About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.

How can the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?

Essay response by Amber Talamantes, University of Houston Clear Lake

Leaders are relied upon to be in tune with the evolving healthcare environment and be able to adjust and provide solutions and visions for the future. As a Hispanic who had limited access to healthcare growing up in South Texas, I aim to provide better quality and access to at-risk and underserved populations. I believe it is important to reflect on our own communities past and present in order to relate to those whom will be affected by the choices we will make as leaders. My ideals of structuring a stronger community focused on quality and population health are aligned with goals of home health care. Home health care promotes the improvement of functionality and independence of patients while encouraging an increase in their well-being all while within the comforts of their own homes. This type of care provides a direct and meaningful impact on communities as clinicians attempt to accommodate personal and environmental characteristics of each individual within their care. Its unique contribution and position in the healthcare industry can benefit from my pursuit of a Master of Healthcare Administration/ Master of Business Administration degree because I am learning how to address community and patient needs in regards to changes in the industry.

Healthcare delivery is constantly changing whether in response to patient needs, political agendas, or regulatory developments. Throughout my studies I learned it is important to understand the trends of an industry which are imperative factors for success and survival and home healthcare is no different. As a future healthcare administrator it is crucial to understand home health’s current and projected presence in the healthcare industry, patient needs, technology, reimbursement structure, and creativity in care. As the life span in the U.S. increases, the number and types of patients receiving care have changed and there is a growing population that desires and has the ability to remain in their homes while receiving care. While on the other hand, there is a demand to improve outcomes, decrease costs, and integrate technology.

Being adaptive in healthcare is more than adjusting to the changing environment; it is also about having the ability to lead change. Every position I have held until this point has been physically demanding and I was used to being on my feet throughout most of the day; however, my current position is the most thought-provoking as it requires critical thinking, research, and application. The evolving presence of home health is in response to an incentive now than ever before to keep people healthy and out of more costly healthcare settings. Healthcare administrators are being more creative with their solutions to downward pressure on reimbursement and organizations are doing more with fewer resources. Taking the knowledge we gain and effectively applying solutions are skills I believe are necessary for leaders as the nation looks to alternatives ways of providing care in an effective and efficient manner that will also provide cost-savings.

Home health administrators can propel the light of opportunity and necessity on home health agencies by demonstrating their value to not only to the healthcare industry and its patients, but the community as a whole. Leaders articulating the needs of these services and how they can provide quality, cost-effective care can begin to alter the delivery method we currently know. I will have the skills necessary to work with key industry leaders to develop and expand the future visions for home health and the strategies needed to achieve those goals.

About Amber

Amber is currently working on a Master’s  in healthcare administration/business administration at the University of Houston Clear Lake.

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