Technology has transformed all areas of life, including healthcare. New medicines and diagnostic tools have certainly changed how doctors diagnose and treat patients, but technology has helped improve home health services as well. This is a blessing for the aging baby boomer population, who overwhelmingly want to remain in their homes as they get older.
While home health technology can greatly benefit agencies and individuals providing home health care services, it is not without its challenges. You should be mindful of the downsides that come with using technology, so you can put steps in place to avoid many worst-case scenarios.
Here we look at the benefits and challenges of using technology in home health care businesses.
Benefits of Home Health Care Technology
Technology can help improve home health services by enhancing patient and provider safety. Covid-19 pushed many home health providers to embrace tech during lockdowns and help reduce infections.
Patients may be eager to continue the convenience of virtual appointments (telehealth) and wearable devices that monitor their health. These tools could also help busy home health aides and short-staffed agencies provide services to patients who need less in-person care.
Tech is also becoming an essential part of caring for those with chronic conditions or disabilities. Home health agencies often use digital records to help manage patient care. Systems that send updates to doctors or other medical professionals in real time can help care providers spot issues sooner and quickly adapt treatment plans.
Wearable monitors and digital record systems are impressive, but everyday tech can also greatly benefit home care aides. Online delivery and transportation apps could help you better manage the time you spend with patients. These technologies could free up time to interact with your clients in more meaningful ways, such as through conversation or shared hobbies. These activities could have a profound impact on their mental health and overall wellbeing.
Technology could also transform your admin tasks, making it easier to run and promote your agency. You might consider apps or software to help manage:
- Hiring staff
- Invoicing and payments
- Bill paying
- Filing business taxes
- Website creation and updates
- Social media scheduling
- Online advertising
Home Health Technology Challenges
For all its benefits, there are significant challenges that come with using technology in a home health care business. Cyberattacks are of particular concern for the healthcare industry. In fact, data breaches of healthcare providers reached an all-time high in 2021.
You may think your small business is safe from the attention of cybercriminals. However, a recent report shows that small businesses are more frequently attacked than big companies. This is because small businesses often have fewer security measures in place, making them an easier mark for phishing scams and other malicious attacks.
Having your patient data compromised is a serious issue. You could be fined for violating HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) while also needing to pay to repair the breach and the damage to your professional reputation.
Protecting Your Home Health Care Agency
While the challenges of home health technology are significant, that doesn’t mean you can or should stop using it altogether. Rather, a risk management plan could help you and your patients benefit from improved home health services while protecting them and your small business.
There are many steps you can take to help improve your cyber security as a home health aide. You might decide to:
- Only access patient data from secured work devices, never from personal or unsecured ones.
- Never connect to an unknown or unsecured wi-fi network, even in a patient’s home.
- Educate yourself and your staff about common phishing scams so you can avoid falling for them.
- Use a password manager to create and store more secure passwords.
- Hire a cyber security expert to help secure your servers, cloud storage solutions, devices, etc.
- Have a plan for what to do if an attack or breach happens to protect patient privacy and minimize damage to your reputation.
Home health insurance is another way to protect your small business. You may be required by law to have certain types of coverage, such as General Liability insurance. However, you can also choose a Cyber Liability policy to shield yourself from legal costs related to phishing, viruses, malicious software attacks, and data breaches.
Cyber Liability insurance typically covers:
- Your legal fees
- The cost of notifying customers of a breach
- Credit monitoring
- Fines you are ordered to pay
Technology has made getting home health insurance easier than ever. With BizInsure, you can compare quotes, find policies that fit your needs, and buy—all in about 10 minutes! The simplified and easy-to-follow application process allows you to protect your business and get on with your day.
Letting Technology Work for You
As technology continues to improve home health services, your small business may find more ways to let it work for you. From helping monitor a patient’s vital signs to making tax time less stressful, the benefits of home health care technology for home health aides are virtually endless. How you choose to use technology in your home health business will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget.