It has been a tough year for healthcare providers. The COVID-19 pandemic and growing elderly population sparked a rise in the demand for home healthcare, leading to increased risk of burnout for these doctors and nurses—paired with risk that patients may not receive the care they need. But what would the home healthcare industry look like if every doctor or nurse had an assistant to take care of a portion of their duties? What would home healthcare feel like if technology could help monitor your health from afar?
Technology is changing practices throughout the healthcare industry, including robotic surgery and telemedicine. This digital transformation extends to patients requiring consistent post-acute care from home, who can now benefit from AI and machine learning solutions. Providers can also benefit from this much-needed assistance.
However, as virtual appointments with doctors are only now gaining widespread acceptance from the public, how will emerging companies market an even more tech-driven alternative? Additionally, since home healthcare is built on trust, will these solutions actually improve the patient experience?
Tech-based care platforms improve the experience for both patients and providers
Historically speaking, home healthcare has consisted of services that allow care providers to make regular in-home visits. Although this can be a great option, there are some drawbacks to this method of care. Aside from the substantial amount of time and money this requires, some patients require more regular monitoring than is possible with this method.
It is becoming more and more clear how beneficial digital services are to the home healthcare industry, and an array of companies are now popping up with innovative ways to get into the space.
AICare, a company that aims to provide an independent lifestyle for seniors, designs wearable devices that monitor a patient’s physical activity after they have been discharged from the hospital. The device is synced to an app that analyzes whether their health is declining and if they should see their physician.
Huma is another company that monitors patients’ health through devices that measure glucose, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure, as well as data that patients enter on their smartphones. Huma uses these findings to help patients and contribute to medical research.
For patients with dementia, a UK company called Cera has developed a chatbot that analyzes patient records and how a patient is feeling, and uses machine reading and deep learning to dispense personalized care advice to social care workers.
Chatbots and AI-powered virtual nurse assistants can be available 24/7. Some are utilized to check in on patients to see how they’re feeling and if they’re taking their medication, while others can even carry on a natural conversation, helping ease the isolation for patients who live alone.
A patient’s environment makes a huge difference in their recovery
Recovering from an illness or managing a disability takes time, especially for elderly people. If given the choice to recover under harsh fluorescent hospital lights or in your own home surrounded by the things you love, the choice seems obvious for most.
CareCentrix, a company that helps patients recover from the comfort of their home, has found that its patients see better clinical outcomes and lower total medical costs than those who recover in hospital. Using technology and advanced analytics, CareCentrix has been working with payors and providers for over 25 years to transform the home healthcare space and create programs that allow patients to recover from home.
With their wealth of experience and knowledge in the home healthcare industry, as well as their commitment to improving patients’ lives, CareCentrix is able to reach a wide audience of providers who also want the best for their patients.
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AI bridges the gap in home healthcare
A holistic approach to health ultimately requires much more time and attention than care providers can give in person. HomeBridge, CareCentrix’s AI-driven care coordination platform, fills in the gaps in patient care, allowing physicians to have a more well-rounded view of their patients’ needs. By acquiring information such as details about a patient’s home environment and location, HomeBridge uses algorithms to process the data and create customized healthcare plans for patients.
For example, this technology identifies gaps in care, such as a patient’s proximity to a grocery store—assessing their ability to access the resources they need to follow a recommended diet. With this crucial information, a revised plan can be put in place that overcomes this issue, such as online grocery shopping.
HomeBridge also uses AI and machine learning to streamline processes, such as managing referrals, submitting claims, and completing service requests. It’s also able to project the probable number of follow-up primary care appointments that a patient is likely to require. CareCentrix has also implemented its own form of remote patient monitoring through its partnership with the technology company Dina. These remote screening tools can monitor social and emotional health, daily activities, and safety factors in the home.
Gain a patient-focused approach through lower costs and better care
CareCentrix is dedicated to improving the lives of post-acute patients by making the home the center of care. They firmly believe that when patients are able to take part in the activities that give them joy and interact with their loved ones, their health will significantly improve.
By utilizing technologies in AI, CareCentrix helps patients save costs on their care, and more importantly remain healthy and safe.
Address the skepticism of AI in home healthcare through education
With the ability to gather insights and dispense information that traditional home healthcare providers are stretched for time for, it’s clear that AI is able to make an incredible difference in home healthcare. However, some believe that the importance of the human touch is irreplaceable, and others worry about the use and possible exploitation of data and sensitive information.
While machine learning and AI can never replace the empathy and intuition that humans possess, there is no denying how remarkable these advancements are in the home healthcare space.
Pierce Owen, ABI Research’s report author and principal analyst, stated that in the future, AI models will have less need to gather large amounts of raw data, and that people are gradually becoming more comfortable sharing their data due to social media and wearable health monitors like Fitbit.
Steve Wogen, CareCentrix’s chief growth officer, said that the data in this industry is more critical and relevant than in any other, and that using it will advance care and lead to new innovations in the future.
Distrust is often due to a lack of understanding, so to address this pushback, it’s important for startups and companies to educate the public as much as they can about how this data is being used and how immense of a difference it will make not only in individual lives, but in the future of our health as a whole.
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