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Home Health Market to Expand, Staffing Obstacles Remain

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   December 03, 2019

Over 61% of respondents said staffing is the biggest problem facing their organization.

The home health market is expected to expand its service offerings in the coming years but faces challenges related to staffing, according to a Definitive Healthcare study released Tuesday morning. 

Several service lines are expected to grow in the next two years, including hospice care, transportation services, and 24-hour care. However, telehealth services led the way with over 27% of respondents indicating that they will expand their offerings in the next two years.

Additionally, nearly three-in-four respondents said they plan to expand specialized service offerings. The three largest areas of planned growth are in palliative care, veterans-specific care, and mental health services.

The study's results are timely given the increased focus on home health services as a greater share of baby boomers retire and require additional care options for chronic disease.  

Related: 5 Approaches to Improving Home Care Safety

Related: Develop Home Health Capabilities to Boost Your Hospital's Finances and Quality

"Coinciding with this population shift, comes the likelihood of needing to care for the people who fall within the very age demographic most frequently suffering from chronic disease states and conditions, like Alzheimer’s, cardiac diseases, COPD, and diabetes," Jason Krantz, CEO of Definitive Healthcare, said in a statement. 

Related: Readmissions Higher With Home Care Compared to SNF Care

Despite the promise of expanded service offerings, home health agency organizations face the lingering challenge of adequate staffing to meet clinical demands.

Over 61% of respondents said staffing is the biggest problem facing their organization, nearly 20% more than the second-place answer: profitability. Definitive also found that most respondents facing staffing issues indicated that the problem was primarily centered around building care teams and 25% plan on moving into telehealth services.  

As it relates to telehealth services, about 84% of respondents in the home health agency market anticipate utilizing remote patient monitoring in the next two years.

More than 70% anticipate utilizing medication management technology and more than 60% plan to have mobile applications for concierge services.  

Related: How Health Systems Can Use Home Care to Reduce Readmissions

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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