The home healthcare market is growing. Grand View Research estimates that this market will reach $517.23 billion by 2028, a CAGR of 7.8 percent. There are several factors driving this growth. One is the shift to value-based care, which puts the focus on preventive care and improving patient outcomes by managing care through coordinated teams. The increasing size of the aging population is another contributor to growth.
Technology is also a huge factor driving the home healthcare market. Mobile software and hardware solutions are now available that make it possible to provide many types of healthcare at home, while ensuring safety and overall better experiences for patients.
While new technology continues to make quality patient care at home possible, however, home healthcare organizations and their clinicians are often challenged to find the right mobile solutions to address the business side of their operations.
Providers need to find ways to provide patients with required documentation and comply with HIPAA, Medicare, and other recently mandated requirements, ensure medication lists and care plans are accurate and up to date, provide information to family or caregivers – and still find time to focus on patients and their individual needs.
Mobile Device Features for Home Healthcare
Just as important as it is to develop applications for home healthcare providers with the features this industry needs, it’s important to partner with mobile device vendors that can provide solutions designed for home healthcare clinician use.
For example, home healthcare clinicians require full-page printers that can wirelessly print all types of patient care documents on demand from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It’s important that these documents are printed in a full-page format to ensure they’re easy for patients, caregivers and families to read — since clear, understandable, and shareable documentation will contribute to positive patient outcomes. Going all digital may be a good idea for other industries, but in home healthcare, paper documentation can make a big impact on a patient’s well-being. Relying solely on electronic medical record (EMR) systems with often complex and frequently changing log-in credentials, or inaccessible email accounts can be frustrating, and frankly beyond the capability of some patients or multiple caregivers.
On-demand mobile printing for home care also supports recent federally mandated CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) written documentation requirements. It’s a vital tool in helping home healthcare or clinical organizations meet ever-changing safety requirements, and pass compliance audits.
Moreover, home healthcare clinicians can work for multiple different healthcare organizations, so they may be challenged to keep their records straight and maintain HIPAA compliance with confidential forms or other patient information. Reliable mobile printers allow them to deliver necessary documentation at the point of care – and they also enable much more cost-effective and efficient processes than spending time returning to the office to print and send documents via postal mail.
With any solution designed for this market, remember that home healthcare providers will find the greatest value in the ability to save time and money. Some are still keying data into their laptops, then transferring information on handwritten forms for the patient. This can add 20 minutes to a home healthcare appointment, but that’s 20 minutes spent on paperwork, not on the patient’s health. Saving time also means a clinician can visit more patients, thus providing true ROI for the technology investment.
Mobile Device Features Important to the IT Department
When you’re looking for mobile device vendors to partner with to offer home healthcare solutions, ensure the devices are rugged enough to withstand use on the road, exposure to the outdoors as they’re transported to patients’ homes, and can keep performing if they’re dropped to a hard surface. Also, make sure they have adequate battery life and have an ergonomic design so the clinician doesn’t find them hard to use. Of course, your solutions should be compatible with the EMR or home care system the clinicians use.
Mobile thermal printers, such as PocketJet by Brother, are a good choice for home healthcare clinicians since they are compact, lightweight, wireless, actually cost less per printed page, and don’t require changing messy ink in the field. Printer vendors should also offer models that your customers can use with Windows, Android, or iOS devices and easily connect and print wirelessly with Wi-Fi® or Bluetooth®. Furthermore, Supporting Apple’s AirPrint® and/or MFi are important requirements to support iOS® devices.
The Opportunity for ISVs
The growing market is a prime opportunity for ISVs to develop solutions for home healthcare and to offer them as a part of a total solution that addresses this industry’s unique needs for efficiency, accuracy, and patient-centric processes. Your partnerships will be key to your ability to do this — the mobile devices your customers use need to add efficiency and agility to their ability to provide patient care. They won’t settle for less. There’s too much at stake.