Mobile Telehealth Technology for Home Care

Introduction

This capstone project will be designing and documenting a product that addresses a need in health care. The chosen product for the capstone project is mobile telehealth technology for home care whereby a mobile application will be developed to facilitate the virtual delivery of home care services to patients in need of these services. The product is meant to increase access to care services without the need for the patient to make in-person visit or having the home care providers make an in-person visit. This paper will describe the product, the purpose of the product, the target customer, who will own the product and the implementation challenges.

Details about the proposed product

The proposed product is mobile telehealth technology for home care whereby a mobile application will be used to remotely access and manage health care information. Telehealth can be defined as the delivery of health care services to patients using information and communication technologies. Some of the health care services that can be delivered through telehealth include information about diagnosis, treatment and management of a condition, prevention and treatment of injuries, among other health care services (Tuckson, Edmunds & Hodgkins, 2017). Home care refers to the health care and supportive care services that people receive at home. The care can be provided by licensed health care professional and other people capable of providing supportive care. The main recipients for home care services are old people discharged from hospital and receiving care from home. These people often utilize home care services to manage chronic illnesses and conditions such as cancer, injuries, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, among other acute and chronic medical conditions (Parker et al., 2018).

The mobile telehealth technology for home care product will facilitate the delivery of care to patients at their home without the need for them to visit hospitals or their doctors. This implies that through the mobile telehealth application, home care patients can receive consultation, diagnosis, testing and treatment services from the comfort of their homes. The product will have an online portal where patients can log into to access health care services including booking appointments, consulting with their primary physician, among other health care services that are offered in the hospital setting. 

The product will be targeting people of all ages receiving care services from their homes including elderly medical patients, patients recovering from injuries and surgical conditions that make it challenging to visit a hospital, people with chronic medical conditions who do not need to visit the hospital to receive care services, and other patients who need to receive care from home to help regain independence and improve their quality of life. The users will need to download the mobile telehealth applications and be registered on a patient portal before they are able to receive and access these services.

The purpose of the product

The mobile telehealth technology will involve the use of a mobile phone to upload the health care information of the patient for review by a nurse or primary physician, use an online patient portal to access medical information, see medical results, schedule appointments with the doctors, order medications and medical tests online, get notifications on when to take medications and other preventive services. In other words, the product will enable remote patient monitoring to enable them manage their health care conditions. The product will facilitate the delivery of health care services to home care patients and clients by providing a technology platform that will connect patients with health care services providers. 

The technology will also integrate patient information across the entire health care system thereby attaining efficiencies in patient management. The product will have multiple benefits to the users and some of these include:

  • Patient-centered care – the remote patient monitoring enabled through the mobile telehealth technology product for home care will help patient to receive care services from home. While the product does not replace in-person hospital or physician visit, it can help to deliver virtual home care services when needed. The impact could be huge especially on patients living in remote areas and those with mobility problems but still need health care services delivered at the comfort of their homes. It is also a cost efficient way of delivering patient-centered care by care workers who serve a large number of patients. Since the health care professionals will not need to travel to where the patient is, the mobile telehealth technology will facilitate the provision of care within a little time frame and this could result in a highly satisfied patient (Kruse et al., 2017).
  • Real time communication – through the patient portal, patients can communicate with theirt health care providers in real time without the need to visit the hospital. In addition, home care providers can use the mobile telehealth technology product to receive real time patient data and this will enable them to provide the needed care. Further, the home care providers can use the product to promote better and faster interactions between patients and their primary physicians and this ensures that required care in provided on time. The product will enable streamlined interactions between patients and their care givers in ways that empower patients and improve their quality of life. 

The target customer for the product

The product will be targeting three types of customers:

  • Home care providers – these are the institutions or individuals who offer home care services to clients at the comfort of the client’s home. Home care providers focus on providing health care and support services to clients based on their individual needs and predictors. The individual needs also depend on the client’s medical history and the type of care that they need to attain 100% independence. Home care providers can then use the product to receive real time patient data to enable preemptive care and prevent unnecessary hospital visits by the patient. The home care providers could also use the mobile telehealth technology product to communicate with the customer and provide virtual care and if need be get to the client’s home as soon as possible to provide the care needed.
  • Patients under private insurance – this will include patients covered under private insurance but have already been discharged from the hospital. Such patients might include elderly patients, patients recovering from injuries or from surgical procedures, or patients managing chronic illnesses. The patients can therefore use the product to be in constant communication with their health care providers regarding the type of care that they need and when the providers should make the home visits. The virtual home care visits will be highly efficient and less costly for the patients compared to making visits to the hospital to receive the care or having the home care providers come on a daily basis to assess the client needs and provide the needed care.
  • Government-sponsored (Medicare) patients – Medicare is a national health insurance program that covers Americans aged 65 years above. The program also home health care services that the elderly population might need. Under the program, the doctor orders the home care services that a patient should receive and the home health agency coordinates the prescribed services. The mobile telehealth technology product will be used by the Medicare program whereby the authorized home health care agency will access patient information and provide the home care services ordered by the physician. Some of the services can be offered virtually while others will need the home care providers to make home visits. This product will promote efficiency and reduced cost of providing home care services for the Medicare program.

Who will own the product

Since the product is targeting multiple customers, it will be owned by the technology developers who will design and develop the product to be used by the abovementioned users. The customers will however pay to use the mobile telehealth technology services and in this case, the home care agencies, private insurance companies and Medicare program. The payment will be on a subscription basis whereby the customers will pay for an entire year of services and technology support. The technology developers will retain the right of ownership of the telehealth technology but will be responsible for providing system support and updating the software versions while improving user experience.

Implementation challenges

The implementation of the mobile telehealth product will be accompanied by the following challenges:

  • Payment or reimbursement parity – the current health insurance programs do not cover telehealth and telemedicine services the way in which in-person services are covered (Catalyst, 2017). This implies that some of the services offered through the mobile telehalth technology might not be covered by key insurance provider. Such a challenge could make it impossible to attain the benefits of telehealth which is to increase access to care services while reducing the cost of care. Many home care agencies might also refuse to provide the services through the product of they are not guaranteed of payment.
  • Infrastructure – another key challenge that might be faced while implementing the product is the inadequate infrastructure of telehealth. This implies that the users should have the devices that will enable them to remain connected to patients such that the virtual consultation is not disconnected before time. The users also should have a strong platform including a reliable internet connection. 
  • Sustainability – another issue with implementing the product is whether or not the users will be able to maintain the telehealth services including paying for the yearly subscriptions. However, this challenge can be addressed by demonstrating the value of the product to the key customers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the proposed product is mobile telehealth technology product for home care services that will facilitate the provision of virtual home care services. The product is designed for patients receiving home care services and those who have been discharged. As seen above, the product will be targeting old people discharged from hospital and receiving care from home for various chronic diseases and conditions. The home care services to be delivered through telehealth will include information about diagnosis, treatment and management of a condition, prevention and treatment of injuries, among other health care services. 

The main types of customers being targeted include home care providers, patients under private insurance and Medicare patients. The technology developers for the product will own the product and offer the mobile telehealth technology services to customers at a fee: the key customers will include the home care agencies, private insurance companies and Medicare program that will pay through annual subscription fees. 

While the product will have numerous benefits, its implementation might be hampered by a few challenges that might be addressed with time. Some of the challenges include reimbursement parity as telehealth and telemedicine services are not covered by insurance, infrastructure as users will need certain devices and applications, and sustainability as it is uncertain if users will be able to pay for the yearly subscriptions. Nevertheless the product has numerous benefits as it facilitates the delivery of care at reduced costs.

 

Leave a Reply