Is technology smart enough to care for us?
Marcus Grindstaff, our VP of US Sales and Global Market Development, recently joined Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, Dr Steven Landers of the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group and Sara Rodriquez of Honeywell on a panel during CES 2015 to discuss that and more. We spoke with Marcus about their discussions that included home healthcare technology and the changes financial incentives and accountability would have on care organizations.
Q: How are financial incentives and accountability driving change within healthcare organizations.
Marcus: The incentive structure and accountability model is rapidly changing because of the Affordable Care Act. These changes will require healthcare organizations to be more responsible over a longer period of time and have more measurable success. This new responsibility and measurable success will be the most important part of driving referrals and receiving new business from hospitals and referrers. Hospitals will get dinged if readmission rates are too high. That is the impetus behind "narrowing of the referral market". In the past the hospital may have 30 in-network care groups to refer business to where as now they might narrow that down to seven who have provided the best care of their discharged patients and kept them from being readmitted to the hospital in that crucial first 30 days.
Q: How will we see the impact these changes will have on care organizations?
Marcus: Everyone on the panel agreed there would be three types of health care groups in the future, ones that adopt remote care quickly and successfully, ones that lead with remote care as their signature offering, and ones that fail to adopt remote care. You will know the third because they are the ones that will be acquired by the first two. It’s very much going to be like Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon. Care organizations must bring remote care into the home or be left out in the cold. They will either get connected to patients at home or get disconnected from the hospital revenue stream.
Q: Is there any more debate about whether remote care technology works to improve care?
Marcus: No. That debate is over, and everyone on the panel agreed it absolutely works to reduce cost and improve quality of care. What’s interesting about this topic is that it’s not really about technology. It's about people and the change management processes you put in place that make the difference. It starts with designing the proper program that delivers service to people the right way. It means you foster a culture within your own organization that will lead to that service being successful. After all that is done, you support it with the right technology.
Our industry hasn't done a good enough job of educating customers about how to use technology to achieve their goals. That’s why for last two years we've put in place service offerings that start with understanding customer’s goals so that we build a blueprint for success that determines what technology they need. We won’t sell technology without strong customer engagement.
Q: You were at the largest consumer technology exhibit in the world. We can’t let you go without hearing a little more about the new technologies on display that could impact home health care.
Marcus: Funny enough, in one section of the exhibit hall there were twelve booths, all in a long row selling nothing but selfie sticks. These are poles that extend far out while holding your camera so you take a better “selfie.” Everyone was having a good laugh at them and their place in our culture, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see if they are incorporated into home health care one day by helping to monitor the patient and their physical surroundings.