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News Roundup: November 18, 2013

Home Health Tops Ranks Among Hottest Healthcare Jobs

Published by Home Health Care News
Jason Olivia
November 13, 2013

Home health care is among the fastest-growing jobs in the healthcare sector since 2012, according to new data research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

No segment of the economy has withstood downturns and uncertainty better than home health care providers, general medical and surgical hospitals or offices of physicians, according to the research.

Since 2012, each of these sectors have added at least 45,000 jobs nationwide, with services related mostly to bedside or home care showing the most growth.

In the past year, there have been 49,530 new jobs for home health aides, while registered nurses added 50,798 jobs and nursing assistants and medical assistants combined for a total of 24,372.

Among the fastest-growing metros for healthcare jobs, Richmond, Virginia ranked in at number one. The city saw a 5.6% increase since 2012 with the addition of 4,585 jobs—a growth attributed mainly to increases in general medical and surgical hospitals, as well as home health care services.

Houston, Texas followed up at the number two ranking, as its 5.2% increase since 2012 saw the addition of 16,079 jobs due to massive growth in home health care services.

Boise City-Nampa, Idaho; Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan; and Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada also rounded out the top-five states, posting healthcare job growth of 4.7%, 4.4% and 4.6%, respectively.

The EMSI data is collected from more than 90 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and other state labor departments.

TWC testing home health monitoring with Cleveland Clinic

Published by Fierce Cable
Steve Donohue
November 12, 2013

While Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) isn't yet charging fees to subscribers participating in a telemedicine test it is conducting with the Cleveland Clinic, the "Virtual Visit" program could help the company make a business from selling a bundle that includes a videoconferencing system that encrypts communications between doctors and patients.

The MSO said Tuesday that the trial is its first remote healthcare test. In addition to supplying subscribers with cable modems and video cameras, the MSO has assigned a technical support team to help subscribers who are participating.

TWC spokesman Travis Reynolds said the company isn't charging fees to subscribers in the trial. "We anticipate that they'll be able to realize many expense reductions," he added.

TWC, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Cox have struck deals to provide Ethernet service to hospitals, and several operators have said they see significant growth potential from selling remote healthcare services to subscribers. But most health insurance providers don't yet cover remote healthcare, which is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces in monetizing telehealth services.

Eiran Gorodeski, director of the Center for Connected Care at Cleveland Clinic, said telemedicine could be a more efficient approach. "To truly transform the healthcare system of today and prepare us for the healthcare needs of tomorrow, we have to rethink how, and where, we deliver care to patients," Gorodeski said in a prepared statement.

Home health care grows in Pennsylvania

Published by Pittsburgh Business Times
November 11, 2013

Pennsylvania's home health care industry is growing, and that is likely to continue, according to a new study.
WESA-FM says a report commissioned by the Pennsylvania Homecare Association shows $22 billion in economic activity was poured into the state by the home-based health care industry.

That report shows more than 254,000 jobs were supported by the home care and hospice industry directly in 2012, with another 82,000 supported indirectly. WESA-FM said the expectation is that the sector will grow by as much as 70 percent in the next seven years, given the increased push for more home-based care.

Survey: 93% Say Mobile Devices Critical for Daily Home Health Operations

Published by Home Health Care News
Alyssa Gerace
November 6, 2013

An overwhelming majority of health care executives say mobile devices are critical to day-to-day operations in the home health and hospital industries, reveals the recent “Healthcare Goes Mobile” survey.

Tablets and smartphones are quickly becoming indispensable to hospital and home health agency services, indicated nearly 200 health care IT executives during the survey, conducted by NetMotion Wireless, provider of Enterprise Mobility Management software, in partnership with FierceMarkets.

“The home health industry is clearly enjoying the benefits and doing their best to manage the challenges of extending tablets and smartphones to hospital and home health workers,” said Tracy Crowe, Director of Product Marketing at NetMotion Wireless, in a statement. “This survey confirms that our solutions focusing on connectivity, visibility and control of mobile devices are essential to more productive mobile deployments in healthcare.”

Both patients and caregivers benefit from mobility, according to 93% of respondents who said mobile deployments were either “extremely” or “very important” to day-to-day operations. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones can help workers in the field deliver patient care more efficiently, NetMotion Wireless says, and can give home health agencies centralized control regarding how their caregivers deliver services.

However, there are security challenges associated with mixed ownership of devises. Half of survey respondents said patient data security was their top concern, as compromises to network security and accidental access to patient data when clinicians or employees use personal devices can trigger HIPAA violations.

The two biggest complaints for mobile devices were slow network connectivity (45%) and dropped connections (24%).

“These are common problems because clinicians and home health caregivers are frequently roaming between varied networking topologies, for example from wired to Wifi to mobile broadband,” notes NetMotion Wireless.

Clearfield Hospital Home Health Reduces Readmission Rates

Published by
November 6, 2013

The Clearfield Hospital Home Health department has reduced its publicly reported hospitalization rates to below the state and national rates.

In the most recent Home Health Compare report on the Web site, the agency’s acute care hospitalization rate is 15 percent compared to the state and national rates of 17 percent.

“Our agency’s primary mission is to help patients stay in their homes. Every hospitalization that occurs adversely affects their quality of life,” states Karen Warfield, RN, home care director. “With Medicare now penalizing hospitals for patients who are readmitted with diagnoses of heart failure, myocardial infarction and pneumonia, home health agencies can also play an important role in avoiding costly readmissions.”

Clearfield Hospital’s quality improvement team includes the following disciplines: nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, home health aide, systems/technology administrator and social worker. The agency’s multidisciplinary approach to reducing readmissions was a key to its success.

Using the PDSA (plan, do, study, act) approach to identifying why patients were being readmitted, the team first identified barriers, then brainstormed ways to prevent readmissions.

Utilizing tools from the National Home Health Quality Improvement initiative, the team decided to incorporate a patient self-assessment questionnaire into its best practices. This questionnaire helps patients identify reasons why they may be readmitted. Engaging the patient and family and providing them with the knowledge of what may precipitate a hospitalization is key to helping them identify early signs and symptoms to report.

The “Zone Tools” are provided to each patient as well, Warfield said. These tools are specific for certain diagnoses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure and are color coded green, yellow and red. If the patient’s symptoms are in the green zone, they are “all clear”; in the yellow zone, they indicate “caution”; in the red zone, they are a “medical alert”. Patients are also given a poster stating “Call Me First” and instructed each visit in signs and symptoms requiring a call to the home health clinician. All home health staff received education on the use of the best practice tools and began utilizing them with their patients.

“By preventing avoidable hospitalizations, we are improving the quality of life for our clients. Each hospitalization results in a decrease in functional ability, and takes longer for clients to reach their pre-hospital level of independence. All of our home care clinicians are to be commended for their commitment to providing the highest quality of care for their patients,” stated Warfield.

Each November, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice celebrates National Home Care Month, National Hospice Month and Home Care Aide Week to honor caregiving heroes who make a difference in the lives of patients and the families they serve.

Clearfield Hospital is proud to celebrate the work of its home health and hospice agencies during the national observances.

Clearfield Hospital Home Health is a Medicare certified agency and has been providing services in Clearfield County and parts of Centre, Jefferson, Cambria and Indiana counties since 1969.