Post-acute care: The Internet of the 90s


We hosted the Home Health Technology Summit earlier this week in New Orleans, and I had the event in the back of my mind when I was reading a New York Times article yesterday about South by Southwest, an “annual festival of tech, music, film, barbeque and tacos,” according to the newspaper. But mostly, tech.

If you’re not familiar with the Technology Summit—we gathered a group of C-level execs in home care (home health, hospice, visiting nurse and HME) to examine the opportunities that technology creates in reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving care.

One of the major take-aways from the event, as you’ll see in my wrap up in the HME Newswire on Monday, is the “behavior change”—thanks for the term Bob Barker of Philips Respironics—needed to successfully implement and leverage technology in businesses.

In essence, if you don’t have the right frame of mind (that the lack of specific reimbursement coverage for these technologies, for example, won’t hold you back), forget about learning what’s out there, what it can do and how it can transform your business and the way you care for patients.

The author of the Times article wrote: “This year, SXSW, as the festival is known, feels like a story of how the tech ethos has escaped the bounds of hardware and software. Tech is turning into a culture and style, one that has spread into foods and clothing, and all other kinds of nonelectric goods. Tech has become a lifestyle brand.”

Tech may be a lifestyle brand at SXSW and increasingly in our daily lives (one stat from the Technology Summit: 40% of Americans don’t even have landlines anymore), but I’d argue it’s stagnating in many businesses, especially in home care. There are still companies out there with offices with file cabinets and fax machines.

Speakers were almost shouting from the front of the room: Technology needs to be a culture and style in your businesses.

Dr. Steven Landers of the VNA Health Group called the problem “a leadership challenge.”

Jim Reilly of Connect America challenged attendees to do like GM leaders once did and “put your business out of business”—meaning stop doing things the way you've always done them and start new.

If, as Jeremy Malecha of ResMed said, “Post-acute care is the Internet of the 90s,” hold on, because all of this is going to change very, very fast.


"There are still companies out there with offices with file cabinets and fax machines."

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