Recently, our own Russ DePriest participated in McKnights Power Panel, Succeeding Despite the 2020 Pandemic. Joined by members from Encounter Telehealth, eSolutions, ABILITY Network, and HealthPro Heritage, this panel discussed the challenges Senior Living and Skilled Nursing continue to face amid the pandemic and their insights and predictions for the future as we continue to navigate our ‘new normal’.
During this session, panelists were asked a number of questions about operating their business during a pandemic. Here are a few takeaways from the session.
How are providers adapting to the use of data?
Our own Russ DePriest said it’s important to know before a person enters the building whether or not they have COVID-19, or if they may have been exposed. Capturing data before someone enters a building enables you to isolate them and contain the virus. We see this data as a requirement going forward. One of the ways our technology complements telehealth tools is by providing physicians access to health records, allowing them to write and sign orders and review charts. Since COVID-19, we have seen a big uptick in the adoption of that technology.
What does the ‘new normal’ mean for providers?
Bud Meadows of ABILITY Network said that COVID-19 was both an accelerant for moving forward with things that were already underway, and a spotlight on the importance of those issues. He also noted that having the right tools and the right data in place to help enhance infection control surveillance and improve quality outcomes is going to be more and more important. Adding onto that, Gerry McCarthy of eSolutions commented that they have seen a 1,000% increase in telehealth visits and claims. He believes the new normal is an opportunity to improving training, not only for their providers and caregivers, but also in engaging with patients and their families.
The future of Senior Living
According to Jennifer Amis of telehealth, their partner facilities were already underfunded pre-COVID and when the virus hit, the gross increase in expenses for PPE and the reduction in move-in rates all had a harsh impact. However, what they were really worried about was the effect the pandemic continues to have on mental health. For telehealth, the future is focused on improving access to mental healthcare using a telehealth platform.
For HealthPro Heritage, Hilary Forman said that COVID has allowed them to realize the previously underappreciated benefits of telehealth and now they can’t imagine going back. Telehealth has allowed them to expand their specialty services by connecting their patients to their extensive list of specialized therapists across the country.
Russ also commented that with the aging population growing at a rate that exceeds the rate of investment in healthcare, we see technology as the way to bridge that gap and if nothing else, this has allowed us to accelerate the adoption of technology. Our goal as a company is to be a great partner to our customers, and to the industry as a whole. The challenge ahead is that we all worry about a second wave, but we’ve learned a lot through the first one and remain upbeat about our ability to manage it.
For all senior care providers, the main goal right now is to make the lives of the caregivers and residents better, and as we have seen, the way to do that is by leveraging technology and data.
For more information, view to the full recording.
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