3 Ways to Integrate Tech-enabled Health and Home Care

CAST | June 14, 2022 | by Donna Childress

Check out the recommendations for policy changes, a systems approach, and collaboration and coordination.

The pandemic and the rise of telehealth are bringing home care and healthcare together. A recent report, Advancing Tech-Enabled Health & Home Care, named three promising opportunities to accelerate and scale the integration of tech-enabled health and home care. This report comes from the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, which launched a project in 2021 to review these issues.
 
"Projections estimate that up to $250 billion in US health-care spending could shift to virtual care,” says the executive summary. “However, the virtual-care ecosystem remains challenged by many factors, including inconsistencies with the traditional home-care delivery system, a lack of financial incentives to care for patients in the home, and decentralized technology platforms that are ill-equipped to integrate into complex health systems."
 
The center convened an expert group of stakeholders representing healthcare, technology, government and policy, research and academia, philanthropy, advocacy, and community-based organizations to develop solutions to advance tech-enabled care. The resulting report includes three key opportunities.
 
1. Policy changes to facilitate and support tech-enabled care and address barriers to expansion. At a roundtable, group members recommended extending core telehealth and home-care flexibilities implemented during the public health emergency. Doing so would enable further evaluation of cost and quality and the development of requirements and guidelines on appropriate use. The group also recommended larger-scale policy and program design changes, such as expanding value-based payment models.
 
2. Development of a systems approach that integrates health and home care to bridge gaps and bolster equity. As the guardrails for virtual care are developed for the traditional home setting, senior housing settings and other alternative care sites offer critical opportunities to test integrated care models at scale.
 
Open-source data sharing strategies would align further efforts between home-care providers and traditional health-care settings, including expanding interoperability requirements, developing application programming interfaces for home care and community-based providers, and bolstering collaborative data practices for longitudinal management across care teams.
 
3. Collaboration and coordination to accelerate efforts. Across sectors, collaborative approaches and overarching strategies that facilitate coordination among stakeholders in this complex environment must be implemented. The center recommends a national plan to drive progress on tech-enabled care that would include five key elements:

  • Establish a common lexicon,
  • Advance digital equity and access,
  • Build the case through data,
  • Address workforce challenges, and
  • Develop and scale payment models and incentives.

 
Read the full report.