The market for services and technologies to help patients remain at home is one of the fastest growing healthcare segments. Even before COVID-19, there was increasing momentum for care outside the walls of healthcare facilities. Now after a year of the pandemic, more money and effort is being invested in home care solutions.

Aging Population Drives Growth

There are many factors driving the growth in demand for home care services and technologies. The biggest factor is the aging population. The WHO estimates there will be 2 billion people over the age of 60 by 2050, far outstripping the capacity of every country’s existing long-term care and healthcare facilities.

Now after a year of the pandemic, more money and effort is being invested in home care solutions.

Keeping this aging population healthy and at home will be critically important. Other drivers include:

  • The desire for more convenient care that does not require lengthy travel or waiting rooms
  • Affordability (home care is cheaper than care in most facilities)
  • Increased reimbursement for at-home services
  • Safety
  • Improved mental health

According to Precedence Research (left), the home healthcare market was valued at $167.28 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to double to $383.66 billion by 2030.

“We are definitely seeing meaningful movement towards home care,” said Ashish V. Shah, CEO of Dina, makers of an AI-powered care coordination platform that helps the elderly live at home independently. “There was a movement already before COVID towards providing more home health services to people in the community. It’s safer. It’s cheaper. It’s better for everyone’s mental health.”

CMS Boosts Hospital at Home

In March 2020, CMS launched the Hospital Without Walls program to help the US healthcare system handle the surge in COVID-19 patients. Under this program, hospitals were able to provide healthcare services beyond the four walls of their facilities.

This is clearly a sign that CMS is taking care-at-home seriously. It just makes sense to continue to fund care-at-home.

In November, CMS expanded the program to give healthcare providers more flexibility including: “allowances for safe hospital care for eligible patients in their homes and updated staffing flexibility designed to allow ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) to provide greater inpatient care when needed.”

“This is clearly a sign that CMS is taking care-at-home seriously,” said Shah. “Now that there is a financial reimbursement framework in place, healthcare systems are starting to take it seriously. My hope is that this program remains in place after the pandemic subsides. It just makes sense to continue to fund care-at-home.”

Read the complete story by Colin Hung at Healthcare IT Today.

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