PDGM, Medicare Advantage Are Top Technology Drivers for In-Home Care Providers

For many in-home care providers, new payment models such as the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) serve as the impetus for technology adoption in 2020. The expanding reimbursement stream of Medicare Advantage is also a major driver.

These are some of the key findings from the 2020 Home Health Care News Outlook Survey and Report, released Thursday, in collaboration with Homecare Homebase. The survey — conducted from December 2019 through January 2020 — reflects the opinions of more than 500 professionals working in or alongside the in-home care industry.

When it comes to the adoption of new technology, 27% of survey respondents cited PDGM as the most important driver. Meanwhile, 21% of survey respondents cited Medicare Advantage as the most important driver.

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As providers continue to find their footing in the wake of PDGM, which launched on Jan. 1, the implementation of technology has aided in these efforts.

Several companies — including Homecare Homebase (HCHB), a provider of cloud-based software solutions for home health and hospice providers — have positioned themselves as solutions in combating PDGM-related challenges.

“From a Homecare Homebase perspective, we’ve invested significantly in performance tools to help agencies offset the difficulties and address the new challenges, not just in a way that keeps them in compliance, but really helps them perform operationally,” Scott Pattillo, chief strategy officer at Dallas-based HCHB, previously told HHCN.

As for Medicare Advantage, last year saw more home care providers in talks with plans as coverage further expanded to include non-medical personal care. For many providers, this meant gathering data that proved the value of their service during negotiations with plans.

Technology may prove to be instrumental as home care providers become more data-driven. This is the case for Omaha, Nebraska-based Right at Home.

“Over the last two years, we have added several software platforms,” Right at Home CEO and President Brian Petranick previously told HHCN. “We have built our own data lake, so to speak. We’re also partnering with some other companies. We brought in several technology people within the organization, as well as working with some high-end consulting groups to make sure we’re collecting the right data. We are very focused on becoming a data-driven organization.” 

In addition to PDGM and Medicare Advantage, staff satisfaction (18%), regulatory dynamics (18%) and referral partnerships (17%) rounded out the list of reasons for technology adoption in 2020.

While PDGM and Medicare Advantage play major roles in technology adoption for in-home care providers, 41% don’t have plans to make any technology platform changes. Of the providers that do plan to change their organization’s technology platform, 32% cited reimbursement as the reason.

Additionally, 27% of providers identified regulatory compliance tracking and 24% cited the need to reduce operating costs.

Overall, 2019 saw the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) become more common among in-home care providers. Companies such as FirstLight Home Care Solutions have embraced these services.

One company that’s solidified its name in the in-home care space is telehealth company Health Recovery Solutions (HRS). HRS has partnered with companies such as Sentara Home Care and Valley Home Care to provide them with comprehensive RPM platforms — helping them improve patient outcomes in the process. 

Still, 40% of provider respondents don’t plan to invest in any RPM technology in 2020, according to the HHCN and HCHB survey. One reason for this could be the lack of stable reimbursement for RPM. 

Of the providers that do plan on investing, 44% identified chronic disease management as the top type of RPM technology they need. Vital-signs monitoring (28%) and fall prevention (26%) were also identified as areas of interest.

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