Health Tech

What Misconceptions Does the Healthcare Industry Still Have About Home-Based Care?

The at-home care field holds significant market potential. As the subsector continues to grow, some leaders of home healthcare startups are challenging misconceptions that some other industry stakeholders may still have, including the misbelief that at-home care is only for senior citizens and that this care model lacks scalability.

home care

Care is increasingly shifting from the hospital to the home, driven by factors such as a growing elderly population, the proliferation of virtual care options during the pandemic and reduced expenses for payers. Investors seem to have recognized this movement —at-home care was one of the three main categories within digital health that received the most venture investment during the first half of the year, along with value-based care and technology to improve healthcare’s workforce management. 

The home healthcare market was valued at $281.8 billion in 2020, but Grand View Research predicted last month that the market will reach $666.9 billion by 2030. Additionally, the White House’s budget includes $150 billion to improve and expand Medicaid home care services over the next decade. Yet, there are several misconceptions about this market, including the misbelief that at-home care is only for senior citizens and that this care model lacks scalability.

The pandemic was the “initial forcing function” that necessitated the shift from hospital-based care to home-based care, said Yoni Shtein, CEO of Laguna Health, in a recent interview. His startup offers an AI-powered contextual care management platform that scales personalized care for patients as they transition from hospital care to at-home care. It raised $15 million in Series A financing in May.

“During Covid, health systems expanded telehealth services out of necessity and, more importantly, expanded provider reimbursement to include parity for virtual care while also expanding coverage to include remote patient monitoring,” Shtein declared.

While the healthcare industry is getting more and more comfortable with the idea that care needs to be expanded beyond the four walls of a hospital, he pointed out that some industry stakeholders still think that the physical provision of home care is too expensive and difficult to scale.

In reality, some patients need in-home skilled nursing in which they are physically tended to, but many can manage their health via lower-cost options like telehealth appointments and wearable remote monitoring devices, Shtein explained.

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Another common misconception is the belief that home-based care is primarily for elderly individuals, said Vijay Kedar, CEO of Tomorrow Health. His company — which seeks to make it easier for patients, providers and payers to coordinate home-based — has raised $92.5 million since being founded in 2018.

While older adults do represent a significant portion of the population receiving at-home care, this type of care can be provided to all age groups, Kedar declared.

“For example, at Tomorrow Health, patients range from a 23-year-old female with congenital muscular dystrophy to a 15-year-old quadriplegic with chronic feeding difficulties as well as a 12-year-old male with a cerebellar tumor — with needs for everything from a hospital bed to nutrition supplies to continuous glucose monitors,” he said.

Kedar also pushed back against the idea that care provided at home is lower in quality than care provided in a hospital or nursing home, arguing that well-managed home healthcare programs can provide comparable or even better outcomes in terms of patient satisfaction, health improvement and cost-effectiveness. 

He also pointed out that at-home care allows patients to receive personalized care in the comfort of their own homes, which can contribute to better overall wellbeing.

Researchers will likely produce more data backing up the arguments made by Kedar and Shtein as the healthcare industry continues to embrace more home healthcare models. The first half of 2023 has already seen some megadeals in the at-home care space, including Monogram Health‘s $375 million fundraise and Author Health‘s $115 million financing round.

Photo: laflor, Getty Images