Report: Home care agencies to increase telehealth capabilities

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While only 17 percent of home care agencies are currently using a telehealth system, the number of agencies using remote patient monitoring will most likely double over the next two years as one-third reported they are planning to purchase a system, according to a Fazzi Associates survey.

The survey was co-sponsored by Royal Philips Electronics and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).

Fazzi surveyed more than 950 U.S. home care agencies, and the results reveal growth opportunities emerging for home care agencies delivering services to 4.2 million seniors each year in the United States.

“After analyzing the results, it is clear the home care field is rapidly moving toward the universal adoption of telehealth systems. Remote monitoring of chronic disease patients can lead to improvements in quality of care and economic savings through reduced trips to the hospital emergency room,” according to Robert Fazzi, MD, founder of Fazzi.

The study also pointed to the convergence of four technologies, fiscal and backroom IS systems, point of service (POS), EMRs and telehealth, which are increasingly viewed as critical to clinical and operational management.

Other key findings from the surveyed home care agencies include:

  • More than three-quarters have purchased a fiscal, billing and backroom system with nearly 53 percent satisfied and 21 percent planning to replace their system.
  • Nearly two-thirds are using POS hardware to access patient records, with 71 percent of home care providers using remote laptops to review and enter patient information; but, responses differed greatly on the ease of implementation with new POS systems.
  • Over half have integrated EMRs into their practice.
  • Eighty percent report that patients and families are reluctant to have telehealth units removed from their home as they provide a sense of security.

The NAHC represents nearly 25,000 home health agencies, home care aide organizations, hospices and caregivers provide services to more than seven million U.S. customers annually.