Tech Barriers Threaten Robust Home Health Partnerships

Most hospitals see the value in partnering with or acquiring home health companies for population health management, but technology barriers stand in the way of maximizing these relationships, a new report reveals.

The majority of respondents said their organization is working toward improving its population health management strategy either by acquiring, or more likely by actively partnering with, other organizations like insurers, physician practices, technology vendors, and home health care providers.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of PerfectServe between Feb. 12 and March 6, 2015, among 955 medical professionals.

Partnerships are a key strategy in improving population health management, data show. Of home health care providers, more than half (51%) say that have partnered with another organization and 25% say they have been acquired.

Among post-acute care facilities, 46% say they have partnered with another organization and 23% have been acquired.

Most also believe their organization currently uses (or plans to use) a wide range of technologies in the coming year to support and optimize their population health management outcomes. This “is good news given the emphasis placed on technology to achieve success,” PerfectServe says in a statement, noting that three in four of respondents say their organization has already made an investment in patient engagement communication technology.

But the most commonly used technologies are not necessarily cutting edge. Ninety-two percent of health care organizations currently use or plan to use follow-up patient phone calls, compared to 55% who currently use or plan to use video conferencing.

While a majority of clinicians (more than six in 10) rate their communication with the broader care team as “efficient” and are relatively satisfied with the technology they currently use, the majority also cite communication complications as impacting care.

Lags in communication have obstructed dishcarges/transitions; wasted time finding the right medical professional; delayed care while waiting for patient information; and led to receiving low-priority interruptions in the middle of care, PerfectServe says.

In addition, six in 10 feel that the HIPAA regulations pose an obstacle to efficient communication and collaboration within the care team.

Access the survey findings here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell