Leveraging AI and Home Healthcare Technology for Measurable Results
Artificial intelligence (AI) offers unique benefits to many industries, and it can be leveraged for home healthcare technology, too.
You’ve probably heard about AI, but what is it? It’s artificial intelligence. Machines are now programmed to learn and respond to stimuli based upon what they’ve learned. Think of the self-driving cars; how do they navigate through a city’s streets? They do so because they’ve “learned” the rules of the road (reading traffic signals, signs, lines on the road, etc.) as well as maps of the area. They have the driving rules programmed in, such as speed limits, giving pedestrians the right of way, and other essential rules. The artificial intelligence or “mind” of the car remembers and applies all of this as the vehicle drives to its destination.
A self-driving car by itself is impressive, but the benefits aren’t apparent until you consider the many areas where drivers can be replaced by self-driving vehicles. Instead of city buses, why not a self-driving tram car that knows to break for specific stops? Or self-driving delivery vehicles that arrive at a destination to be unloaded for personal distribution?
Once you begin to consider the many applications for self-driving vehicles, then it becomes exciting, and companies start to take note of the many ways in which they can improve service and decrease costs through the operation of self-driving, or AI-guided, machines.
The same may be said for home healthcare technology. When you hear of AI leveraged for home healthcare technology, it elicits a shrug and an “okay, then what?” response.
But AI, when added to healthcare technology, gets exciting when we speak of measurable results. Here’s how AI can be leveraged for those measurable results.
Measurable Results in Home Healthcare Technology: Patient Outcomes
The first area in which AI improves home healthcare technology is in the area of patient outcomes. The goal of any healthcare plan is to achieve four outcomes:
- Improve patient experience
- Improve the health of populations
- Reduce the per capita cost of healthcare
- Reduce clinician and staff burnout
Here’s how AI can help achieve measurable results in each of these four areas.
#1 Improve Patient Experience
Artificial intelligence can be leveraged in many ways to improve the patient experience. For example, AI can learn through exposure to multiple questions and answers the top questions patients have about their diagnosis and treatment. Then, the system can proactively reach out to patients with information even before they ask their questions.
Another area in which AI can help is through patient records management. Nothing is more frustrating and detrimental to the patient experience than having to complete—by hand—the same medical forms over and over again. AI systems can learn the best way to share information across multiple practices, thus reducing paperwork and improving the office experience.
AI can also be used to monitor appointment scheduling and times when patients are seen. The time lag between when patients arrive at the office, sign in, and are seen by a healthcare provider influences their opinion and experience of the provider’s practice. In a healthcare setting, this data can be used to analyze scheduling times and identify peak periods when adding more practitioners may be advisable.
What about home healthcare? AI can be used to track other information, too. Patient preferences, language needs, and healthcare needs can be applied with an AI system to provide improved service. By adding data from hundreds of healthcare visits and patients to its resources, the AI can provide better service by matching caregivers with patients more efficiently, ensuring that patient preferences and needs are taken care of, and minimizing problems.
#2 Improve the Health of Populations
Aggregated data from specific populations such as the elderly, those with memory care issues, and others can be used to improve the health of the overall population, too. AI tasked with such functions may analyze, synthesize, and predict ways in which preventative methods may help improve healthcare outcomes. For example, sensors installed in the stovetops of home healthcare patients can count the number of time patients forgot to turn off stove burners as well as warn caregivers and patients when burners are left on. This data, when analyzed, may show patterns of forgetfulness among the agency’s patients that should be explored and investigated further.
#3 Reduce the Cost of Healthcare
Another area in which artificial intelligence is being used is to reduce the overall cost of healthcare. A study from the Annals of Translational Medicine looked at the cost savings of using AI in a program called PreHab to help educate patients before total joint replacement. Although the study required that a physical therapist work alongside the AI-guided program, the results are impressive in terms of improving the health of populations (orthopedic patients) and lowering costs. Patient data assessed by the AI then helps the machine to create personalized daily plans to help patients get ready for surgery.
The results from the study indicate the AI-powered PreHab platform reduced costs by $1,250 per patient. Overall results from using AI include a 25 percent drop in hospital length of stay and a 91 percent reduction in discharges to skilled nursing facilities.
#4 Reduce clinician and staff burnout
How much of your time and that of your staff is spent on repetitive, tedious tasks? Probably too much, most agency owners would answer. Indeed, throughout the healthcare system, burnout from too much paperwork is often cited by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers as a big problem.
Here’s where AI can help. Machines don’t care about repetitive tasks. They’re happy to print forms to infinity if that’s what you want (and you don’t run out of ink). They aren’t bothered by insurance forms that seem to go on forever or denials of claims that make no sense.
So put those workhorse machines to good use for your company. Home healthcare agencies benefit from the use of AI to reduce clinician and staff burnout by tackling many of the burdensome repetitive tasks that take all the joy out of one’s work.
How does AI help? First, it captures data, often through multiple methods. Scanners, keyboards, voice commands and other methods enable AI units to gather up multiple data points.
Next, makes sense of all that jumbled data and categorizes it. Instead of spending hours at the computer doing it yourself, an AI-powered system can crunch the numbers for you.
In a home healthcare setting, patient data may be captured at home with or without an aide present. Some glucose meters now capture data by the minute. This data, fed through cloud-based AI systems, can be analyzed by the home health agency and use to inform personnel visiting patients of the patient’s average glucose readings. From there, a physician may be called in to determine adjustments to medications such as insulin. These and other readings from machines like blood glucose meters enable precise calculations to happen without people running them. People interpret the results rather than crunch numbers.
Because people can apply their knowledge, skills, and experience to the field they love, medicine and patient care, and avoid tedious office work calculating numbers, they’re much happier. It helps reduce burnout.
Home healthcare agencies can also use AI to improve scheduling. AI systems can keep track of the hours each person works and rotate them around to different patients, so no one feels exhausted from continually caring for the most challenging cases. Office managers and personnel managers do not need to track all the variables. The system can do it for them, again freeing up their time for more creative and specific tasks.
AI Improving Medicine in Many Areas
Artificial intelligence is helping many areas of medicine to become smarter, better, and faster. Radiologists used to look through hundreds of images to compare new images with known images of various abnormalities. Now, AI can do the reviews for them, picking out several that are possible matches for the patient image currently on screen. Like fingerprint matching in police work, it’s improved the ability to sort through hundreds, even thousands, of complex images quickly and efficiently.
This is just one of many examples of how AI is changing the face of medicine and with it, related industries like home healthcare. As home healthcare technology improves and incorporates AI, expect to see more of these time-intensive and tedious tasks disappear, absorbed by machines that tirelessly perform them without complaint.
And isn’t that the best of all possible worlds? Now you can focus on running your agency, your staff can focus on patient care, and patients can focus on getting well. It’s a win for all with the advent of AI in the home healthcare technology sector.
The right home health technology can help you run your agency more efficiently, provide better patient care, and reduce workplace turnover. To explore your choices, contact Mindover Software today. Mindover Software provides healthcare, accounting, operations, sales, and customer management and communication systems for many industries including home health. Please contact us today for more information or call 512-990-3994.