Outdated Communication Methods Are Holding Home-Based Care Providers Back

Home Healthcare

Home-based care providers are hampered by their use of outdated communications tools, a new report from Citus Health and Porter Research claims.

New York-based Citus Health is a digital care coordination platform that serves the home-based care industry. The company’s platform facilitates communication between family members, care providers and the patient.

Released Wednesday, the report examined how the communication between providers and patients impacts overall care service satisfaction. The report detailed survey responses of 300 patients and family caregivers who have experienced home-based care over the last 12 months.

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On a daily basis, there’s a lot of coordination and communication that has to occur between care providers and the patient. This can range from coordinating visits with clinical teams to getting more information about treatment plans.

Generally, responsiveness — or how quickly the patient or family caregiver receives communication from a provider in regards to a question or urgent need — plays a significant role in how satisfied home health recipients are with care services. The Citus Health-Porter report reinforced that fact.

Specifically, 95% of the home-based care users who participated in the survey effort said that communication responsiveness impacted how satisfied they were with a provider.

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Additionally, roughly 40% of respondents said they were fully content with their providers when it comes to responsiveness. This included communication regarding care or treatment in the home, education materials and scheduling, in addition to communication around change in condition,medication changes and more.

To make matters worse, providers often employ communication methods that are outdated or ineffective, Melissa Kozak, co-founder and president of Citus Health, told Home Health Care News.

“The most common method [for communication] is a patient or their family member literally picking up the phone, getting passed around, waiting on hold to get answers to these types of questions,” Kozak said.

An overwhelming majority of patients and their families believe that outdated communication methods negatively impact provider responsiveness, the Citus-Porter report noted.

On top of that, 96% of respondents reported that they favor providers that employ real-time communication technology via smartphone, tablet or computer.

“Patients really want information and support when they need it,” Kozak said.

Providers who don’t make an effort to improve their communications mechanisms will see the impact on their bottom lines.

The report also found that phone, email and insecure text messages were 4 to 5 times more likely to fail to produce an immediate response than a mobile phone app.

For providers looking to implement real-time communication technology, there are a number of things to consider when looking for technology partners.

“They should be evaluating partners that understand platform approach, that understand interoperability and also understand an omnichannel approach, which is really providing options to their patients on different means to communicate,” Kozak said. “They should ask those partners what they’re doing to reduce the friction in communicating and care team collaboration.”

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