Study: Caseload, focus on telehealth quality assurance 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 productivity.

The one-year study, which collects information from more than 1,000 agency websites, found that home health agencies with registered cases of nurses under 25 have the highest ratings for quality of care and patient satisfaction.

The survey also found that 92% of the agency’s respondents use telehealth, and 44% of them continue to use telehealth after patients are discharged for public health initiatives.

The non-profit advocacy organization LeadingAge published the National Survey on Best Practices in Home Health Care and Future Insights this week in connection with the accounting and consulting firm BerryDunn.

The study examines which agencies perform best clinically, operationally and financially. It also focuses on technology, palliative care, staffing and future models of care.

“The data from this study is truly revolutionary – both in depth and scope, providing insights from the growing and diverse home health, home care and hospice sector,” said Robin Stone, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge. says in a press release. “The result is a comprehensive, operational look at a developing area that is coming at a critical time, as care and services are in high demand.”

Of the home health centers included in the study, 64% had cases of a case manager of 20 to 25 patients. The others had a workload of 19 or less.

On the other hand, the number of cases over 25 “directly correlates with reduced quality and patient satisfaction”, according to the study.

The study also found that agencies with fewer than 25 cases were more likely to document at home. As a result of timely documentation, these agencies have the smallest number

days from the start of care to RAP (0-1 days) and had the highest margin of surplus profit.

In 2020, the home health industry had to deal with both COVID-19 and the Patient-Managed Group (PDGM) model. Therefore, a new technology was introduced, no more widespread than telehealth.

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

Meanwhile, 44% of respondents continue to use telehealth after discharge as part of their public health initiatives. LeadingAge also found that there is a link between increasing the use of telehealth and raising quality of care assessments.

Recommendations for driving home

In home health, the way the agency defines a recommendation helps identify which potential customers are tracked and recorded to measure the agency’s conversion rate. In the LeadingAge survey, 93% of agencies say they measure the success of their sales team by the number of recruits.

Most of the surveyed home health agencies have a conversion rate between 80 and 89%. However, agencies that did not have the qualifications for what was needed on a recommendation – such as name or contact information – had an even higher average conversion rate of between 90 and 100%.

Source: LeadingAge

Planning these referral meetings is also a key aspect of good conversion rates.

Nearly two-thirds of the surveyed home health agencies use a special schedule to plan the start of visits, while the other third use the admissions department for planning. No home health agency responded, saying it was using the clinical team to plan these visits.

Source: LeadingAge

“While we face a critical shortage of nurses, our study shows that agencies that use non-clinicians for non-clinical roles do so successfully without compromising quality,” the study said.

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