In the past, healthcare at home was considered as a luxury only few could enjoy but with the advancement of technology, we see the era of healthcare digitalization. Technology is the main catalyst that drives the evolved ecosystem of home and healthcare.
Let’s discuss some key statistics, shall we?
- According to Grand View Research, the global home healthcare market was valued at USD 281.8 billion in 2019.
- North America dominated globally with a share of around 42% in 2019.
- The global home healthcare market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9% from 2020 to 2027.
- According to Home Healthcare Market Scope, in 2020 the market size value is estimated to be USD 303.6 billion.
- Revenue forecast for 2027 is 515.6 billion.
Harmony between Age Demographic and Home Healthcare
In today’s world, there has been a drastic change in the number of individuals seeking medical assistance at home. It is estimated that approximately 12 million people are receiving home healthcare.
The continuously evolving home health care technology is being accelerated by the rapidly changing users age demographic. According to Statista, in 2017, about 16% of the American population was 65 years old or more. These figures are expected to reach 22% by 2050. This is a significant increase from 1950, when only eight percent of the population was 65 or over. Now, keeping the statistics in mind, the need of the hour is to develop home health care solutions according to people’s expectations and needs!
The numbers do not lie and looking at the above data, we can say that if you are aspiring for healthcare app development, the time is now! We can not only help you turn your healthcare system into a digital health leader but also turn healthcare consumerism challenges into an opportunity.
What does home healthcare entail?
Home care technology comprises professional giver services for a short term or a long term period, at the comfort of your home. Home healthcare not only provides services for elderly people but also for people with different conditions like, individuals who have special needs or a disability, someone who is aging and needs help to live independently, people recovering from a medical setback, or suffering from chronic diseases, etc.
Types of home healthcare services:
- Home assistance: With medical assistance at home, professional caregivers can help people with activities like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, household tasks and other daily activities. This helps individuals embrace independence and safety.
- Private medical assistance: It allows individuals to get healthcare at home rather than in a medical facility. It involves medical experts like doctors and nurses to take care of people with chronic illness, special needs or disability and medical injuries.
- Home healthcare workers: People require home healthcare like, the assistance of a therapist, nutritionist, nurse or a physiotherapist in order to recover from an illness or injury and improve their lifestyle.
Technologies Impacting Home Healthcare Ecosystem
The power of technology is revolutionizing home healthcare services! Medicines, equipment and other healthcare requirements can be determined with the help of real time technology.
Technological advancements in home healthcare have reached a different level! Let’s discuss five technologies that are reforming home healthcare.
1. Electronic Visit Verification
EVV or electronic visit verification is a technology which helps in verifying caregiver appointments, scheduling and cancellation, to avoid no-show home appointments. Hence, the service of a home healthcare personal is electronically verified. It mainly includes:
- The type of service requested by the individual
- Information of the patient
- Information of the home healthcare professional
- Location at which the service is required
- Date when the service is required
- The begin and end time of the service
2. Remote Patient Monitoring Tools
Home health monitoring devices are the tools or devices that are used to track a patient’s well-being. In today’s world, we have fitness bands that keep a regular track of one’s activities like the number of steps walked, sleep and diet that one had, etc. These innovative applications of wearable tech in healthcare provides individuals assurance that someone is watching over them and tracking their every move towards a healthy and a better lifestyle. These devices can also be connected with smart phones to reduce cost and time consumed while visiting a doctor.
There are many devices that can also be used to measure blood pressure level, glucose level, heart rate monitoring and other measurements. RPM allows the caregivers, doctors, patients and their families to track their healthcare needs and eliminate risks as well as regular doctor visits.
3. Virtual Reality
VR technology is helping both patients and doctors. Virtual reality is now used for training healthcare professionals in a more realistic and low-risk environment. It also helps in building the age gap between young doctors and elderly patients. This way, medical professionals get a chance to increase their capabilities.
When it comes to physical and mental health, virtual reality technology offers therapeutic potential. It helps in rehabilitation and healing for anxiety disorders and severe pain. According to the ABI Research, VR services in the medical and healthcare segment is about to explode in value from $8.9 million in 2017 to around $285 million in 2022.
4. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
Health information technology, medical services, devices and data constitute the internet of medical things or IoMT. According to Deloitte, the IoMT will be worth $158.1 billion by 2022. Few advantages of IoMT for both, medical professionals and patients are listed below:
- It reduces the room for mistakes.
- The intake and effect of medicines can be monitored.
- Digital therapy can be used to minimise the pain such as: acupuncture, massages, etc.
- Biofeedback systems can help caregivers track heart rate, temperature, glucose, blood pressure, etc.
Virtual healthcare like telehealth or telemedicine, allows consumers to get in touch with medical caregivers with the help of technology. By using mobile apps or video conferencing, doctors and nurses are just a finger touch away. Let’s discuss a few more benefits of medical technology:
- Telehealth is a great way to avoid travelling to-and-fro for the disabled and elderly patients.
- It allows doctors to examine patients anywhere, anytime and share the outcomes in real time.
- It also makes the remote patient monitoring (RPM) process easier for the medical professionals since they can check-in on the patient in non-emergency situations as well.
It is said that blockchain will revolutionize the healthcare industry. Home healthcare is mainly dependent on huge data from various resources. The data requires extensive analysis to gain crucial insights for the apt treatment required. Below are a few advantages of blockchain in healthcare:
- It can easily help verify and manage patient’s medical data.
- Blockchain can be used for online payments and for the elimination of security issues.
- The integration of blockchain and healthcare can also be used in clinical research and drug development. It can be used to maintain data of trial patients, manage and keep a track of documentation, and reduce falsification of results.
7. Healthcare chatbots
This AI-powered technology can be leveraged to provide automated interactions with patients during critical times. These healthcare chatbots when integrated with medical information like symptoms, medications, treatments, doctors, conditions, etc can be a time savior. The questions in such chatbots revolve around the type of injury and level of pain; this information further gets recorded for caregivers to follow up with patients.
8. Electronic Health Records
The power of artificial intelligence helps save the valuable time of medical professionals! You must be thinking how is that possible? Well, AI automates several manual tasks such as: observing the patient constantly and recording the same. It also reports if there is any suspicious activity and requires immediate professional attention. This advancement in technology helps medical professionals focus on critical patients and eliminate the risks.
Challenges of Technology Integration in Home Healthcare
On one hand, technology has a positive impact on home healthcare services but on the other hand, it also presents some unique challenges. Some of those issues with technology in healthcare includes:
a) User-unfriendliness: While technology is constantly innovating home healthcare, it is not of any significance if it is too difficult to use! Problems in user interface such as, too much data and improper navigation does not contribute to a good user experience.
Solution: This challenge can be knocked off by hiring the right team of healthcare developers who will make sure that the user-interface is user friendly and easy to navigate. They can even integrate a step by step navigation of the app to enhance the user-experience.
b) Challenge of Interoperability: Interoperability is the ability of a system to access, exchange and integrate the data of a particular patient. This becomes a challenge when a patient’s information cannot be tracked with the right EHRs (Electronic Health Records).
Solution: The challenge of interoperability can be avoided if we implement cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based EHRs will not only be safe but also provide a centralized database.
c) Challenge of asset tracking: Medical professionals often complain that tracking the medical history and health reports are time consuming and causes delay in their work. Further, it makes them ‘a slave to EHRs’.
Solution: Since EHRs are a crucial part of home healthcare, they can’t be avoided. The healthcare software developer should give caregivers a proper training on how to use the technology without wasting their time.
Healthcare at home is transforming healthcare right now but it can be leveraged if you make sure to hire the right healthcare app development company who masters in healthcare software development and healthcare mobile app development. This way, the technologies can be utilized in an effective way. We need to believe in the benefits of medical technology in order to put them in the best use possible for patients, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals! The new healthcare ecosystem is awaiting, are you ready to embrace it?
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