Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 23, 2014

Poll: Technology and Policy are Largest Sources of Change

A recent survey conducted by Kinnser Software asked 126 home healthcare leaders how they see their industry changing over the next 12 months. The results revealed some interesting perspectives, namely the simultaneous impact that technology and policy will have on the space. Of those polled, a majority recognized the challenges of new regulations from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but among this same group, perspective differed on whether these changes represent an opportunity or a threat.

A stand out but not surprising statistic is that 67 percent of those surveyed cited reduced reimbursements as one of their biggest challenges for the next year. The number highlights the apprehension surrounding new policy and regulations, like the recent announcements surrounding the 2015 CMS Home Health Final Rule — which includes mandates that will introduce new complexities to home health care processes. Also, ICD-10 is revealed to be a serious source of concern, as 43 percent of home health agency leaders reported that its implementation will be a large hurdle to leap once it’s in full force late next year. But despite prevalent concerns, there are still those (18 percent) that believe new policy changes related to Medicare and Medicaid will be a source of opportunity moving forward.

Perhaps it’s the new opportunity to leverage technology that is giving hope to those seeking to benefit from the changes to come. According to the research, 45 percent of respondents said that improved access to patient data and technological advancements would provide the biggest opportunity in the coming year. In other words, big data will usher in more business, as home health professionals feel better equipped to make data-backed decisions in order to deliver better care in a more efficient manner.

Moreover, 30 percent recognize the key position that cloud tools and online platforms perform in helping them improve their business. In fact, the cloud lends users the capability to access information on the go, from virtually anywhere. This is fitting, considering that 75 percent of respondents single out mobile devices like smartphones and tablets as one of the top tools for providing better services and improving their business

The research also revealed how home health care will come to overshadow all other forms of health care services. Half of respondents agree that the majority of the 300,000 Americans retiring each month will opt for in-home care instead of in-patient or residential options like senior living facilities or convalescent homes, providing a huge influx of new patients seeking home care services. Boomers will most likely choose to age in the environment in which they are most comfortable — their home — while not compromising on quality of care.

Lastly, another push forward for home health will arise from a new niche market that will open up as patients begin to find themselves in situations where they require home care but do not qualify for government reimbursements. Agencies that are able to offer two forms of care – home health and private duty – and offer dynamic pricing will greatly benefit from the new avenue of business.

Chris Hester is the president and founder of Kinnser Software, an Austin-based home health management platform. Hester has more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of information technology and healthcare.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
By TMCnet Special Guest
Chris Hester, president and founder of Kinnser Software ,

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