Home Healthcare Could Be Easier. Here’s Why—and How.

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Philip Auerswald: ‘The last place you usually want to be when you’re sick is a hospital or outpatient clinic…’

Originally published on November 11, 2020

The ongoing pandemic brought about radical change in terms of virtual work and education—already growing trends before COVID-19 was even known. The healthcare industry, too, has undergone trials as a result of the pandemic, while the growing trend of “home healthcare” has accelerated.

"The last place you usually want to be when you’re sick is a hospital or outpatient clinic because you don’t want to risk infection,” said Schar School associate professor Philip Auerswald. “Home healthcare makes sense.”

Auerswald, an authority on entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation, explored this growing trend, and discovered that there are certain issues that inhibit the development of home healthcare technology and restrict job growth—issues which are a result of government regulation. The full study is available here, and was published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

"Given what we have already experienced with COVID, returning healthcare to the home with more telehealth, medical health calls, and peer-to-peer health service provision is highly likely to be a huge trend over the next quarter century," Auerswald said in a statement provided to Healthcare IT News.

"However, government at both the state and federal levels need to do more to eliminate burdensome regulations so the labor market and technology industry can innovate," he added.

And what might the solutions be?

First, innovators have to contend with 50 different state laws about licensing, privacy, and other facets. Legislatures need to reduce the complexity of the laws, and work to make them consistent across the nation.

Second, federal and state authorities need to streamline data-sharing and set standards for doing so.

Third, and perhaps most important, policymakers need to reduce barriers and ease the deployment of broadband services on which the home healthcare industry is reliant.

The research shows home healthcare helps the consumer. It increases access, decreases cost, and reduces hospitalizations. Current technology allows for routine and non-routine services, which could be expanded if the industry were free from burdensome regulations.

The bottom line for consumers is that they have access to safe and reliable healthcare, which is not always guaranteed in a hospital-setting.

The Schar School is a significant contributor to George Mason University’s status as one of the country’s top-ranked Research 1 universities.