The year 2021 delivered plenty of unexpected and much-needed improvements to the home care business. The predictions for 2021 envisioned the need to make aging adults more independent and support caregivers.
While there’s no surprise in the fact that Coronavirus changed the dynamics of the home care industry, this year proved to be a more favorable one than the previous. 2021 was successful in laying a foundation for the home care business that will open new doors in the future.
Let’s take a look at how the home care industry did in 2021:
Software Replacing Hefty Documents
Manual documentation was the usual way that agencies preferred. Technological advancements in 2021 welcomed powerful home care management software that allows agencies to manage all their business operations from one place. Now, home care agencies can easily cut the hassle and additional costs of scheduling, remote monitoring, billing, and general administrative tasks. Effective coordination is now quite achievable in-home care industry.
One of the most notable improvements to the home care industry would be the introduction of AI-based solutions. According to numerous studies, these systems are about to make an immediate difference. Home care software offers a variety of advantages that brought ease to many home care agencies, homebound seniors, and caregivers:
- Seamless communication
- Accurate clock in/clock out via EVV
- Timely billing
- HR & Training
- Family portal
- Caregiver management
- Third-party resources
Software with functions supporting several roles can offer streamlined and specialized home care.
Caregiver Retention: An Ongoing Crisis
Recruiting and retaining caregivers remained a challenge in 2021. The caregiver turnover rate for 2020 was 65.2% as compared to the 2019 rate of 64.3%. Caregiver shortage has become a prevalent problem, especially in the post-pandemic world.
People turned to other jobs that offered similar wages and required less screening as compared to a caregiver. In 2021, agencies experimented with a variety of retention tactics in order to employ the best employees for the long run. Not only did the scarcity of caregivers have a severe influence on the home care business, but a recent CDC survey conducted during the pandemic found that up to 70% of unpaid caregivers suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma and stress-related illness.
Low pay, more work to do, and less government assistance are all contributing factors to the caregiver shortage. All these factors combined create a long-term caregiver crisis.
In 2019, PHI anticipated that the United States will need to fill 7.4 million caregiving positions over the next decade, because so many workers were expected to quit the industry.
Adhering to rules and regulations saw a new face in the home care industry. After observing many gaps and discrepancies in a home care setup, compliance was made mandatory. To avoid penalty, fraud, and flaws in a business setup, compliance came into the spotlight to correct these measures
- Inaccurate clock in/clock out information
- Missing or inaccurate documentation
- Fraudulent activities
- Duplicate or unnecessary billing
EVV compliance has been announced as mandatory in each of the 50 states to avoid such mishaps. Many agencies resorted to systems and home care software that allow compliance and eliminate room for suspicious activities. Compliance measures are now in place to ensure that all these loopholes are closed.
Predictions for 2022
As per expert predictions, home care digitization will continue to thrive in the upcoming time. Home care agencies and businesses are becoming technology-enabled to bring in more convenience and ease of use. Home care management software that excels in the following areas has a lot of potential:
- Smart scheduling
- Accurate billing and payroll
- Compliant to rules, regulations, and laws
- Effective caregiver management
- Seamless communication between client and patient
- Telemedicine and remote monitoring will also have an opportunity to shine in the upcoming time.
- Dependence on IoMT solutions to deliver high-quality health monitoring will be observed.
- The addition of innovative software and devices can offer a big variety of monitoring services such as diet monitoring, dementia surveillance, etc. which will positively influence the home care industry.
The aging population, the increase of chronic diseases, and unpredictable weather conditions are some of the major factors that motivate more and more businesses to look for innovative solutions for home care monitoring. The IoMT abilities provide a portable monitoring system that enables hospital staff, doctors, and caregivers to remotely follow and check the health status of their patients and family members.
To be able to stay competitive in the home care market, healthcare providers will have to:
- Redefine their strategies by using tools that can facilitate communication and deliver patient care at a lower cost.
- Include telemedicine and remote monitoring to help improve quality of life while keeping costs low for the provider.
In conclusion, a solution that offers ease and takes off the burden from overwhelmed home care is based on technology. To survive and stay on top of the quickly changing market, the home care business will need to find better and smarter technology-oriented solutions.
From a caregiver’s perspective, the advancements in the industry have allowed professionals to take on more challenging cases while simplifying their overall life. From a client’s perspective, the advancements in the industry have allowed them to cut down costs while keeping individuals healthy and independent at home – a win-win situation for everyone involved.
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