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New technologies such as artificial intelligence models have the potential to transform the home care industry, according to Trent Smith, CEO of Accentra Home Healthcare. 

Smith recently launched Apricot, a technology startup that uses AI to reduce clinical documentation time and improve earnings for home care providers. Home health nurses typically spend between 90 and 120 minutes completing paperwork for each start-of-care visit they perform, he said. Apricot uses AI to reduce that workload to only 13 minutes, giving home health workers time to complete more visits and provide more face-to-face care.

“AI has some pretty remarkable, crazy potential for us,” Smith said in an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “I will simply say that I think we’re barely scratching the surface.”

Apricot works like an AI-enabled scribe to document information for Outcome and Assessment Information Set surveys, Smith explained. Using “artifacts” such as a patient’s referral document, medication lists, wound photos and information provided by their home health nurse, Apricot drafts a completed OASIS form. All the nurse has to do is review the document to ensure accuracy, compliance and completeness.

The result is more satisfied nurses and patients, Smith said. 

“Instead of seeing, say, 20 patients, you now see 33 patients on your caseload and not do any more work and actually have less at-home documentation time,” he explained. “So they’re doing more of what they love; they’re healing more patients.”

The improved efficiency can help home health providers make more money from Medicare Advantage payers. MA plans often pay only a small portion of what traditional Medicare would otherwise pay for home health services. Firms can use Apricot to expand their patient capacity and generate more income, Smith said.

“Even if you fill that nurse’s standard capacity up to 100% with nothing but Medicare Advantage patients, you just added whatever your revenue is on those Medicare Advantage patients — it drops straight to the bottom line,” Smith said. “Only incremental additional costs for taking care of that patient: You have zero additional RN costs, you have some incremental mileage and supplying costs on that patient … And so you turn these loss-leading Medicare Advantage patients into the 30-plus percent gross margin payers.”

This story originally appeared in McKnight’s Home Care News.