Healthcare funders are also shifting their focus to the home environment in order to increase efficiency, create better accountability and improved long-term clinical outcomes.
COVID-19 has shifted many things globally and locally, one of them being the delivery of healthcare services. The shift has been a very tangible one here in South Africa; one that sees more and more clients being managed in their respective home environments. This is no longer just because of convenience but also now seen as a necessity. Healthcare funders are also shifting their focus to the home environment in order to increase efficiency, create better accountability and improved long-term clinical outcomes.
“In the midst of every crisis,” Albert Einstein famously said, “lies great opportunity.” For therapists and healthcare providers in South Africa, the imminent adoption of the National Health Insurance and current pandemic presents countless physical and professional challenges, but it has also prompted many to think creatively about how they deliver their services to clients. Before COVID-19, home-based rehabilitation was an increasingly popular yet still largely marginal alternative to traditional service provision. Post-pandemic, it is almost certain to become a permanent part of the healthcare equation.
Over the coming years, the post-pandemic treatment of clients will likely become an amalgam of both in-person home and remote consultations, adding yet more layers of complexity to day-to-day operations. But with the digitisation of services also comes the chance to streamline those operations, enhance the quality of client care and improve profitability. The potential efficiencies when it comes to home-based rehabilitation are multiple and numerous.
Specifically, healthcare has seen a surge in demand for telehealth services and the delivery of home-based health services. At least one survey by a major U.S. insurer reveals that most clients would be comfortable with virtual care replacing in-person visits altogether; the convenience, accessibility, and lower costs it promises cited as significant draws.
At the same time, offering a combination of remote and in-person home services creates new opportunities to deliver focused, strategic care. Guided by a client’s needs, preferences and the type of care or therapies required, the hybrid model could be an optimal approach for health practitioners. This is even more important in a country like South Africa where legacy infrastructure-focused services are in the main metropoles. Couple this with an ageing population who might struggle with remote services, the market is poised for a decentralised client-centred approach.
Dr Marc Naidoo is the Executive Director at Physiotherapists at Home, an incorporated partner of Medwell SA – The Home Healthcare Specialists. For more information visit www.physiotherapyathome.co.za