Taking Cues from Innovation Outside Homecare
New technologies offer solutions for homecare problems
by N. Ryan Vasconcellos

When people think of the homecare industry, they don’t necessarily think of technology, let alone advanced technology.

This is not because innovative technology is not readily available, but because most companies are either not forward-thinking or they’re stretched too thin as it is when it comes to using technology to make their business better.

I get frustrated when I see product or technological advancement working in a particular sector but not being universally shared for the health care industry overall. We operate in our own little silos—homecare, acute and post-acute. Hospitals tend to want to be on the cutting edge because they realize that it will save them money. However, innovations at work in the acute-care space could also have a positive impact in the homecare space—if they were utilized.

One intriguing innovation is in bioinformatics and the unlocking of microbiomes. Infectious disease diagnostics company CosmosID developed a microbial genomics platform focused on rapid characterization of microorganisms, pathogens and anti-microbial resistance for infectious disease identification, food safety inspections, pharmaceutical discovery, public health surveillance and microbiome analysis.

CosmosID uses a simple test that could easily be adapted for use in the standard of care of home health care. Imagine the potential benefits. The speed and universal nature of the test and the ability to detect both pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes could improve patient outcomes, significantly lower the risk of re-hospitalization and keep patients aging in place at home safely while reducing the total cost of care.

Supply Track from Clear Point Solutions is another innovative technology that could help the homecare market as much as the acute and post-acute markets.

Supply Track was recently awarded the first International Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Technology Innovation Award for its approach to providing advanced analytics to all hospital staff in real time. Anything that is tagged with the Supply Track nodes will be communicating to each other in real time, as these nodes are both receivers and transmitters.

Because Supply Track’s technology and software isn’t dependent on a Wi-Fi or 4G signal, accuracy and benefits can be realized in a 100-year-old facility or house, the same as in a brand-new multibillion-dollar facility. The use of medical equipment can be tracked and recorded along with the care of the patient, which can be linked with electronic medical records systems to ensure that all of that valuable data is captured. Instead of wondering if patients and caregivers are correctly using the equipment, you can know for sure exactly when, where, why and how the equipment is being used.

With the ability to set alerts to go to a mobile device to make sure patients get the exact care they need for their particular circumstances, Supply Track will be at the forefront of patient care and satisfaction, and will make a difference in reducing costs. If home health agencies, hospices and DME companies were to get on board with this technology, the level of care could skyrocket and costs could decrease across the board.

In a perfect world, the homecare industry would grab hold of technological advancements, such as CosmosID and Supply Track, and run with them. Currently in homecare, there are some innovations at work.

Honor is a nonmedical homecare company that specifically based its platform on technology. Honor has both Client and Care Pro apps that provide real-time data to make sure clients get the right care, and the family members stay fully up to date on the health and well-being of their loved ones. I believe more often than not, we are faced with a lack of information or data, which is why we are often left feeling nervous and stressed when dealing with the health of a loved one. Having access to that information provides a peace of mind that you simply cannot put a price on.

For the assisted living area of homecare, Zanthion developed the Zanthion SMART Senior Care Platform. Zanthion tracks factors related to several areas of concern, such as falls, activity and wandering, and can use advanced analytics to predict likely outcomes.

Connecting assisted living communities with the family and friends of residents can help elevate the level of care and confidence for those residents. Similar technology in one’s own home could be a game changer.

I’m more excited than ever to be working in health care. Innovation and technology are catching up to positively impact all of us.

The ability to use technology to assist millions of people and truly make the world a better place is more attainable than it has ever been. We could be on the cusp of a very special era in homecare.