Home health care continues to grow as pandemic winds down

The comeback of house calls, and the growth of “telehealth”
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 9:10 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - At-home health care exploded during the pandemic, and experts say the growth is expected to last.

“Definitely beyond COVID, there’s an increase in interest to get that kind of medical care, right at home,” said Dan Pierson, regional director for Denver-based home health care provider DispatchHealth.

Pierson said home care can be more accessible, more convenient, and often cheaper than a trip to the doctor’s office, urgent care or an emergency room.

Numbers back the trend. According to Forbes, the U.S. home health care industry is expected to be worth $225 billion by 2024, compared to $100 billion in 2016.

Telehealth, which uses video chats and phone calls for clinicians to treat patients, is another form of home health care seeing growth last past the thick of the pandemic.

“We have providers that are doing 100% virtual care,” said UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Richard Zane. “If you start out with a virtual visit with me, then I can say you need to go to the emergency department or you need to go to urgent care. Better yet, I’m going to bring resources to your home. Whether it’s for drawing blood or getting an x-ray ... As we evolve, we are going to be able to incorporate more devices, more applications.”

Pre-pandemic, UCHealth reports it provided about 10 virtual healthcare visits a day. During March and April 2020, that increased to a few thousand a day across the system.

Forbes reports telehealth alone is expected to grow from being worth $79 billion in 2020 to $396 billion by 2027.

Experts said there will always be a need for in-person care; however, things that can be done at home will likely continue to increase.

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