Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”  The quote ranks 23rd among the American Film Institute’s top movie quotes, and for good reason – it’s as true today as it was in 1939. It’s particularly true when it comes to a comfortable setting for healthcare services and, for a growing number of healthcare patients, the saying is turning into reality thanks to connected health solutions that are transitioning healthcare delivery from the hospital or clinic to the home.

Smartphones have driven an app-centric society, but even beyond that, connected devices are quickly starting to dominate the home environment, from appliances and lighting to TVs and vehicles.  Consumers’ acceptance of – and demand for – connected systems and app-based services presents healthcare providers with an opportunity to leverage technology to deliver better results while solving some of the problems plaguing the industry.  It’s just one of several factors contributing to resurgence in home-based healthcare.

Connected home

The proliferation of connected home devices is a clear indicator of growing acceptance of technology- and app-driven households.  In fact, 90% of U.S. consumers own a connected home device, and a third own two or more smart home devices.  The high adoption rate of smart devices and mobile apps reflects an increased level of convenience technology delivers, and brands like Amazon, Lyft, Uber, Grubhub, and Airbnb – in fact, most major brands – have already transformed their business models to reflect a connected world.  Likewise, healthcare providers have access to connected health systems that can better position them in today’s connected world, and the acceptance of these digital services suggests that patients are open to connected health solutions that make care more convenient and accessible.  In fact, 77% of patients say they would be open to some type of virtual care.

Patient Accountability

Acceptance of connected health tools increases patient accountability, as the data that is either automatically recorded and transmitted or manually provided provides a real-time picture of conditions and results.  It also allows patients and physicians to more effectively collaborate in treatment adjustments to drive even better outcomes, building better patient-physician relationships.  However, despite a desire from patients to become more involved in their own health and wellness, there is a gap when it comes to delivery, as only 21% say they have been given access to connected health tools.

Value-based care

The emergence of value-based care over traditional fee-for-service model means that healthcare providers must implement solutions for more efficient and effective service delivery.  The goal of value-based care is a combination of better patient outcomes, a focus on population health, and reducing overall costs of healthcare.  In a value-based model, costs are aligned with patient outcomes, which requires providers to form evidence models to show the effectiveness of treatment.  This, in turn, requires increased use of patient data, which connected health technologies and home-based care are inherently designed to provide.  The use of connected devices – wearable or other Internet-connected devices that transmit data directly to patient records – and web portals or apps that allow patients to enter data manually, increased the quantity and quality of data.  Reports suggest that the use of connected health technologies is on the rise, increasing to 71% of providers using some form of connected or virtual care in 2017.

Provider readiness

There are two sides to a value-based model that support the demand for better and more efficient care – payment and service delivery.  A majority of healthcare organizations claim they are prepared to move to a value-based model from a payment perspective, with nearly a quarter having already made the transition.  However, half say they don’t have the infrastructure to support such a model, which is in line with feedback from patients who say they have not been given access to connected health tools that can help assess quality of care and outcomes.

There is a clear demand for connected health technologies and home-based care to deliver more personalized and effective care, including a technology-conscious society and an emerging value-based care model.  As the saying goes, “what’s old is new again,” and today’s technology is bringing back the home doctor visit.  To learn how connected health technologies can help your patients receive better, convenient, and more cost effective care from the convenience of their homes, visit us here.

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