Pregnancy Care

The “New Normal” will bring opportunities for innovators in home healthcare segment

Written by Soumitra Sharma

Urban Clap has re-discovering itself during the pandemic. Their recent advertising is targeted at not just on the safety during the pandemic, but also on the convenience of home. They have understood the fact that Covid-19 has expedited the demand for services at home. This demand will increase exponentially once the pandemic situation will improve.

A similar trend will be observed in the healthcare sector too. The apprehension to visit a hospital, combined with the convenience of the home will exponentially increase the demand for home healthcare products and services. While the demand for products has already started to increase, the real expansion would take place once the provider access reaches home.

>> Trends in COVID – 19 VS Post COVID – 19

Recent trends suggest that the demand for home healthcare care products has increased. ‘There is a notable increase in demand for self-monitoring devices such as oximeters, diabetes monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, etc.

On the other hand, demand for services at home has reduced significantly as doctors, nurses’ phlebotomists, etc are discouraged within societies and containment zones. This has created several operational gaps as providers are unable to provide the best in class health outcomes to their patients. Both the diagnosis and treatment demand has taken a severe hit due to the lack of an ecosystem to enable complete care at home.

The demand for home healthcare services is likely to rise as soon as the situation under pandemic improves. This small phase of 5 to 6 months is likely to be followed a joint upsurge in demand for both products and services in the home healthcare segment. This will also be driven due to the emergence of new operating models; which innovators will develop to fill the infrastructure gap.

>> Need to create a link

Innovators will need to devise new mechanisms to engage both with the clinicians and the patients. These direct linkages may or may not involve the hospitals/ clinics. The idea will be to create hard and soft infrastructure, patient education framework, operating models, revenue models, and new treatment pathways with measurables health outcomes for a specific disease.

There needs to be a seamless integration between provider, clinician, patient, manufacturer, and payer, to enable the best outcomes. Home healthcare will play a vital role in helping clinicians in owning the disease. Chronic diseases present lucrative opportunities as adherence becomes a vital element of the long-term treatment outcomes.

Some innovators have already commenced their evolution in this space and will hold a definite advantage due to their early inroads. Some interesting use cases are presented below:

USE CASE 1: PREGNANCY CARE AT HOME BY CARE MOTHER

pregnancy care at home

Care Mother’s pregnancy care at home is an ideal commercial platform that provides portable kits that can be carried by trained nurses. In addition, the nurses are equipped to educate patients, collect samples, and link virtual consultation remotely.

  • The mother also has the option of using a self-monitoring device (BabyBeat). The reports can be shared with the doctor using email, WhatsApp, or in-app communication.
  • It not only assists in increasing the fee revenue (5x revenue in comparison to virtual consultation) but does not lose out on the potential referral income.
  • Doctors can provide better pregnancy care at home while being more productive (lower time spent on addressing minor queries as well as marketing additional services).
  • Patients on the other hand get comprehensive care while enjoying the convenience of home.
  • A simple on-boarding procedure for doctors and expecting mothers help in improving access.
USE CASE 2: POCKET ECG

With the advent of simple, convenient wearable monitoring technologies, clinicians are now turning to Long Term Continuous (long term Holter) monitoring due to the significant increase in diagnostic yield compared to the traditional 24/48-hour monitoring period. High-end pocket ECGs had also created a favorable referral model for clinicians. However, the biggest limitation was the fact that doctors did not have the time to continuously monitor the reports, and patients on the other hand got more anxious due to triggers created by the device.

Hence, a few players have created a between patients and doctors by employing intermediate cardiologists to validate trigger events. The use of devices, cloud, AI, and app-based monitoring is helping these companies in providing complete care to patients. In this method the Doctors’ productivity is optimized while patients can expect better health outcomes. 

USE CASE 3: DIALYSIS AT HOME

In-center hemodialysis is usually done three times a week for about three to four hours or longer each session. In-center treatments are done at a pre-scheduled time. Home dialysis not only provides convenience but also provides better clinical results. Due to co-morbidity associated with COVID-19, there was a significant rise in demand for dialysis at home.

However, the cost of treatment and the need for the nurse to monitor the device has limited access. Some providers aligned with innovative start-ups to quickly address this problem. However, there is still an opportunity to optimize these models.

CONCLUSION: OWNING THE DISEASE

While the market is flooded with innovative products that address a specific problem; they either provide incomplete home healthcare solutions or create a new problem. Hence, there is a clear need to develop end to end solution. Innovators can focus on treatments for a specific disease and create solutions that engage the patients from pre-diagnosis to the aftercare.

Home Healthcare will create a far bigger impact when offered as a complete service rather than an individual product offering. 

About the author

Soumitra Sharma