Home sick

Over the past two years, remote demand has brought patient care to the home. A March 2022 survey found that 76% of people who visited by phone as of July 2021 would prefer to visit by phone in the future. Doctors are also in favor of this, 75% say that telehealth has allowed them to provide better care and more than 70% feel they are interested in increasing the use of telehealth. Research shows that home care results in better patient outcomes and costs 30% less than in-person care.

As many health systems expand their home offerings, health care workers face new responsibilities and an emphasis on efficiency. This puts a lot of emphasis on digital. However, the proliferation of digital devices has raised concerns about issues such as cybersecurity and sanitization, while creating opportunities for new mobility and remote monitoring tools.

Acquiring sustainable skills through digital

Serving more patients at home makes efficiency a priority for healthcare workers and mobile technology is a key differentiator, empowering them to automate manual tasks.

Reporting consumes a large portion of healthcare workers’ time each day, especially when they need to return to the office between visits to review records. Having a laptop in the field can help streamline the process significantly. Employees can report from their car while the details of the trip are still fresh in their minds. This helps reduce potential errors.

Devices with integrated cameras help provide detailed reports. A 2019 study found that more than half of doctors use text messages and digital photo sharing when communicating with patients. Instead of finding words to describe what an injury looks like, home health care workers can attach images, so doctors and other members of the care team can “see” the condition and monitor progress.

Devices with a built-in barcode reader can help providers track medications and review refill dates. Scanning the RFID tag on a patient’s medical bracelet also records the time of day the person received care.

Finally, recording software can help staff computerize the forms they receive so that all patient information is in one place. Devices equipped with electronic signatures to capture signatures further facilitate this process, making it more efficient to submit insurance claims and consent forms electronically. The ability to streamline time-consuming processes such as record keeping not only increases employee productivity, but also improves accuracy and efficiency.

Meeting safety and hygiene requirements

Healthcare is one of the most targeted industries for cybersecurity breaches. The consequences of this attack can be dire. In 2020, Universal Health Services experienced a cyber security breach that forced several of its US regions to send patients to different locations and move to paper until IT teams resolved the attack.

As healthcare workers increasingly use their mobile devices to create reports and access electronic health records, equipment and data security become increasingly important. Depending on the design, enterprise devices often have additional security features. To a significant extent, these devices and the software they contain rely on privacy protection. Moving forward, we will see more healthcare organizations exploring advanced security measures, such as fingerprint readers, facial recognition, and other biometrics. Building these features into the device and making security an integral part of the user experience means staff can focus on their patients and provider networks gain added security from requiring additional authentication to access device information and their networks.

Cleaning equipment has always been very important and has become even more important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you’re disinfecting before handing over to a co-worker on another shift or cleaning between trips to prevent the spread of germs, it’s important for healthcare workers to use a device that can control it regularly. What is most suitable for this is a solid material. Not only are they resistant to stains and spills, they can also survive a lifetime of constant wiping.

Using advanced connections to communicate in real-time

Investments in digital health reached a peak value of $ 57.2B in 2021. This is important, because these companies not only increase telephone conversations, but also increase remote patient monitoring and the ability to share data in real time.

Mobile devices with powerful web cameras are essential, so home care workers can communicate with hospital staff remotely. As the industry moves to the future of devices that use 5G, these videos will be better. Limited bandwidth and high latency prevented 4G LTE from realizing the full potential of telemedicine. Devices that use 5G will enable real-time video viewing and high-quality medical imaging, and facilitate quick communication between the patient, medical staff, and hospital staff.

5G will also enable high-speed data transmission, so that home healthcare providers can share patient and vital data with hospital staff in real time in critical situations. In addition, 5G will create many opportunities for the use of IoT devices, as its strong bandwidth and wide coverage will facilitate device communication. In this way, regardless of the location of the staff, they can easily collaborate to collect readings from medical devices and monitor patient wearables.

Looking ahead

As home health professionals continue to take on new roles, technology will play a major role in streamlining existing roles. It will be important for organizations to ensure that technology supports the workforce and is able to provide patient care.

Photo: SDI Productions, Getty Images

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