[Sponsored] How Technology is Driving Wellness in Home Care

The shift toward value-based care over the past decade has had several natural outcomes, including heightened attention on delivering care within the home and focusing on a person’s entire self as it pertains to care delivery. Improving outcomes in a value-based system brings a fusing of two fast-growing elements of home care: whole-person wellness and in-home technology.

This focus was encapsulated in 2019 by the expanded embrace of social determinants of health (SDOH): the conditions in which a person exists, notably the physical (where they live, where they work) and the social (their income, their race) — and how those conditions impact that person’s health.

Accounting for a patient’s SDOH is critical to providing them the best possible care and hence securing the best health outcomes which in turn drive reimbursements. Central to that mission are the technology platforms and innovations that help home health providers deliver that care.

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“As we turn the page to a new decade, 2020 will mark a major turning point in not only delivering care but in helping patients achieve greater wellness,” says Adrian Schauer, CEO of cloud-based home care technology provider AlayaCare. “Health systems across the world are beginning to take a more dedicated focus on the social determinants of health, the non-medical elements contributing to someone’s health and wellness.”

Home care agencies seeking to deliver these outcomes will need to implement technology solutions and platforms to maximize care efficiencies and provider communication.

Value-based care brings new technology needs

One of the biggest trends in home care over the next 12 months is the expansion of Medicare Advantage (MA) supplemental benefits to include home care opportunities. This quickly evolving offering gives home-based care providers greater avenues for service reimbursement for work within the home.

The flip side, of course, is that proving value and success to payers is much harder in a value-based model. The metrics needed to capture reimbursement under this landscape require providers to take different approaches to technology than perhaps they are accustomed. Home care providers seeking success under MA need technology platforms that can essentially communicate across care settings, with multiple payers and multiple providers.

“We’ve arrived at the point where an ecosystem of technology that works in sync is the best foot forward,” Schauer wrote in November.

AlayaCare’s solution to this challenge, for example, is its Care Plan 2.0 platform, which aims to provide a holistic view of a patient’s health needs, while also streamlining for care providers all of the planning, scheduling, reporting and communications required for delivering that care.

“AlayaCare’s Care Plan 2.0 module is built to fit whole-person care – all clinical or non-clinical interventions are dictated by a client goal,” Schauer says.

Capitalizing on new technology within the home

Care platforms and communication tools are critical for whole-person wellness and care in a value-based setting, yet they are also typically not the types of technology that turn heads. But home health care is filled with those as well, as providers are recognizing more and more that they needn’t hold back based on the myth that technology scares seniors.

Today’s seniors are more comfortable than ever with home technology, whether that be a system of sensors designed for fall detection, or smart wearable technology that detects everything from UTIs to heart rate. Smart beds, smart diapers, smart refrigerators — these are all becoming more commonplace for seniors who want to age-in-place. And because home modifications can be part of the new home care supplemental benefits packages, there are opportunities for home care providers to pursue those as part of their reimbursements.

Even something as futuristic as virtual reality, which could easily be seen as potentially frightening or disorienting to today’s older adult, is gaining traction as a wellness solution within senior living, home care and for caregivers.

But there are also the technology tools that are creating improved care communications. AlayaCare’s research and development department, AlayaLabs, is focusing on artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, which use data science to recommend optimal care plans, alerting clinicians when a client isn’t progressing as expected, Schauer says.

“The year, and decade, of wellness is welcome,” he says. “The home care industry has never been positioned as well as right now to make dramatic impacts on people’s lives.”

For more information on AlayaCare, visit www.alayacare.com

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