Around three years ago, Laurie Orlov pitched a large and prominent industry analyst firm with the idea that they should cover and focus on technologies for aging in place. They said no, but she thought it was a good enough idea to go it on her own. She created the Aging in Place Technology Watch blog and began offering consulting services in the space. Since then, I've served in two panel events with Laurie and have enjoyed her coverage of the industry, and her inimitable snarky style. You can visit Laurie's website to view her interesting content and sign-up for her email newsletter.
Laurie covers a lot of topics, and over the past year she's began focusing more on home care with the realization that caregivers, who are comprised of family members and outside home care workers, are a large part of the aging in place user base. Below are Laurie's predications for home care in 2012:
HOME CARE -- gets the attention, not yet the tech deployment, it deserves. May you live in interesting times – this past year saw the boom of jobs in home health and home companion care -- to the point where they comprise the fastest growing job so-called opportunities in the US. But given their low wages and mostly missing benefits, federal efforts are underway to apply wage and overtime protection to these 2 million or more workers -- 40% of them on Medicaid and/or food stamps. Beyond the controversy over who works, who pays and how much, there is still no talk of requiring any type of monitoring technology in the job – and in one survey from Magnolia Prime recently, at least 50% of the home care agencies surveyed reported that they had "no plans to purchase, replace, or upgrade their technology in any way." So they say
Let's dissect Laurie's prediction:
- HOME CARE -- gets the attention... it deserves: It's great that home care is getting attention, as it should! It's up to our industry to turn that attention towards the positive value that home care can bring (and to weed out the bad apples who bring negative attention)
- Home Care is one of the fastest growing job "so-called" job opportunities: Laurie points out that jobs are being created but that many home care workers are on food stamps or Medicaid. My more optimistic view is that it's better having people working and providing a valuable service at a low wage than the alternative of being unemployed. Also, we're seeing that health care reform will create a large number of opportunities for higher paying jobs in the arena of caregiving and that home care workers who excel and who have or develop their reading and writing skills will have a chance to move up.
- There is still no talk of requiring any type of monitoring technology in the job: We're seeing a higher adoption rate for telephony now that companies like ours have made it affordable. We also believe that when smart phones with data plans become universally affordable, that monitoring will improve.
- At least 50% of the home care agencies surveyed reported that they had "no plans to purchase, replace, or upgrade their technology in any way": We're excited about the remaining 50% who are considering upgrades. Also we know that those who adopt technology will sustain a competitive advantage and at the most basic level will be able to add clients and caregivers without needing to increase back-office staff.
Laurie is considering an independent research study of the home care industry in 2012. If you know companies or other organizations who might sponsor Laurie's work, please let her know.
Let us know your predictions for home care in 2012. You can post comments below, or if you've published home care predictions for 2012, let us know where and we'll read and share them.
Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota