News Roundup September 4th, 2020

Health and technology, often at crossroads when it comes to industry wide development and implementation, is seeing plenty of buzz and activity as the pandemic shapes the way care is being administered and delivered. The rise of telehealth is starting to show new positive results for those accessing it. There is a rush to invest and fund programs of development within the realms of health IT and technology.

Recently the National Science Foundation awarded a three year $1.5M grant to a team of interdisciplinary researchers to help the workflow of home health aides. The purpose of the grant is to develop tools to improve the lives of workers who are primarily minority women burdened with tough working conditions on the frontline of delivering care.

Cornell Chronicle reports:

“Home health aides are asked to do a huge amount in terms of task management, care management, meal management, health care management – and all of these things are a really big burden,” said Dell, principal investigator on the grant, which is from the NSF’s Future of Work program. “The goal of this grant is to explore the space of designing technologies to make their work easier, better and more efficient, with the hope that we can have a positive impact not only on their own professional lives, but on the care that they deliver.”

The Associate Press reports expanding scope in rising adoption rates of telehealth can live past the pandemic as a rush is seen to further increase usage of technology and offerings for many health providers.

In Fad or Future…:

“Consultations via tablets, laptops and phones linked patients and doctors when society shut down in early spring. Telehealth visits dropped with the reopening, but they’re still far more common than before.

Permanently expanding access will involve striking a balance between costs and quality, dealing with privacy concerns and potential fraud, and figuring out how telehealth can reach marginalized patients, including people with mental health problems.”

Details are starting to trickle in on the effects of the new Patient Driven Grouping Model implemented by the CMS earlier this year. A variety of sources are now reporting that under PDGM, spending on home healthcare services are down by around 21.6%.

Home Health Care News provides more detail:

“[…]spending on home health care has actually been about 21.6% lower than projected, according to a detailed analysis from Dobson DaVanzo & Associates (DDA), a health economics and policy consulting firm.

There are several reasons for the underspending, but it essentially boils down to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) being wrong about how providers would behave differently under PDGM compared to the old Prospective Payment System, which had been in place for about two decades prior to Jan. 1 of this year.”