This article is sponsored by Homecare Homebase. In this Voices Interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Scott Decker, Chief Executive Officer, Homecare Homebase, to learn about market trends and the opportunities EHR vendors have to bring value to the industry. From looming rate cuts and constant regulatory changes to workforce shortages and increased expenses, the home-based care industry has its share of challenges. But Scott Decker explains the incredible opportunity to break down care silos and provide better quality care at a lower cost.
What career experiences do you most draw from in your role today?
Scott Decker: For better or for worse, I’ve been in health care technology for over 30 years now — mostly on the non-post-acute side. I’ve been with Homecare Homebase for five years, and prior to that, most of my work was with health systems, physician practices and interoperability.
It’s been quite an exciting endeavor bringing health care IT into the post-acute world, which was in a much different place at the time. Additionally, I have a degree in computer science, so I definitely bring more of a techy view to post-acute care than other folks.
What challenges and opportunities are top of mind for HCHB customers today?
Nursing capacity, retention and satisfaction are top of mind. The unfortunate thing is that it’s manifesting itself in the industry and limiting agencies’ ability to meet the demand for home-based services.
Cost pressure is also a big one. Whether it’s the Medicare cuts, Medicare Advantage rates or inflation, that triad has made everybody nervous about managing nursing capacity. Therein lies an opportunity for innovation, however, because people have realized the nursing capacity issue is a reality. The industry is very much focused on efficiency and productivity today.
How can HCHB help agencies plan for challenges like rate cuts and regulatory changes?
Our platform has a great workflow that empowers agencies to operate as lean as possible, especially in the back office. I think that’s why many of our clients have stuck with us for so long — they save as much money as they possibly can simply by having efficient back-office tools.
Additionally, we are always trying to figure out what the future holds so we can bring more efficiency to that workflow with better processes and automation. On the flip side, we’ve even started offering revenue cycle services. If we can take some of the back-office burden off of operators’ hands and bring them more economy of scale, it allows agencies to provide better care on the nursing side. We’re approaching innovation from both the tech side and the service side.
Lastly, we spend a lot of time side by side with our clients from an advocacy standpoint in DC and in local markets. Almost 40% of the market data flows through Homecare Homebase. We’ve been able to unlock and demonstrate the access challenges that people have, which are causing them to turn away almost 56% of visits right now. There just aren’t enough nurses to do the work, and there is a massive disparity across income groups.
How is HCHB helping providers tackle those workforce challenges?
On the nursing side specifically, workforce challenges forced us to double down on our EMR in the field, making it as efficient as it can be. From a workflow standpoint, we’re focused on giving nurses time back to focus on the patients, but that has unfortunately been tough to accomplish. We’re rethinking the entire platform with an eye toward the clinician, making sure we’ve got the best and most modern tools at their fingertips to make the documentation process quick and intuitive.
Further, we’ve leaned into the concept of scheduling, which is a very manual process in the world today. We can borrow from the logistics advancements of the Amazons and the UPS playbooks to unlock more visits by making sure we get the right resources, to the right place, at the right time.
Where do you see the home-based care industry going in the future, and how is HCHB preparing for that vision?
The thing that stood out most to me when I came into the homecare and hospice world was the episodic view of care. We get a patient, we see a patient, and the patient moves on. I think the future that we see is taking care of patients in the home on a longitudinal basis, meaning from birth to death.
On the tech side, we’ve got to adapt the ways we provide care. We’re in the process of totally revamping our underpinning so providers can track patients over time, not just on an episodic basis. All types of patients are consumers of health care, and we’re going to deliver different services and different providers, whether it be nurses, telehealth, doctors, aides in the home — our platform’s going to support that and track that over time.
What stands out about Homecare Homebase as a technology company?
We’re probably investing more from an R&D standpoint than anybody in the industry. I think it’s critical because the status quo is not going to work. Agencies don’t have enough nurses or enough back-office staff. They need efficiency, and tech companies have to reinvest in this industry to help find those efficiencies. I think we do this at a scale that no one else is.
The second thing we pride ourselves on is providing interoperability to our customers and unlocking the potential of new tech coming into the industry. We have multiple APIs to help share data between HCHB and other vital systems that agencies use for daily operations. HCHB is continuing to open up our platform by deepening our integrations and building a partner ecosystem that helps everyone involved accomplish more than they could alone.
Finish this sentence: “In the home-based care industry, 2023 will be the year of…?”
…continued concerns around nursing capacity and cost pressure, but with an underlying theme of innovation and reimagining the future models of care in the home.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity
Homecare Homebase is a software leader offering hosted, cloud-based solutions to streamline operations, simplify compliance and boost clinical and financial outcomes for home-based care agencies. Our customized mobile solutions enable real-time, wireless data exchange and communication between field clinicians, physicians and office staff for better care, more accurate reporting and improved revenue cycle management. For more information, visit hchb.com or to view the 2023 outlook surveys visit hchb.com/white-papers.
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].