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Delta Connect Blog

Latest Issue of CARING Focuses on Health IT for Home Care & Hospice

Posted by Crystal Parks on Oct 21, 2013 1:24:00 PM


The latest issue of CARING magazine will soon be available. The in-depth subject this month is heath information technology and how it is changing the home care and hospice landscape.

For the issue, Richard Brennan, Executive Director of the Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) – a NAHC affiliate - served as Guest Editor. Below are his introductory notes to the issue reprinted in their entirety.

What if we could envision the future of health care delivery and determine the fundamental components of the new standards of care that will be needed to support patient-centered, personalized, empowered health care in America? What technologies will drive the delivery of health care to the home? What business and clinical practices will be leveraged to support value-based longitudinal care coordination? And how will technologically sophisticated home care agencies interact with other providers in the spectrum of care to coordinate care and support new models of care? In this issue of CARING, we provide readers with a series of articles and case studies – stepping stones to innovation – to determine a path forward.

Chris McGurn starts our technology coverage with our cover story. Several members of Congress got a hands-on telehealth demonstration when representatives from NAHC and its affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) visited them in their offices on Capital Hill. NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris stressed the benefits and cost-saving potential. “Once you see how this technology works, we hope you will become an advocate of it,” said Halamandaris. “There’s a real premium in keeping people out of the hospitals, which these devices help to do.”

Our overview of the issues surrounding health IT implementation within the home health and hospice community includes advancements in health information technology and other technologies. The integration of health IT into health care is a challenging subject, but our primer article focuses on the challenges and opportunities for home care providers to consider in navigating the complex landscape of developing health IT standards.

We also included case studies from home health agencies and their vendor partners on technologies that support improved referral and communications, telehealth for improved clinical outcomes, efficiencies, and reducing hospital readmissions, mhealth technologies for electronic documentation for mileage reimbursement and more accurate scheduling, and also data mining to unlock problems in clinical protocols and service delivery.

We asked agencies to tell us how they have implemented technology to change the way they do business and enhance the services they offer. In this issue, you’ll find six case studies:

  • Health Resource Solutions of Illinois used a customizable EHR to raise standards of care, improve communications and lower administrative costs.
  • Centura Health of Colorado merged their call center and telehealth to decrease 30-day hospitalization rates and increase the quality of life for their older adult patients.
  • Ambercare of New Mexico used technology to manage costs, improve the quality of care, and give patients the care they need at home.
  • Pardee Home Care of North Carolina used analyses of their agency visit and OASIS data to improve Outcome scores.
  • Lee Memorial Health System of Florida implemented telehealth solutions to lower readmissions and save an estimated $5.3 million.
  • Bristol Hospice selected an electronic medical record that was flexible yet supported their six sites across the country even in times of a disaster.

As the executive director of the Heath IT Now Coalition, Joel White has one of the best perspectives on how technology is radically changing the face of home healthcare and the challenges we face in the field, in our back offices, and on Capitol Hill.

The Coalition he manages is a diverse group of organizations representing patients, health providers, health insurers, employers and unions that have come together to help integrate information technology into healthcare. He shares his own personal insights on home care as seen through his mother’s experience and recommends that home care agencies leverage their advanced use of health IT to participate in new models of care established by the Affordable Care Act and also make the case to Congress that technology is invaluable in delivering quality home care.

Our quest for innovation in health care – for a revolutionary new approach to the delivery of home care – will employ advancements in technologies, changes in payment policies and methodologies and the mustering of organizational resources on a wide-ranging scale. Since this will have to be a unifying process of innovation, we also hope that the successes of pioneering home care agencies in this endeavor will offer us clear examples of excellence in care delivery and a path forward.

Please enjoy, discuss, and share our technology issue with your colleagues, friends and also the decision makers in your community.

To view a digital version of CARING, please click here.

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Topics: home care industry, healthcare technology, Caring Magazine, HCTAA


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