Home Healthcare Rising

We are living in the age of the empowered patient — we all must adjust accordingly.

Home healthcare is emerging front and center amid the many medical options for an aging population around the world. Due in large part to the rise of technology, new services such as telemedicine are redefining the doctor-patient relationship.

Home Health Care News put it this way: “In the past, in-home care had often been considered a luxury. Now, it has become a necessity.”

The publication Referral MD took it a step further: “There’ll be a rise in the range of devices that can instantly record and transmit vital health data and also allow communication between patients, doctors, nurses, family and the home care agency.”

A closer look at the widespread adoption of wearables reveals just how much the healthcare landscape is shifting.

Accenture Consulting’s 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health showed that use of wearables nearly quadrupled from 9 percent in 2014 to 33 percent today. And roughly three-fourths of health consumers said they viewed wearables like glucose and heart rate monitors as beneficial to understanding and engaging with their health.

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Devices can instantly record and transmit health data allowing communication between patients and doctors.

As for what the technology means for medical interactions, 90 percent of participants said they’re willing to share personal data with their doctor.

“The more accustomed healthcare consumers become to using wearables and other smart technologies, the more open they are to sharing the personal health data these tools collect,” said Dr. Kaveh Safavi, senior managing director of Accenture’s Global Healthcare Business.

Patient-centered care

Many studies — particularly in the U.S. and Europe — focusing on chronic disease care show a general shift toward care outside the hospital setting. Home care frees up hospital resources, allowing greater focus on specialist surgery, diagnostic, acute and emergency services.

Wearables help people engage in their healthcare. [Image:Getty]

Economics also come into play: As medical costs increase, patient-centered care has the potential to significantly reduce expenses both to governments and individuals. Cost pressures will continue to drive the need for home care and demands for downstream patient-centric services.

Home health advancements now allow kidney dialysis and sample collections for everything from colorectal cancer, DNA testing, biometrics, diabetes and more to take place in the home. As such, “over-the-threshold” logistics services will become increasingly critical and strategic to this quality continuum of patient care.

Logistics matter

Innovations are spurring precision medicines to manage chronic diseases. Smart logistics, as part of this holistic approach, must continue to be part of the care model for healthcare organizations to achieve better outcomes.

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Cost pressures will continue to drive the need for home care and demands for patient-centric services.

Just as affordable, secure broadband internet access — particularly in rural areas — is critical in telehealth, an optimized healthcare supply chain is paramount for overall home health success.

Perhaps a patient’s insulin pump went out at home, and a replacement needs to be overnighted. Maybe a patient’s high-cost, life-saving prescriptions have to arrive on time and within temperature range, or they risk losing efficacy.

Think about a patient on home dialysis who needs his medical solution delivered on time each month without fail or someone taking an at-home cancer screening who needs the sample picked up and delivered to the test lab. Whatever the scenario, smart, efficient logistics will make the difference time and time again.

Finger on the pulse

At UPS, we aim to build trust and empower innovation to help organizations improve patient care across the healthcare and life sciences ecosystem. The four pillars driving our healthcare strategy are quality assurance, visibility, control and customer experience.

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UPS aims to build trust and innovation to help improve patient care across the healthcare ecosystem.

UPS’s global infrastructure, warehousing and inventory management technologies, temperature-control solutions, packaging and regulatory expertise are perfect fits for organizations’ direct-to-patient logistics strategies. Collaborating with partners on an ongoing basis is a must to build world-class solutions that meet current needs and address emerging trends.

The company keeps its finger on the pulse of healthcare and life science logistics, and UPS will continue to support this industry and our partners with capabilities that help improve patient outcomes in innovative ways.

We’re particularly bullish about the rise of home healthcare and its ripple effects across supply chains around the world.

We are living in the age of the empowered patient — we all must adjust accordingly.

Daniel Gagnon is Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences Strategy at UPS.

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