How changing expectations will impact home care

 In COVID-19, Leadership, Marketing

No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted consumers’ views and expectations of healthcare providers, including home care. These pressures combined with higher PPE costs and challenges serving patients in the home are creating serious financial challenges for some providers. As specialists’ practices and surgery centers reopen and hospitals discharge recovered patients, providers are ready to serve. But, how has COVID-19 impacted expectations and future demand for home care? Transcend Strategy Group conducted a national survey of family healthcare decision makers. We’re compiling the results now and will be sharing them on a webinar on June 4.

To give you a head start, my colleague Stan Massey, who has spent the past 20 years talking with consumers about home care, and I have compiled a few hunches on what to expect in the findings.

  1. Needs and expectations of home care providers and products have been significantly impacted and for the long term. A crisis like this leaves a mark. As World War II fed flight to the suburbs, Watergate rattled institutional trust and the Great Recession fueled experience seeking, the COVID-19 pandemic is shattering illusions of safety and control. Once fundamental assumptions, going forward they’ll be a focus of conversation for patients and caregivers.
  2. Consumers have greater and higher expectations about how providers should communicate, coordinate care, serve patients and care for their own staffs. Expectations of transparency, frequency and accessibility are moving to the forefront as consumerism comes to the post-acute space. Also, they’ve likely fallen in love with telehealth and expect you to figure out how to meet those expectations or they’ll look elsewhere.
  3. COVID-19 will have significant implications for how providers should position themselves relative to competition. In addition to a deepening preference for all-encompassing care in the home, consumers are seeking providers that help them experience greater control over their own care decisions. Providers who set themselves apart will equip patients and family caregivers with tools and support infrastructure that empower care on their terms.
  4. This one doesn’t reflect consumer perceptions, more of a business reality … Providers who had a healthy and diverse referrer mix going into the crisis will be healthier as we move forward. If a provider had a referrer concentration issue – 50 percent or more of one type of referral – they’re more likely to have experienced business disruption and struggle to increase census. Providers who had a diversified portfolio of referral sources, including family/self, tend to do better in crisis or disruption situations.

For more insights and guidance on how to apply these learnings to your agency, join our webinar on June 4. We’ll make aspects of the research available across our social media, blog and podcast platforms. Or, reach out to me directly to schedule a deep dive that’s specifically tailored to your agency.

 

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