Home Care as a Long-Term PracticeBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 04/20/2021 - 17:06
Home care has become one of the key trends of 2021. This care model received special attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals focused on treating patients with the virus while non-COVID-19 patients deferred appointments out of fear of contagion. Besides being a good option for treatment continuity and attention during COVID-19, home care was also the way for many health businesses to reinvent their service offering to survive amid pandemic lockdowns.
Home care includes a wide range of health services that can be brought to a patient’s home to treat an illness or injury. According to Medicare, this model is usually less expensive, more convenient and equality effective as going to a hospital. From the medical devices industry to medtech, care providers have been looking at home care as the future of the industry. The concept, which initially targeted the elderly and people with disabilities, has now transformed and found potential to approach everyday ailments, providing follow-up options for patients with chronic diseases.
According to Home Health Care News, investment in home care will reach its highest peaks during 2021. During an MBN interview, César Marron, General Manager of Cardinal Health Mexico, explained that the pandemic undoubtedly streamlined processes like home care that were coming at a very slow pace. “Telemedicine and home care give patients the opportunity to have a more direct and rapid response from a doctor,” he said. This has also allowed the entry of competitors like Amazon or Apple into this market. “Today, 70 percent of treatments can be done from home with proper medical supervision.”
According to a survey by CareCentrix and KRC, 97 percent of health executives believe more care at home is better for both organizations and their members. A similarly high percentage said they believed treating members at home is more cost effective than facility-based care.
Juana Ramirez, CEO and Founder of Grupo SOHIN, explained during Mexico Health Summit 2021 that home care and telemedicine were a way to solve pandemic-related inpatient service demands, disrupted ambulatory practices, social distancing and physical space limitations. “We now see that hospitalization is not always necessary and that patients can be approached differently,” she said.
What Are the Benefits of Home Care?
“Home care facilitates diagnosis and treatment,” said Enrique Giraud, Managing Director of Fujifilm Mexico, during an interview with MBN. Fujifilm’s bet on this model is driven by the boom home care is experiencing in Japan, the company’s home country. “The company is experiencing innovative changes that make our equipment smaller or lighter, meaning they are easier to transport,” Giraud said.
During an MBN interview, Roberto Aguilera, Health and Life Sciences Advisory Leader at EY Mexico, explained that personalized health, which is based on unique diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, means taking healthcare to the patient’s home. “Providers need to understand the patient’s context and characteristics to be able to adapt to their lifestyle and deliver personalized attention and follow-up.” Aguilera explained that a good way to adapt care at home is through technology. He calls it the ideal tool to ensure a correct diagnosis and follow-up for the patient. Sometimes, home care is the way to predict the effectiveness of a treatment and at the same time determine its ideal doses and duration. “In healthcare, time and cost can make a huge difference,” said Aguilera.
Hector Valle, Founder and Partner at InnovaSalud, shared with MBN that home care is slowly becoming real in Mexico. “We are seeing some pretty exciting healthcare models in Mexico through the work of nurses and home caregivers. All of them are connected to digital platforms to monitor patients and report to doctors.” According to Valle, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of these care models. “What would have happened during the height of the pandemic if people had been treated at home on time?” he asks. “During these months, we have seen the birth of companies focused on this model, even helping patients by bringing oxygenation equipment to their homes.”