Study: Caseload and Telehealth Focus Drive Quality for Home Health Agencies

With over 400,000 data points, a new study from LeadingAge could give home care providers a new roadmap on how to optimize performance.

The year-long study, which collected information from more than 1,000 agencies, found that home care providers with nurse case manager workloads under the age of 25 have the highest ratings. higher for quality of care and patient satisfaction.

The study also found that 92% of agency respondents use telehealth, with 44% continuing to use it after patient discharge for population health initiatives.

The non-profit advocacy organization LeadingAge this week released the National Study of Best Practices and Future Prospects in Home Health Care in conjunction with accounting and consulting firm BerryDunn.

The study looked at the top performing agencies clinically, operationally and financially. He also focused on technology, palliative care, staffing and future care delivery models.

“The data from this survey is truly groundbreaking – both in depth and scope, providing insight into the growing and diverse home health, home care and palliative care sector,” Robyn Stone, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge, said in a statement. “The result is a global and operational vision of an evolving field, which comes at a critical time, because care and services are in high demand. »

Of the home health centers involved in the study, 64% had case managers with 20 to 25 patients. The vast majority of the rest had workloads of 19 or less.

Workloads above 25 “directly correlated with decreased quality and patient satisfaction,” according to the study.

The study also found that agencies with fewer than 25 case counts were more likely to document from home. Due to timely documentation, these agencies had the lowest number of days from start of care to PAR (0-1 day) and had the highest excess profit margins.

In 2020, the home healthcare industry had to contend with both COVID-19 and the Patient Centered Clusters Model (PDGM). Because of this, new technology has been introduced, none more prevalent than telehealth.

Of the 92% of respondents who said they had used some form of telehealth, a third of these agencies said they had implemented it in the past 18 months.

Meanwhile, 44% of respondents continue to use telehealth after patient discharge as part of their population health initiatives. LeadingAge also found that there is a correlation between an increase in the use of telehealth and an increase in the quality of care assessments.

Conduct home health referrals

In home healthcare, how an agency defines a referral helps identify referral leads that are tracked and recorded to measure an agency’s conversion rate. In the LeadingAge study, 93% of agencies said they measured the success of their sales team by the number of admissions.

Most of the home health agencies surveyed had a conversion rate between 80-89%. However, agencies that lacked qualifications for what a referral needed – such as a name or contact details – had an even higher average conversion rate of between 90 and 100%.

Source: LeadingAge

Scheduling these appointments from the referral is also a key aspect for good conversion rates.

Nearly two-thirds of home health agencies surveyed use a dedicated scheduler to schedule the start of care visits while the other third use the onboarding service for scheduling. No home health agencies responded and said they use the clinical team to schedule these visits.

Source: LeadingAge

“As we face a critical shortage of nurses, the study data shows us that agencies that use non-clinicians for roles that are not clinical in nature do so successfully, without compromising quality “, says the study.