Editor’s Picks: Robots, Drones and ACOs

Happy Friday, Home Health Care News readers!

This week, our most-read stories included an entrepreneur’s plan to introduce “robots-as-a-service” in home care, as well as tips for how home health agencies can avoid being on the Feds’ fraud radar. We also gave some suggestions regarding how home care agencies can win roles with accountable care organizations (ACOs).

In the newsroom, we were very intrigued by an Alabama sheriff’s department that is using drones to find wandering Alzheimer’s patients (and the mental health advocacy group that plans to donate the drones to other cities nationwide.)

Most Read

Silicon Valley Startup Pilots ‘Robots-as-a-Service’ for Home Care—A robot companion for every senior. To some, that may seem far-fetched—but not to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with ties to Google, or the home care company he has partnered with. “Our belief is that personal consumer robots will be everywhere in the next 10 to 15 years,” Thuc Vu, co-founder and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based OhmniLabs, told Home Health Care News. “We want to help with that.”

How Home Health Agencies Can Stay Off the Fraud Radar—Home health agencies are under more scrutiny when it comes to fraud and improper billings than ever before. In a tougher operational climate with higher pressures and more regulations, home health agencies need to be aware of how to fully comply and avoid the Feds‘ fraud radar. Fortunately, there are a few things home health agencies can do make it less likely they will be flagged for fraud, like ensuring they have a robust compliance program.

How Home Care Can Win a Role With ACOs—Home care is rapidly changing, opening doors for the industry to become a valuable partner in accountable care organizations (ACOs). While home care isn’t necessarily invited to the ACO table as a matter of course, many companies are positioning themselves for the future by marketing themselves as a driver of cost savings and better health outcomes. “Home care can no longer remain as it is in the status quo,” Barbara Knott, executive director of SCAL Home Care and Kaiser Permanente, said at Post Acute Link Care Continuum conference in Chicago in June. “If you still look how you did five years ago, you’re already behind.”

Weekend Reads

Drones Search for Wandering Alzheimer’s Patients—Alzheimer’s Outreach Group, a mental health advocacy organization, is distributing drones to sheriff’s departments across Alabama to help find wandering Alzheimer’s patients. Now, when a missing person is reported to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, trained drone operators can send the drone to the place where the person was last seen, Vocativ reports.

Ways to Teach Family Members Medical Skills—More and more families are taking on complicated medical tasks—like giving injections and changing surgical dressings—as hospitals send patients home after shorter stays and many patients live with several chronic diseases, The Wall Street Journal reports. Consequently, the University of California at Davis nursing school has partnered with AARP to make a series of online how-to videos for family caregivers.

A 75-year-Old’s Fountain of Youth? Skull Rings, Grateful Dead T-Shirts, and Hair Dye—Barb Jonesi, a 75-year-old woman from Chicago, explains why she’ll never live in an assisted living community—and why she’s not a color person. “Except for the shock of pink in my hair, which I did on my last birthday, to say, ‘Hey, world, I’m still here,’” she tells the Chicago Reader.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson