The needs of our society are rapidly changing due to the “greying” of America. This ongoing shift can be seen no more clearly than in the field of healthcare with the emergence of a trend toward proactive care. We take a closer look at this phenomenon, along with what it means — particularly when it comes to senior home care.
What is Proactive Home Care?
The topic of “proactive care” was highlighted during the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care's meeting earlier this spring in Dallas, during which global innovation platform Aging 2.0 co-founder Stephen Johnson moderated a panel, “Startups Powering the Shift to Proactive Care.” Johnson's assertion? Society is now at a “historic inflection point — from reactive to proactive care.”
Which begs the question: What exactly does the phrase “proactive care” mean? Johnson defines the concept as a model consisting of “4 C's”:
While people were once at the mercy of the healthcare system, they now have the opportunity to be more engaged in their own care and to reap better outcomes in the process. According to Johnson, “The patient is becoming the customer, and smart providers are delivering better experiences to customers on their own terms.”
One of the most frustrating elements of the healthcare system historically has been a lack of connectedness. Digitalization is completely transforming once-disparate elements into a cohesive information network.
While people spend the majority of their lives outside of acute care facilities, the emergence of smart technology means “care is shifting from episodic to continuous.” Social media and wearables are two examples of ways in which lifestyle factors and clinical health outcomes are increasingly intertwined.
We often talk about the continuity of care. Cloud-based care networks represent a shift from the reactive to the proactive by enabling the right people to see the right information at the right time. According to Johnson, “The goal here is to coordinate the care experience across multiple settings, between families and care providers, and to ensure that any other conditions are integrated into the care plan.”
Key Takeaways for Senior Home Care
So what does all of this mean specifically for the home care industry? Moving forward, we can expect to see the following four promising developments:
Targeted In-Home Interventions
Consumers don't just want to “age in place,” they're also seeking out more options for in-home care. The result? An increase in “next generation house calls” enabling patients to receive the care they need without leaving home.
A More Immersive Patient Profile
Enhanced and accurate patient information promises unprecedented ways for companies and healthcare providers to more immediately understand and meet patient needs.
More Consistent and Reliable Data
While better data is on its own an advantage, the impact on senior living is profound. The information provided by machines can help reveal warning signs to caregivers. The result? The ability to observe trends and patterns in order to catch potential problems before they escalate.
Greater Communication Across the Entire Healthcare Team
Doctors, patients, their families, and their caregivers will gain access to a single view of a patient's healthcare profile. The result? Improved decision-making.
What do all of these changes mean when it comes to healthcare, home care, and the aging population? Care services will no longer be about reactively making patients feel better, and more about actually making them better — a major step forward when it comes to senior home care.