Stuck in the Stone Age: 30% of Home-Based Care Providers Aren’t Using Technology Tools

The COVID-19 emergency has underscored how valuable technology can be when it comes to caring for seniors in their homes.

But while home-based care providers are increasingly upping their use of various technology solutions to aid in their virtual care efforts, there is still a number of providers uncertain about the value-add such tools offer. 

That’s according to the recently released 2020 Home-Based Care Technology Survey and Report, produced by Alayacare and Home Health Care News. The report highlights the views of over 300 individuals polled about the home-based care industry. 

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Montreal-based AlayaCare is a software platform and secure cloud-based system that includes clinical documentation tools, client-and-family portals, remote patient monitoring and mobile caregiver functionality.

One of the key findings of the survey: While virtual care services are popular, their utilization among providers isn’t universal. More than 70% of providers currently use some form of technology to provide care, but almost 30% aren’t using anything at all, mostly relying on paperwork, phones and fax machines.

When taking a closer look at types of technology providers are utilizing to deliver care, telephone and live video received the most responses. Specifically, 82% of providers polled said they use telephonic services to provide care, with 66% using live video and 47% using online portals.

Another 14% used some other form of technology entirely.

On their end, the majority of providers that are utilizing technology are offering video conferencing and virtual visits in order to deliver care. About three-quarters of providers are offering video conferencing and virtual visits, while 51% are offering remote patient monitoring (RPM) and 42% online client-and-family portals.

In terms of the impact integrating virtual solutions has on their business operations, the majority of providers see a clear value. In fact, 61% of survey respondents agreed that technology is a value-add to their business.

Still, these opinions aren’t the consensus among all of the providers surveyed.

One-third of providers had “no opinion,” and 5% didn’t agree that integrating virtual solutions would improve their business.

Of the providers that aren’t using any type of technology, 50% responded that the reason for this is there isn’t enough demand from clients. Another 37% said virtual care services aren’t reimbursed in the state they operate in, presenting financial challenges.

Additionally, 27% of providers said technology is too costly; 16% said technology is too complicated.

While caregiver churn remains a top industry challenge, many providers are combating the topic with a number of solutions. More than 60% of providers polled said they offer their caregivers career development programs and 24/7 connectivity to the company’s office via app or website.

Additionally, 24% of providers offer community-development programs offline. Another 16% have implemented daily pay or advances, according to the HHCN-Alayacare survey.

Finally, many providers are looking at artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can potentially impact their business.

In total, 63% of survey participants said they believe that AI would benefit their organization. AI includes tools aimed at optimization or machine-learning.

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