May 12 2022
Reading Time: 4 minutes
By: Melissa Kozak, RN, BSN, Co-Founder and President, CitusHealth
In the peak of COVID-19, amid lockdowns and mandatory distancing in almost every facet of life, we were all in the same boat—even though many of us were stuck in the confines of home, we still needed to get things done. Work, groceries, packages, takeout, doctor appointments. Somehow, in the middle of a global pandemic, society managed to endure. And it was all because of technology.
From ordering takeout delivery to having groceries dropped at our front doors to telehealth appointments on the couch, we were forced to embrace technology that allowed us to thrive from the comforts of home. And long after these lockdowns have ended, we continue to expect this level of innovation from every business we interact with.
Healthcare is not immune to these expectations—especially home-based care.
Home-based care was on the rise well before COVID-19, but the last two years have accelerated that demand (a WebMD study shows that nearly 90% of seniors prefer to age in place and receive care in their home). Now that we’re in the wake of the pandemic, people have a true understanding of the value of technology and how it can level-up the consumer experience of receiving a service from the convenience and comfort of home.
So what happens when home-based care organizations fail to prioritize the patient experience?
With poor engagement, home-based care providers will fail to satisfy patients.
In 2019, only 11% of patients had ever used telehealth. After the height of the pandemic, that number jumped to 76%. It’s clear that in this new normal, patients’ expectations have evolved. The digital tools they were forced to use throughout COVID-19 created positive experiences and set the bar for organizations moving forward. Many patients and family caregivers have also realized that remote care helps them adhere to their care and participate more in their care journey.
This higher bar in home-based care means competition is fierce. New providers are entering the market at a rapid pace, which means patients have more choices than ever before and organizations must adopt technologies that prioritize the patient experience. For smaller organizations that struggle to compete with a consolidating market creating much larger providers, this means putting a significant focus on service.
When the patient experience is number one, every provider—no matter the size—is on a level playing field.
When the patient experience is deficient, referral sources will find other home-based care providers.
93% of physicians believe mobile health engagement can improve patient health. If patients are expecting better experiences from home-based care providers, referral sources are setting the same bar for digital health capabilities—and they, too, have more choices than ever before. Referral partners also have expectations for interoperability and technology that simplifies the digital exchange of patient information. 74% of referral sources say they would switch to a new home-based care provider if that organization was able to accept electronic referrals and interoperate with them effectively.
There is also a correlation between higher CAHPS scores and more referrals. Five HHCAHPS survey questions relate specifically to the patient experience, which include:
Simply put, prioritizing engaging patients through digital health could result in more business.
Before this digital revolution in healthcare, patients and family caregivers likely had a certain experience around these CAHPS topics. But with technology translating to healthcare in new and innovative ways, the ability to communicate easily will be scrutinized in the future.
Is your organization providing a positive experience for patients? Schedule a demo today to see for yourself how CitusHealth can help home-based care providers boost patient satisfaction and referrals.