In the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of home care in the healthcare ecosystem. Home care is now needed more than ever to relieve some of the pressure on hospitals, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), assisted living centers, as well as other health providers.
Home care was already a valuable part of the patient care continuum, for example, helping discharged hospital patients better cope with their recovery to avoid hospital readmissions.
However, during the pandemic, its value grew since it represented a less costly and safer care environment for people who didn’t need daily medical supervision. Home care also ensured a smoother transition for facility-based care patients who wanted to transition to home care.
Although home care is non-medical in nature, it has proven effective in speeding up the recovery process and improving patients’ overall health. Caregivers can spend considerably more time with patients and assist them at home with personal needs such as bathing, dressing, and mobility or attending to various daily living activities.
As more people have experienced the benefits of home care, they begin to trust the latter for the long term. Health care providers and hospitals also see the importance and value of partnering with home care providers.
So, what can home care agencies do before partnering with a healthcare provider to guarantee a successful partnership?
1. Showcase the positive results of home care
Data collection and its presentation are key to demonstrating tangible results. Home care agencies must be able to prove their positive results to potential clients and potential partners.
According to industry reports, “the market size of the Home Care Providers industry in the US has grown 3.4% per year on average between 2017 and 2022”. As most home care customers are the elderly, home care is expected to continue to grow in conjunction with the aging population.
Home care agencies that use software such as Smartcare Software can easily showcase their customer satisfaction rates, the number of clients, caregivers, care visits, and more because such data is collected automatically. Presenting this information educates and increases patients’ and potential partners’ trust in home care.
2. Join third-party networks
Health care and home care go hand in hand. When hospitals, facility-based care providers, and other health care providers are overwhelmed, home care agencies can come to their aid. Therefore, partnerships between them are necessary for patients’ safety and health.
Home care agencies can join third-party networks that can pave the way for partnering up with facility-based health care providers. These networks can help home care providers better understand the contracting and credentialing process as well as learn how to negotiate rates, billing practices, and general administrative structures.
Smartcare Software is already part of such networks and provides its customers with the ongoing support they need to grow.
3. Make sure your agency complies with home care regulations
Even though home care primarily concerns non-medical care, there are regulations in place to protect vulnerable people who receive care at home.
Home care agencies need to adhere to guidelines and regulations, employ certified caregivers, and keep up with their training or certification renewals.
Demonstrating to potential partners that you comply with regulations and your staff has attained the required certifications will add another layer of trust in your business.
4. Train and retain your caregivers
Investing in your caregivers’ futures is just as important for a home care agency as its own future. If you want to grow your home care agency and partner with healthcare providers, you need a strong and reliable team of caregivers to help you attain success and support your growth.
Surveys show that the number one reason caregivers leave their job is lack of training. So, providing further training to caregivers can improve caregiver retention. Training caregivers can also expand the offerings of home care agencies. The better trained and qualified home care agency caregivers are, the more home care services they can safely and legally provide at home to support healthcare workers and reduce hospital readmissions.
5. Invest in technology designed to support your growth
As the demand for home care continues to grow, using technological solutions that can help home care agencies cope with this growth has become increasingly important.
Home care agencies need to use technology to automate tasks, provide flexible scheduling to caregivers, maintain an organized database of patients’ information and care plans, offer better communication between the agency, client, their family, and the caregiver. Such technology increases the efficiency of business operations and is an attractive feature for prospective health care provider partners since they will be referring their own clients/patients.
Home care technologies can also help agencies address compliance requirements such as EVV with GPS verification or HIPAA privacy policies.
Using tailor-made technology in home care can improve business outcomes so that home care agencies can obtain successful customer satisfaction, caregiver satisfaction, and business results. Consequently, home care agencies can strengthen their reputation in the health care industry and partner with bigger clients.