Being Treated at Home Can Help People Save Money and Heal Faster
- A new study found that the home hospital model can potentially improve care while reducing costs.
- The cost of care was nearly 40 percent lower.
- Trial participants receiving hospital care in their homes had a 70 percent lower rate of readmission to the hospital.
People check into the hospital expecting to get better, but there are risks — and some even wind up getting sicker.
You can face the danger of complications, like bleeding or infection. There are also the constant check-ins from nurses or physicians that can disrupt sleep.
And none of that includes the cost.
Additionally, when in a hospital, people are stuck in their hospital beds and many experience negative health impacts from this physical inactivity.
However, a pilot study by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston finds that the home hospital model can potentially improve care while reducing costs. The findings were published in Annals of Internal MedicineTrusted Source today.
“Hospital at Home (HaH) as the name states, cares for hospital-eligible patients at home. Models vary, but generally patients seen in the emergency room that require hospital-level care are given the option of intensive care at home,” said Thomas Cornwell, MD, founder of Northwestern Medicine HomeCare Physicians and chief executive officer, Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI).
First study of its kind
“To date, there has not yet been a randomized controlled trial of home hospital care performed in the U.S. other than our small pilot,” David Levine, MD, MPH, MA, the study’s corresponding author, told Healthline.
The results of Dr. Levine and team’s randomized controlled trial (RCT) can strengthen the case for home hospital care, showing that it reduces costs and readmissions while increasing physical activity compared with usual hospital care.
“We wanted to show with a very high level of evidence that home hospital care could be delivered to acutely ill adults with lower cost, better physical activity, high quality and safety, and excellent patient experience,” said Dr. Levine.
“In addition, we feel this gives all Americans the information they need to choose the care for themselves and their loved ones should they need hospitalization,” he said.
Levine and team enrolled 91 adult patients into the trial.
Each participant had been admitted via the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital or Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital with acute conditions that included infection, worsening heart failure, worsening chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma, that lived within 5 miles of the hospital.
They were randomized either to stay at the hospital for standard care or to receive care at home, including nurse and physician visits, intravenous (IV) medications, remote monitoring, video communication, and point-of-care testing.
Researchers measured the total direct cost of care, including costs for nonphysician labor, supplies, tests, and medications.
The findings indicate that patients receiving at-home care had total costs that were almost 40 percent lower than for patients treated conventionally.