Home-based care has come a long way since 2020. But for the industry to rise to the next level and better leverage innovative technologies, a greater degree of interoperability is needed, according to Tim Ingram, executive vice president of interoperability at Axxess.
In this Future in Focus interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Ingram to learn all about the criticality of interoperability and how it’s advancing home-based care.
Looking ahead, what is the single most important thing that needs to happen in order to further accelerate home-based care in the U.S., and why?
It’s a buzzword a little bit, but I think it’s an important buzzword if people understand it, and that is to expand interoperability. It really is expanding communication across all health care settings. It’s a lot harder than it should be for patients to have their information shared across those settings. With that expanded communication, or expanded and improved interoperability, that will facilitate greater adoption of technology. If we can have organizations adopt technology better, at the end of the day, that’s going to enable better care.
I think that’s important, particularly, because of the advent of value-based purchasing. When I can easily see my data, use my data, and I can see patients’ data who were under my care, regardless of where they were before, then patients and payers will better understand the value of home-based care.
This was evident to me in some recent health experiences that I had, where one organization could not see what another organization had done to help me, and it should not be that way. Expanding interoperability across care settings and across technologies, that’s going to be really important for us to continue advancing better care across the U.S. and, frankly, globally.
What degree of progress has the home-based care field made in communicating their value to payers, in your view?
I think there’s an opportunity for regional and smaller organizations to learn from the larger organizations like LHC Group, Amedisys, Bayada or Enhabit, and other organizations like them. The smaller and the regional providers can learn about building great relationships with the payers. In fact, I’m grateful that some of the leaders in those organizations have shared very openly, through some articles that have been in Home Health Care News and other places, about how they have had success with some payers. At the end of the day, the size of an organization really should not automatically mean they’re considered, or they’re excluded, when the payers are looking for preferred providers.
What trends, challenges or opportunities do you see helping – or hindering – the advancement of home-based care over the next 12 months?
Depending on how you look at it – it can be advancing or hindering the industry – is consolidation. Whether it’s across home health, or between home health, hospice and private duty, I think that’s probably — and has been for the past couple of decades — an ever-present trend.
It often has unexpected consequences, particularly at a local level. It’s amazing to me how often an organization will consolidate or be acquired by a larger organization and then, fairly quickly after that, see that they lose their local presence because the people that were acquired don’t like the larger organization, and so they leave and start a new organization.
That’s just one of the unexpected consequences and again, that can be helping or hindering the industry depending on the type of care.
I think the biggest challenge for the foreseeable future though is going to be around staffing. Not just finding the right staff, but then keeping them and helping them advance in their careers. I’ll refer again to our Axxess Training and Certification program. Things of that nature that help not just train your employees for what you’re doing today, but also give them opportunity to advance within your organization.
It’s a lot better to promote from within because you’re spending a lot less time and effort, and you already know the people that you’re promoting as opposed to always having to find people on the outside. I think that staffing challenges may be forever but definitely for the foreseeable future.
Editorial Note: This article was originally published on Home Health Care News. We are sharing this piece in three parts; this is part three.