There’s plenty of opportunity for smaller companies in the booming home care industry, if they modernize and align themselves with the right partners. Ash Shehata, national sector leader of healthcare and life sciences for global business services firm KPMG, offered that advice during a recent McKnight’s Newsmakers Podcast.
Shehata said United Healthcare’s recent acquisition of LHC group and Humana’s acquisition last year of Kindred at Home are evidence that payers are focused on bringing care into the home and providing continuity of care. Still, he said small agencies can compete against national home care giants, if they keep their focus on the client.
“There are opportunities for scale and size and I think the competition is definitely going to be something to contend with, but the industry is still very much suited towards service and at the end of the day it’s about servicing the community, the families and of course the patients,” Shehata explained.
Leverage technology, build a care ecosystem
Shehata offered a few ways smaller home care firms can position themselves strategically. The first way is modernizing their businesses by leveraging technology. That could include keeping patient records electronically, offering more online services and scheduling staff through apps.
The second strategy is building a care ecosystem. Shehata suggests partnering with local firms that offer meal services, transportation or even home maintenance. Many nonprofits offer those services in small communities and could become great referral partners.
“Start with some good a la carte services that you can help each other out with,” Shehata said. “It doesn’t have to be a whole big menu of services, but make sure the relationships also mirror the quality that you expect. If you have a high quality expectation, then your partners have to demonstrate that same level of quality.”
Align with medical providers
After agencies modernize and build out a care ecosystem, the next step is aligning with providers, such as hospitals and physician groups. Shehata said that could be a great way for a smaller firm to expand regionally.
“They are great aggregators of services and a lot of times they aggregate services on behalf of the payers,” Shehata said. “So, that is a nice way to step into this aggregation world.”