Blog: Why In Home Care is Healthcare’s Next Big Shift
Over the past ten years, no shift has fundamentally changed healthcare delivery more than telehealth. Accelerated by the COVID pandemic, the rise of telehealth has allowed providers and patients to develop less formal, more frequent interactions around routine medical services and follow up care. While many providers were forced to adapt to providing remote care, they have remained committed to this approach now that COVID restrictions have eased, providing a more flexible approach for patients, which they now prefer altogether.
Another aspect of remote clinical services that patients have unanimously supported is in-home care. Traditionally, in-home care has been limited to the elderly and fringe use cases. However, the list of new in-home care services provided on demand today are booming, in both the number of clinicians offering the services and the number of services offered. What was once viewed as a concierge service is now being democratized, giving providers even greater insight into the environmental considerations that impact remote patient monitoring efforts. As a result, in-home care services are already creating the next big shift in healthcare, accelerating a growth trend similar to what we saw from telehealth over the last decade.
The emergence of telehealth is not the only reason why in-home care is seeing unprecedented growth. The emergence of personalized wellness and medicine, societal acceptance and utilization of wearable devices, and the modernization of existing tools combined with the creation of novel digital health solutions have all converged to arm the clinician with most of their in-office capabilities. These advancements allow a member of the care team to visit the home, collect data, and perform a service in a matter of minutes.
A few areas that are poised to grow in the wake of in-home, on demand care services:
In Home Diagnostics
Over the last 20 years, in home diagnostics have been limited to blood testing services. However, many companies are working to expand the type of in-home diagnostic services available to patients. Simple HealthKit provides easy to use, and often self-administered test kits for respiratory conditions, and chronic conditions like diabetes. Recently they expanded offerings to include sexual health and COVID related illnesses. Lat month, Sunrise, a medical device company based on the US, received FDA clearance for the first ever at home disposable diagnostic test for sleep apnea.
On Demand Physical Therapy
The need for high quality Physical Therapy at a moment’s notice has never been greater. With 55M Americans beyond the age of 65, there is an opportunity to deliver better patient outcomes by improving access to care. Luna, a leading provider of in at home physical therapy has already expanded to over 25 states in service of over 30,000 plus patient per year.
Hospital Based Care
Hospitals are also recognizing the need for in home care services. With access to mobile digital health solutions and diagnostic tools, clinical specialists are now being deployed to the home to offer various noninvasive testing as part of routine follow up care. Post-surgical wound care, pre-natal ultrasounds, and even minor urgent care testing such as fluoroscopy is being made available to select patients under the care of these providers. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 277 hospitals in 37 states are already operating in home care programs for patients.
In home primary care is no longer limited to concierge practices, as many providers who have left the primary healthcare environment have begun starting their own in-home practices. Clinical Solopreneurs are now contracting directly with other specialists, pharmacies, and payors, allowing them to provide a 1:1 service for patients they select and manage directly. While the scalability is an obvious limitation of the Clinical Solopreneur, as providers opt for more manageable post pandemic volume, patients will have options, improving accessibility to this type of care.
While the concept of in-home care has been around for a long time, the scope and depth of what can be provided at home has always had its limitations. While surgery, advanced imaging, and various emergency care services will likely always be confined to the healthcare environment, more and more technological innovations are creating low cost, high access opportunities for quality care to be delivered right in our living room. Ten years from now, the measurable impact from this shift will be significant and lead to healthier and more satisfied patient encounters.