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The Power of ‘Higher Level’ Home-Based Care Research

The Power of ‘Higher Level’ Home-Based Care Research

A recognizable name in home-based care is switching up its branding to better reflect the work it will set out to do in the near-term future for the space.

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AAHQI) is now the Research Institute for Home Care. But its mission won’t change, according to it leaders. Instead, it’s goal is to increase its output in order to give home-based care an authoritative, free-standing source of research and information.

“My top priority is to increase our research activities by ten times,” Mark Baiada, who sits on the board of the Research Institute for Home Care as the treasurer, told Home Health Care News.

Baiada is also the chairman and founder of Bayada Home Health Care, a large provider of both home health and personal care services in the U.S. and abroad.

AAHQI was founded in 2008. One of its most recognizable staples is its annual Home Health Chartbook, which provides information on home health users, industry trends, outcomes and a lot more.

In the 14 years since it launched, however, a lot has changed in home-based care. General awareness of home-based care, technology, opportunities and challenges have all shifted.

“Our unique niche is to try to bring high quality research facts to the the home health care field,” Baiada said. “This is just the name catching up with our work, we’ve got to clarify what we’re doing. I don’t think anybody is really doing it like we’re doing it. We’re trying to be an objective source – something policymakers and providers and can all rely on.”

The rebrand also comes at a time when the Research Institute for Home Care is publishing another round of its research. That research has been ongoing for a while, as these projects generally have longer lag times from the beginning of the project to the end.

Another aspect of the rebrand is getting more partners involved, Executive Director Jennifer Schiller told HHCN.

The Research Institute for Home Care already works closely with organizations like the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH), the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and providers like Bayada.

Broadly, anyone interested in advancing the mission of home-based care is a welcome partner, Schiller said.

“I don’t know that I’m surprised by the lack of information that still exists in home-based care,” she said. “But I think we have the opportunity to really push things forward and incubate more research. And we have the ability to, hopefully, continue to grow as an organization, get new members to continue to fund research at an even higher level and really push forward that evidence base that is lacking.”

With new research and some more potential funding partners, Schiller hopes that will lead to more research and pilot programs on new areas that the institute hasn’t covered in the past.

Baiada added that the organization has seen an encouraging uptick in the number of academic health care researchers submitting proposals for funded research.

“So we’re tapping a large researcher base,” Baiada said. “But now, we’re looking for more money so that we can fund more research. And we’re careful with how we spend that money. We’re trying to encourage more people to join into this. Like with any industry, you have to kind reinvest in your knowledge base to move it forward.”

Increasing home care support and access

Various coalitions have been launched over the last couple of years in order to vie for better home-based care legislation in Washington, D.C.

For instance, there’s the Advanced Care at Home Coalition, which has a hospital-at-home focus and includes some of the largest health systems in the country. There’s also Moving Health Home, which vies for home-based care generally and includes providers across the spectrum – from home care providers, to home health providers, to even companies like Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN).

These coalitions’ existence proves what Baiada and Schiller know as they discuss the future of their organization’s research: that the people making decisions in health care – whether policymakers, payers or potential clients – don’t always know what exactly can be done, or should be done, in the home.

“Some people are familiar with it, but we’re trying to highlight a lot of the unknown facts surrounding it,” Baiada said. “There’s a lot of people working with their prior assumptions. So, just like any other research, we’re trying to illuminate things for a better path forward. It’s like scientific inquiry in any field, we’re just trying to bring it to the home health care field.”

And despite its partnerships, the Research Institute for Home Care is taking its stand-alone status very seriously.

At times, there’s some concern that the data and research that does come out of the home health care field is self-promotional based on who’s providing it. For instance, an agency providing a payer or legislator it’s own information may be viewed with skepticism.

In order for the industry to take that “seat at the table” in the health care continuum and remain there, straying away from self promotion in all forms is imperative, Baiada said.

“It’s especially good if we maintain our research independence, because I think now [providers] may bring it from their own agency or from the trade associations, which many times is looked at skeptically, kind of as self promotion,” Baiada said. “So we’re trying to be the objective source of truth and fact.”

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