Technology-Enabled Population Management for Home Health Care Agencies and Health Care Facilities

Home health care agencies and healthcare facilities face an uphill climb as a greater number of...

Home health care agencies and healthcare facilities face an uphill climb as a greater number of aging adults seek care. The demand for services is increasing, but family members and clients are also becoming more selective. A growing number of clients and their loved ones are choosing providers that leverage population management and assert proactive measures.

Facilities and home health care agencies that subscribe to proactive (not reactive) client care philosophies often have clients that live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life. As such, many health care companies are searching for ways to weave the tenets of population management into their care philosophy. Population health management "involves a proactive, team-based approach to care that focuses on prevention, early intervention, and close partnerships with patients to tightly manage chronic conditions."

Most aging adults receiving home health care or residing in a healthcare facility are managing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and emphysema. These individuals require routine medical care in addition to caregivers that provide socialization, independent-living support, and health monitoring.
Employing a population management philosophy allows caregiving facilities and agencies to provide planned care to prevent the advancement of certain diseases, measure the effectiveness of initiatives, monitor progress, compare client progress with national guidelines and internal benchmarks, and reduce the incidence of serious falls.

How Can Population Management Impact Your Health Care Agency or Facility?

Proactive Preventive Care

Clients managing chronic conditions such as heart disease are often placed on heart-healthy diets and encouraged to exercise as able. Monitoring activity levels, blood pressure, and body weight can help caregivers recognize habits that may worsen an existing condition. In contrast, launching a new initiative aimed at increasing activity in this group could have a positive impact by decreasing both blood pressure and weight.

Measure Initiative Effectiveness

Data gathering before, during, and after a new initiative is vital to understanding the effort's impact. Without accurate data collection, it is impossible to know how current efforts impact the health of the population or if changes are even necessary.

Chart Client Progress

Healthcare facilities, especially those that focus on supporting aging adults, are under constant scrutiny. As regulations continue to change, it is becoming increasingly difficult for health care companies to keep up with changing guidelines while managing greater demand and maintaining a balanced budget.
With effective data collection, population management allows facilities to compare their own population's progress with that of national standards and even against internal benchmarks. As new initiatives are implemented, healthcare leaders can quickly see how efforts impact clients and seek ways to expand successful programs.

Reduce Serious Falls

According to the CDC, more than 3 million older people are treated for fall injuries each year. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury and account for more than $50 billion in medical costs each year. After a fall, the quality of life for many aging adults is dramatically reduced. Many experience a loss of mobility and may not return to independent living.

It is these factors that make fall prevention so critical. Fall prevention is more than just ensuring that the environment is free from obstacles. It also requires recognizing changes in physical health. Increased stumbles and near-falls may indicate the need for a cane or walker. Providing mobility assistance to prevent falls can have a significant impact on the life of the client.

What About the Costs?

For most, population management has proven out of reach due to its high-touch nature. Without a technology-based solution, a caregiver must complete all monitoring, requiring a significant time investment.

Effective population management takes caregivers out of reactionary mode but also requires consistent data gathering several times throughout the day. Collecting, analyzing, and filtering all of that data to arrive at actionable information can be overwhelming – both mentally and financially.

In the past, health care providers struggled to implement population management because the tools needed to make it effective were not readily available –that is no longer the case.

The availability of remote monitoring devices and comprehensive monitoring programs has opened the door to population management for health care facilities and home health care agencies. The CareMate remote monitoring program provides instant fall detection, stumble tracking, and heart rate, body temperature, and respiratory function monitoring. All data collected by the device is visible through the CareMate mobile application.

Additionally, caregivers can access the CareMate dashboard to see a complete list of tracked data. The dashboard is fully configurable to allow caregivers to set alert thresholds and raise the highest priority data to the top of the list for streamlined risk management. In support of a comprehensive approach to population management, CareMate's remote monitoring program also works with all other Bluetooth-enabled health monitoring devices to surface collected data in the CareMate dashboard and mobile application.

Effective population management using a high-quality remote monitoring program manages health care costs by reducing readmission rates and proactively addressing health care needs before the point of crisis. This care method diminishes the need for more expensive interventions that result from severe falls, unrecognized infections, and worsening chronic illnesses.

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