As health care becomes more integrated, it’s no wonder that hospitals are looking to post-acute care services to manage patients across care settings. Home health services, in particular, are uniquely positioned as fundamentally low-cost providers that can inflect high-cost utilization.
Due to this demand, home health agencies are flooding the market. Here are four characteristics that differentiate the high-performers.
1. They readily adapt services to meet diverse patient demands. Patients today require many types of home health visits, reflected in the broad array of services (i.e. nursing care, occupation therapy, physical therapy, etc.) and staff in the market today. To keep up with patient needs, agencies should be able and willing to adjust their staff and services to meet new demands, whether it’s expanding new services or shrinking existing ones.
2. They consistently raise the bar on patient satisfaction. A hospital’s value-based purchasing scores can suffer if other providers are not up to par during an episode of care. Home health providers should take a rigorous approach to make sure their patients are well-served in each care setting.
3. They proactively manage referrals. Not all patients who qualify for home health services will ultimately receive those services. To capture those patients, home health agencies need to educate physicians on the clinical and financial value of their services. They should also streamline the referral process to make it as easy as possible for their acute care partners. The best home health agencies position themselves as the “one-stop shop” for care coordination.
4. They leverage IT investments judiciously across patient populations. While there is little doubt that technology can help manage patient health outside the hospital, these technologies come at huge investment costs. Because of the current lag in reimbursement for telehealth services, providers should save these resources for the highest-risk patients to see the largest return on investment.
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