Virtual tools have quickly turned into the preferred method of training for in-home caregivers since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency. That trend will likely continue beyond 2020 as well.

That’s according to a new survey conducted by Medflyt, a HIPAA-compliant web-based workforce management platform for home care agencies. The Forest Hills, New York-based company works with more than 100 providers and 100,000 caregivers across the U.S.

As part of the survey, released Tuesday, Medflyt gathered data from roughly 11,000 in-home care workers across the U.S. Overall, the survey found that 60% of surveyed caregivers would rather be trained online instead of in person.

“This pandemic kind of flipped the way agencies were operating on their backs, with agencies saying, ‘We should think broader. We should think smarter,’” Levi Pavlovsky, COO and co-founder of Medflyt, told Home Health Care News.

In addition to caregivers’ preference for virtual training, a key finding of the survey was that 38% of respondents wanted to onboard remotely. This percentage is much higher than before the public health emergency began, Medflyt noted.

Throughout the COVID-19 emergency, technology has been a critical tool in facilitating the delivery of care, a point reflected in the rise in telehealth utilization among home-based care providers.

But technology has also played a significant role in the operations side of the in-home care business as well. Since spring, many providers have shifted existing training and onboarding processes into the virtual realm.

“It’s an ever-changing environment. We’re going more to tech,” Pavlovsky said. “Technology is bringing efficiency. Now agencies can really focus on improving the quality of care for their patients.”

Another important finding from the survey: When it comes to retention, accessibility of staffing and onboarding processes plays a huge role. In fact, 62% of caregivers said that easy and quick onboarding staffing functions are deciding factors when considering one agency versus another.

For providers that have historically struggled with retention, these findings should encourage them to throw their efforts behind streamlining the recruitment and onboarding process, according to Pavlovsky.

Agencies that aren’t moving fast enough may find themselves unable to keep up with their competition, he added.

“Agencies that are not able to quickly pivot, quickly adapt technologies, they’ll be out of the game,” Pavlovsky said. “They won’t be able to continue to fight with agencies that are pivoting and adapting into the new era of this unfortunate pandemic.”

In addition to the previously aforementioned findings, the survey also revealed that 44% of caregivers believe “better communication and flexibility” from agencies would improve training.

On top of that, 54% of respondents said they want to be educated on topics related to the public health emergency such as social distancing, regulations and sanitation, in relation to their work.

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