resources Services Administration defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. And while many consumers are just now becoming familiar with the term, it is most often understood as two-way video interactions with doctors or other medical professionals.

#1 - Telehealth is a conduit to enabling value based care

Telehealth has traditionally been considered by CMS as a stop-gap for people with access issues, either in rural area or constrained by limited mobility. A number of progressive health systems that are leading the shift to value based or outcomes based payment see telehealth as a critical component to keeping people healthy, especially seniors with multiple conditions who tend to be heavy utilizers.

#2 - The shortage of caregivers will strain an already strained system.

And for those in the Home Health business, incorporating more frequent remote touchpoints using video-enabled technology along with in-home visits aligns with a desire to create a tighter community of caregivers while offering a response to the new and growing shortage of qualified caregivers. By 2050, there will be 19 million Americans over the age of 85. At the same time, the number of available caregivers is projected to stay constant or decrease.

#3 - Cost avoidance and increased patient satisfaction is more possible.

Ultimately, weaving telehealth into the tapestry of the full healthcare continuum addresses everything from cost avoidance to better outcomes and greater patient satisfaction. And the data proves it. Organizations that embrace technology as a way to define patient needs and deliver personalized care will weather payment system transitions and demographic shifts much more successfully that those unwilling to see the shortcomings of the status quo.

At Ōmcare, we’re building the tele of telehealth right into our core of what we do. From connecting people to integrating a myriad of point solutions and remote monitoring technologies, we can help realize healthier, more affordable outcomes more quickly. Now, that’s healthy. In more ways than one.


in-home care, healthcare

Why In-Home Care is the Next Big Healthcare Opportunity

By Laurie Knutson, President

As you might imagine, having been active in the healthcare community for some 30+ years, I’ve seen some fairly significant changes and shifts in our industry. From the inception of Consumerism and High Deductible Plans, to Medicare Part D, implementation of the ACA, and a shift to retail medicine and growing need to redefine medication adherence, the industry keeps evolving.

Each change is well-intended and disruptive for stakeholders and individuals. And in every case, these changes have called for a societal shift and consideration for new ways of managing our health - financially, systematically and behaviorally.

And try as we might to design around the individual, it’s a struggle. We struggle to consider how regulations, advancing technology, payment models, and structural change impacts day-to-day lives and the care journey for each individual. The goal of putting the person at the center of the care model has been difficult to achieve.

But wait, at the intersection of technology and economic necessity there is innovation!

As the population ages, the broader healthcare ecosystem is beginning to embrace new thinking around what really matters to people. And this time, care actually IS centered around the person. It’s in-home care. Now more than ever, seniors in particular have a strong desire to remain in their homes as long as possible and the focus of the healthcare system is shifting to how best to achieve that end. Aging in place, in-home is valuable to the individual, their caregivers, and to the broader healthcare system. Here are 3 reasons why:

  • In-home care saves money

The cost of healthcare isn’t just increasing, it’s becoming down right unaffordable. As the personal cost of care escalates, the vast majority of seniors will spend their entire retirement savings to keep up long before they planned. The average out of pocket medical costs for a 65 year old couple will be $218,000 over the next 20 years, excluding long-term care.  And skilled nursing facility care center expense averages around $200,0001 year. Leaving the home can be financially devastating, and for many, it’s simply out of the question. Remaining in-home longer supported by care as needed, is more than the best option, it’s often the only option.

  • In-home care complements an already evolving system

While retail offerings (ie., MinuteClinic, mobile care units, etc.) offer some level of convenience, seniors generally continue to receive care at their primary care clinic. Doctor visits require mobility, coordinating appointments and can be costly too. For many, getting to doctor appointments becomes the primary focus of day-to-day life. The increasing availability of telehealth and supplemental in-home services offers a new level of convenience for seniors when care can be safely administered without compromising quality. CMS is warming to the benefits of in-home care by broadening eligibility criteria and payment for appropriate telehealth and home-based care.

  • In-home care addresses the impending shortage of caregiver resources

Oftentimes, remaining in-home requires active support from family caregivers. Employers are feeling the productivity pinch when employee caregiver responsibilities burden their time, wallets, and their own health. In situations where a family member isn’t a support option, individuals must retain community resources and paid staff to subsidize their care needs. The problem is that future demographics point to a looming human resource crisis nearly as alarming as the financial pressures of an aging population. Today there are 10 caregiver resources for every senior. By the year 2050, when the majority of baby boomers are over 75, that ratio will shrink to 3.2  Home Care providers and Senior Living facilities are already struggling to find workers. We need to embrace new models of remote care that align with demographics.

So where do we go from here? If in-home care saves money but the uptake in more non-traditional care models is slow, how might we get to both more quickly? And how can we better support family caregivers who fill the gaps that enable loved ones to age in place? Therein lies opportunity.

Startups, disruptors, and newcomers to in-home care have a role to play. I’m talking about the Best Buy, Alexa, Nest, Apple, Amazon, Simple Meds and Ōmcare’s of the world. New technologies are enabling a remarkable shift from an acute-case, illness-based system to a more connected system that includes care many professionals in many places. From personal care assistance, home healthcare providers, tech-enabled home security, remote monitoring and medication assistance, supporting the many needs of those aging in place is both an opportunity and a necessary change. There will certainly be disruption to existing stakeholders, however meeting the growing needs of our aging population is in everybody’s best interest. Creating a community of caregivers and using technology to align resources will help ensure better care, greater independence, financial sustainability, and well-being for the future.

There’s no silver bullet here. Instead, a more connected ecosystem of solutions will support our senior population segment and better serve their needs. And those who build into the fabric of existing systems will do this best, leveraging the power and creativity of many to keep the consumer at the center of their care.

At Ōmcare, we are passionate about connecting people with the resources they need to maximize their independence. As a video conduit into the home that enables remote medication dispensing, we address the most basic reason people are forced to leave their home; they can no longer manage their medications. We offer peace of mind to family caregivers, and more frequent monitoring and face-to-face conversations gives clinicians what they need to keep seniors healthy and well at home. And it’s easy to use, eliminating the need for multiple devices and logins.

Ōmcare makes the extension of care at home possible - for a longer period of time. We know that’s what matters most to seniors and their caregivers and we invite others to connect, work with and join us to achieve the goal of independence through better remote care, at home.

1 Source-Fool: https://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2016/01/26/20-retirement-stats-that-will-blow-you-away.aspx

Source- AARP: https://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-08-2013/the-aging-of-the-baby-boom-and-the-growing-care-gap-AARP-ppi-ltc.html


Family Member vs In-Home Nurse: Pros and Cons

The big decision that many families must make when it comes to taking care of an elderly family member is when is the time, if ever, to transition them to a nursing home, often called Skilled Nursing Facilities or SNFs. For some families, nursing homes are the best option when considering all the different factors, such as cost, increasing health concerns and the willingness of the elder to move out of their home into a place that is unfamiliar.

For others, the best course of action is to have your parent/grandparent continue to live in their home and have either a family member or in-home nurse take care of them. But which option should you choose? For families facing this decision, they must look at all possible scenarios to see which works best for their elderly family member and themselves, as well as the financial implications of each option.

To help you decide what route to take, here are the pros and cons to a family member caretaker vs. an in-home nurse.

Family Member Caretaker

Pros

Increased Time with Family

Many seniors experience feelings of loneliness, and by being an active participant in their life by helping take care of them, family member caretakers can help alleviate these feelings.

Decrease Expenses

By having a family member be the primary caretaker, you can avoid paying extra money for an in-home nurse, which can be quite costly, especially if you’re having trouble using insurance to help cover some of the costs.

Cons

Not Prepared for Medical Emergency

Nurses tend to be more expensive because they are providing an important service to your family member. In the case of an emergency that you are not prepared to handle, an in-home nurse is better-equipped to act fast and appropriately to any situation.

Restricted Freedom

You may take off work and free-up your schedule to give the amount of care that is necessary for the senior in your family, but it can be hard to make sure you are available no matter when to help out. There is a certain level of restricted freedom one must expect if they choose to take on the responsibility of primary caretaker, and sometimes it can be hard to make time for yourself.

In-Home Caretaker

Pros

Full-Time Care

With a nurse, you have the assurance that at all times, your family member is in safe hands. An in-home nurse’s primary responsibility is to look out and care for their patient. You’ll free up your own time, while not having to worry that no one is home to assist your loved one.

Personal Interaction

A new caregiver will allow the senior in your family to build a new relationship, which is great for improving overall happiness and the emotional well-being of your loved one.

Cons

Expensive

Nurses can be costly, and for a good reason, as the service they are providing is extremely important. However, one must always consider the cost when it comes to bringing in a full-time in-home nurse.

Finding Quality Care Can Be Hard

This isn’t as difficult as it may have been 15 years ago, as there are plenty of resources out there to help you narrow your search and find the best fit for your family member’s needs and your own. However, you do want to make sure that you find that perfect fit, which may take some time.

Consider Ōmcare to Assist in the Caretaking of Your Loved Ones

As you can see, there are many options to consider when thinking about care - in home or otherwise for the caretaking of your loved one. As you begin to explore the vast landscape, from partially-assisted to full in-home care or on your own, you’ll benefit from knowing that there are choices. No matter which option is best for your family, Ōmcare’s Telemed System offers caregivers of all types the ability to see, speak to, and confirm appropriate medication from anywhere. This new product, launching early 2019, allows you to make sure that your loved ones are taking their prescribed medicines through a video chat interface. It even dispenses the pills to ensure they receive the right pill at the right time. When you can’t physically be there to take care of your loved one, Ōmcare still gives you a chance to be there for them.

Connect with us by subscribing to our email and stay up to date on the latest product releases and news from Ōmcare.