Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:00

What the Future Holds for the Home Health Industry

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Ranking among one of the largest industries in healthcare, the home health industry is one of the few seeing an increase in market value. With industry growth and a rise in Americans living longer with chronic, long term diseases like diabetes and heart disease and ‘aging in place,’ home health is poised for growth and new developments.  Here’s a look at some industry insights and predictions for the future.

Industry Insights

Companies within the home health industry provide a range of skilled nursing, physical therapy and other health care services to patients in their homes. In order to ensure that accounting/billing records are appropriately managed, data is correctly inputted and patient information is properly secured, most home health agencies rely upon a home health software program.  Currently, there are more than 1,000 home health software companies offering this e type of software.  Home health software is amongst one of the growing markets within the technology and home health industry.

Another important key factor to the home health industry is location. A majority of the upcoming companies are located in the southern portion of the United States. As boomers age and look to relocate during retirement, most look for warmer climates and reduced costs of living, making many southern U.S. states such as Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas are popular for again Americans.

New developments in software and technology

One of the largest influences within the home health industry, which also plays a major role in its development, is software technology. Home health agencies are increasingly looking for software providers that are partners in their business process. Software systems designed specifically with home health agencies in mind can be used as a reliable resource to help with their growing patient census.  Billing revenue cycle management, operations support, claims management in compliance with HIPAA laws/regulations and the ability to increase revenue/referrals are all services offered by best-in-class software. In addition, user-friendly software that’s scalable for growing home health agencies is important to support future growth.  

Recently, accessibility to home health software through portable devices like smart phones or tablets has emerged as the next technology wave in home health. Using mobile technology helps clinicians deliver better point of care and the agency against fraud. Using GPS, clinicians can navigate to a patient’s home, complete patient data and submit forms and capture signatures proving care was delivered, called Electronic Visit Verification or EVV. Not all home health software agencies offer mobile applications at this time; however, it is an important new development in home health that combines both mobile computing and software.

As of most recently, other important developments in home health software and technology include; EHR (Electronic Health Records), at-home monitoring, alarm integration and telemedicine. Each of these developments within the home health industry has made it easier for health care workers to treat patients remotely and perform their duties along with the ability to provide care for their patients faster yet accurately.

Predications for the future

As we approach the year 2020, more than 50 million Americans will be ages 65 or older – representing an estimated 17% of the entire population. This overall increase in age amongst the entire population will, as a result, cause an increase in demand for home health care.

Experts also predict that during this time the amount of active physicians and nurses will decrease – falling short for the demand created by this aging population by 5.5% and 36%, respectively. Therefore, not only will home health care be in high demand by, and perhaps before, the year 2020 but also doctors and nurses.

With an increased demand for home health care, nurses and doctors, the home health software industry is expected to see an increase in value from $3.4 Billion to $6.4 Billion (almost double) by the year 2018; with measures likely to gradually continue to increase.

This increase in value will occur throughout the entire home health industry as demand will be high with a predicted potential for supply will be low. 

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