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In-home devices, week of 3/20/20
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In a strange way, healthcare seems to be reverting back to a style that had gone out of fashion many years ago, with an increased amount of health taking place in the home. There are now around 12 million people who are now getting in-home care, from more than 33,000 providers, and last year the annual expenditures for home health care were projected to be over $72 billion.
This is thanks, in large part, to technology and, more specifically, to connected in-home devices that can easily collect and send data to a physicians in real-time. This allows patients to be monitored remotely, without constant trips to the doctor, and for physicians to do more timely interventions based on patterns picked up by AI and machine learning.
In June, Vator, HP and UCSF Health Hub will be holding an event centered around these devices, and how they are affecting the healthtech space. Every week until then we will be doing a roundup of some of the news around in-home devices and what some of the major tech companies are up to in this space
At home health testing company Everlywell announced that an at-home collection kit with telehealth diagnosis for COVID-19 will be available to consumers starting Monday, March 23. It will have an initial supply of 30,000 tests, which will cost $135, though the company says it is working the government to try to make them free.
The test can be requested online by people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. To access a COVID-19 test, patients will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire. Samples can be collected at home, and shipped to partner labs with overnight delivery. Results will be available online within 48 hours of the lab receiving the sample, and patients will also have access to free telehealth consultations with a physician if they test positive.
The test comes with an overnight sample delivery, a shipping label, and infectious disease sample collection and shipping materials, which uses COVID-19 guidelines set by the CDC and the recommendations provided by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
Positive results will also be reported to all mandated federal and state reporting agencies.
A survey of 150 provider representatives from Home Health Care News found that 31 percent of home-based care organizations say their operations have been affected by the spread of the coronavirus so far.
Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed by HHCN believe home-based care providers should be “very concerned” about the coronavirus and its potential operational disruption, while 38 percent think providers should be “moderately concerned” about the virus.
Only four said that they are “not concerned” about the possible impact of coronavirus.
In another part of the survey, over 40 percent said that they believe having enough clinicians or caregivers to care for patients will be the biggest challenge, while 30 percent believe that it will be maintaining an adequate stockpile of supplies. Another 21 percent said the biggest challenges will be caring for patients exposed to the virus.
Peterborough Public Health, a public health agency that serves the communities in Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations and the County and City of Peterborough, launched in-home assessment and testing for coronavirus for residents who cannot travel to one of the existing assessment centres in Peterborough, or who should remain self-isolated.
The tests will be done on residents who have recently traveled and have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, who are being asked to contact their doctor or nurse practitioner or consult with a nurse at Peterborough Public Health. Based on the results of the screening, patients who need further assessment will then either be referred to Peterborough Public Health for testing, or to Peterborough Paramedics who will dispatch a special unit of paramedics to perform the testing in their home.
“We are very proud that our paramedics can now bring COVID-19 assessment and testing to residents in their homes upon referral by local healthcare providers,” Randy Mellow, Chief of Peterborough Paramedics, said in a statement. “This new system will improve case detection while serving the needs of patients who are immobile or too sick to leave their homes.”
Foreman Therapy Services gets bought by The Delta Companies
The Delta Companies, a healthcare staffing firm for providers, acquired of Foreman Therapy Services, a Dallas-based therapy-focused staffing company specializing in home health. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.
Going forward, Nate Foreman, founder and President of Foreman Therapy Services, will join the TDC executive team while continuing to operate FTS's locations across Texas. The company has operations in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso.
“Under Nate’s leadership, FTS has had a phenomenal impact on home health. FTS has provided the physical, occupational, and speech therapists it represents the best staffing services possible,” Bill Tracewell, CEO of TDC, said in a statement. “Now with our partnership, we can expand our innovative capabilities, grow our business, and better meet the needs of more providers, facilities, and communities.”
Founded in 2011, FTS was named as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country by business magazine Inc in 2019.
(Image source: health.harvard.edu)
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