As a follow up to the groundbreaking Hospice Family Caregiver study in 2020, we commissioned Porter Research to conduct a research study of 300 home healthcare consumers, defined as patients and family caregivers who experienced skilled home healthcare within the past 12 months, regarding their experiences with home healthcare agency communication.
The study revealed that home healthcare providers are falling short when it comes to communicating with the consumer in real-time.
In early 2021 Porter Research asked home healthcare consumers about their satisfaction with provider communication methods and how that communication impacted their responses on HHCAHPS surveys. They also asked these consumers what their most important real-time communication needs are. The results may surprise you.
Home healthcare consumers now expect their providers to facilitate a real-time communications experience that they are accustomed to in other aspects of life. However, despite using real-time communication modes like apps and instant messaging in most other areas of daily life, most home healthcare consumers are limited by their provider to phone, email and insecure text messages.
The results indicate that outdated communications mechanisms used most frequently by home healthcare providers can negatively impact the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) survey results and can heavily influence choice of home healthcare provider.
What do Home Health Consumers Say?
- 57% of respondents reported home healthcare providers need improvement when it comes to critical HHCAHPS survey communications-oriented questions.
- 96% of respondents reported that they would choose one provider over another and give higher satisfaction scores to a provider that enabled more real-time communication via mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
- Respondents identified 7 critical services they would like to home healthcare providers to enable through mobile phone, tablet or computer.
The time to act is now.
The good news is that solving for these challenges is completely within a home healthcare provider’s control. Implementing a virtual patient care strategy that utilizes technology to specifically address the most important communication needs will have a dramatic positive impact on quality of care, patient and family caregiver satisfaction and HHCAHPS scores.
To gain a competitive advantage in the market, become the “preferred” choice for patients, families and referral sources, home healthcare providers need to invest in secure, integrated technologies that enable real-time family caregiver communication in the mode these caregivers prefer, including computer, tablet and smart phone.
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