The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major changes in how healthcare, and many other industries, function. While the focus is on getting through the pandemic, home and community care has emerged as an invaluable method to safely deliver services to those who need them. In this new landscape, we’re thinking about what the patient journey will look like once the current crisis has passed. Several trends have started to emerge.
1. More care in the home
First, we’ve seen that when hospital space is limited, more care can successfully happen in the home or community, whether that’s through telehealth or with in-home resources. Complex care will remain at the hospital, but we’ll continue to rely on virtual or home-based alternatives. This will not only protect hospital bed capacity, but will provide lower-cost alternatives, and allow seniors and other patients to receive more without going into a hospital or doctor’s office.
Telehealth is not new; medical professionals have used it to reach patients in rural or remote settings since the late 1980s. Today, digital health has gone from a “nice to have” to a must have. Innovations in the area of at-home diagnostic equipment will enhance the ability of providers to do remote virtual care. We believe this is here to stay and innovation will continue to improve the caregiving experience.
2. Remote workforce engagement
Second, while engaging patients is important, remotely engaging your workforce has never been more critical. In the last 90 days since the pandemic has broken out, we’ve been called on by our home care provider customers to help develop solutions them protect their front-line caregivers.
Approximately 20% of Covid-positive cases in the U.S. are healthcare workers. That has created some serious constraints on the traditional health care system that is delivering care in hospitals and nursing homes. And organizations are struggling to to engage directly with remote field staff to understand if they’re healthy and safe, and have the necessary resources to take care of people in their homes.
Engaging patients is important; remotely engaging your workforce has never been more critical.
We’ve found that the strategic use of artificial intelligence to manage routine processes like employee health screenings has proved to be an efficient model. Our text-based Staff Screening and Check-In tool is now live in 20 states and we’re managing more than 10,000 screenings a day for hospitals and national home health agencies. Remotely screening your employees, and using AI to identify and escalate outliers, is the most efficient way to manage an extended workforce. Today, five states–New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington and Michigan–require healthcare workers to conduct daily self-screening and temperature checks before they report to work. Other states are expected to follow suit. We believe this, too, is here to stay.
3. Technology that’s easy to use, scale
And, third, we’ve seen that healthcare can move faster, and adapt to change, when it needs to. But the solutions need to be easy to use and easy to scale. We need to be flexible to get through COVID-19 and embrace changes that have helped us gather data from the home and community, and improve the patient journey, so more people can get care where they want: in their homes.