The dismantling from the ongoing pandemic is a notion that is being held onto by a lot of senior living providers who stated that healthcare is not their domain.
Yet, it does not mean that senior living providers will need to abandon their hospitality-driven models. It may mean that it is time to rethink how they should coordinate within the community, according to Bob Kramer, NIC Co-Founder, and Founder of Nexus Insights.
Kramer stated that the pandemic is causing creative destruction as to what has been senior care and housing. The care and housing model is that healthcare does not get done, and seniors are sent elsewhere for healthcare services, and that is a model that may not survive. He talked about this at the 2020 Collaborative Care HIT Summit.
In only six months, seniors learned to fear hospitals, doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and so on, because these places are associated with Covid-19. Yet, many have also felt all of the effects of social isolation like they never have before. That will create opportunities for senior living providers to fill any gaps by coordinating healthcare services in the community, while still providing social programming and even engagement that they are known for.
That does not mean that senior living providers will need to provide healthcare services because they can forge partnerships with other providers. However, it means that providers will have to actively manage the underlying and chronic health conditions of the residents during the future.
Kramer stated that you would have to make judgments about the health and safety of residents and employees, and if they fail during a pandemic or flu season, you will be tried and held accountable.
Through specific technologies such as telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and remote monitoring, senior life providers have the opportunity to achieve this goal and “on-site triage” to determine whether residents need to leave the community.
According to Andy McMahon of UnitedHealthcare Community and State, the vice president of health and human services policy, one of the biggest questions is how payers can drive this trend. Yet, it is not saying that payers are not trying to solve this issue as well.
McMahon went on to talk about how there is a massive opportunity if remote care management systems get produced more extensively, and that would allow for the expansion of access and reach for the members.
UnitedHealthcare noted that telehealth had started to skyrocket during the pandemic with over 20 times the normal range for usage in long-term care before it finally leveled off.
One of the biggest challenges for using technology to handle care is going to be the data. A healthcare provider, including the ones that are senior living, have figured out much more about data collection in recent years. However, according to Susheel Ladwa, the CEO of Onyx, a healthcare technology firm, that does not always mean that the data will be useful outside of the areas where it gets collected.
Yet, Ladwa believes that there can be policy change that will be coming down, which could help to overhaul just how data gets shared between healthcare providers. Starting July 2021, CMS or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ final ruling on the Interoperability and Patient Access will make all health plans data available using an app program interface. That is going to help developers access healthcare data and help to solve problems with inoperability while working on newer technology products.
Ladwa had explained that with this mandate, it could drive colossal change, and it is a big movement for healthcare, and it is going from old paper forms to entirely paperless.
Majd Alwan, senior vice president of technology, business strategy, and executive director of LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies, had provided his views regarding this trend. He feels that aging services and healthcare are data-poor before electronic health records and documents had come into play. When electronic records got created, it became data-rich, but there was too much data to be digested. Yet, the industry is going into a new phase where it can solve interoperability.
Alwan stated that you must have the right visualization tools, data analysis tools, predictive models, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning to turn data into knowledge. Then put the experience of providers, payers, and professionals on the top.
The future may seem unclear. But Kramer took the recent pilot as an example. Their “meals on wheels” volunteers entered the old man’s residence to observe the surrounding environment and look for signs that need more help, such as moldy food in the refrigerator or chaotic houses. Usually, these observations may only be with the volunteer and the person to whom they reported. However, if there is a way to use technology to record, share, and analyze these observations, it can prove to be a powerful tool for maintaining the health of the elderly.
Kramer stated that the challenge is to ensure that they can upload their observations, then filter the observations through algorithms that search for red flags, and immediately share them with those responsible for transporting and caring for them.
In another example, senior residents may choose to share some health data remotely with their doctor voluntarily. That may be what the baby boomers finally want as they get older, he said at the group meeting on Thursday.
He went on to talk about how he believes this is the role of technology, which allows baby boomers to self-direct and self-manage their health and lifestyle and get constant feedback. That is the dream of planners. We know everyone. Neither are planners, but I think this will push baby boomers more in this direction.
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