I have been travelling this whole year like crazy meeting prospective investors, Advisors, Directors, would –be partners, CEO’s and the Tech people, not in the same order though. Just the other day while flying back to Kolkata from Delhi on a domestic flight, I was reminded of the time when I flew to Delhi just three days back. I noted something very Interesting ; SAME AIRLINES, SAME ROUTE but altogether a totally different experience and it was so different that I find it hard to grade their service from a scale of 1- 10, because of the extreme nature of their service.
Pardon me, this could be a weak analogy but I was just trying to reinforce the fact that the users all over the world are the same when it comes to their expectations, and specially in a home care setting the patients, the users are going to be much more critical and judgmental, one bad day and all the hard earned goodwill goes down the drain because of one of your staffs. The patients would not care if you are one home agency, a metro city only agency or a pan-India Home care Agency. For any Home Care Company, what would really matter is the contingency plans, the expertise of the care team and the foresight to adapt to the Consumers evolving need, and this will stand them in good stead
Home care is nothing new in an Indian setting, it has always been there. I vividly remember when I used to fall sick during my childhood days; I always had the privilege of being surrounded by the docs, owing to me being from a family of doctors. Those were the days in 80’s I guess where only a select few who had the formula and the fine art, ( and on a lighter note – maybe membership of freemasonry, I suspect..? ) could make Mercurochrome and that was the closest we came to First Aid, any scrapes and cuts, we would apply a dash of mercurochrome and the wounds would heal miraculously, and believe you me those days any one could afford to get a doctor to come down to his home, it was called “House calls”, the doctors had excellent bed side manners and could diagnose pretty well and they had all the time in the world to engage in little banter too. I reckon Life was much easy when Apple, Orange and Blackberry were just fruits. So what went wrong !
“The greatest disease today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is care & love.”
It is so heartening to note so many Home Care providers are implementing technology-based solutions to help increase the efficiency of those delivering care in the home setting and to ensure accurate and compliant data exchange of patient information. Improving patient outcomes and satisfaction is the primary goal for home care providers. By utilizing a PoC solution, clinicians have the tools they need to best assess the patient in the field quickly and easily.
There are numerous technological tools available for all of the constituents in the homecare network, such as monitoring devices, mobile health applications, and Home care management software which can perform many important functions. These tools enable the provider to track visits and help to ensure the proper plan of care is being delivered. Electronic time sheets reduce internal staff labor of having to track, collect, verify and enter data manually, which increases productivity.
Well, if you note the recent downtrend of some great startup, Unicorns I must say, doesn’t matter whether you are funded by VC’s or bootstrapped. No matter how big you scale up( Vasan Eye Care ) no matter how much fund you get ( Theranos ), in the end you are going to be judged by what you have to offer.
In Healthcare at home business, patients are going to judge you by the way your staffs and healthcare providers care for the patients. The bells and whistles could wait but the delivery mechanism and quality of care ought to be top notch.
Technology alone can’t disrupt the Home Care industry, but it can certainly help increase connectivity and collaboration. Technology would help monitor, track the care givers and also help in POC diagnosis at home, but we have to remember Home care is not technology driven, it is more care driven. Tech is no substitute for a true caring healthcare provider who has empathy and the time to heal the patient back to good health.
So along with investment in technology it is time stakeholders should also start thinking of providing training to their care givers and ingrain in them the values of a good caregiver so that they are more empathetic, and I strongly believe Home care is something special, the care givers should be sensitized to the patients needs
All of these individuals will need training, training and certification standards for direct care workers should be established. In educating direct care workers to distinguish aging from disease, to treat elders with respect, to assess and report problems, to resolve conflict, and to manage stress and to bring each patient back to good health should be the mantra. VOI ( value on investment ), is the thing that a patient is looking for unlike the ROI that the provider is concerned about
It should be the mission of all Home Care Agencies to help maximize the value of each and every in-home encounter, maximize the efficiency of home-care providers, and integrate payers and providers to improve care delivery.