AIC offers alternative

Friday, June 22, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Alana HealthCare decided to get into the infusion market, the provider didn’t want to do the “same old thing.”

So it launched Alana Infusion Center (AIC) in the heart of Nashville’s medical community. That way, patients can receive infusion therapy either in the center or at home.

“We want to think about new products and new ways of delivering care that do those two important things: elevate the quality of care and drive down costs,” said Dov Hirsch, senior director of corporate communications. “This didn’t really exist for patients.”

Infusion was a natural extension of Alana HealthCare’s specialty pharmacy. The provider, which has eight locations in the south and provides services in 25 states, also provides respiratory and wound care management, and does some durable medical equipment.

AIC allows patients to be overseen in a controlled setting—especially important for new patients. When they are comfortable with the treatment, most of them can choose to transition to home infusion therapy.

“Our thing is to give the patient options,” said Justin Schneider, president of Alana HealthCare. “They can dictate their own health care.”

It’s a common refrain these days that patients want to be treated in the home, but that’s not always the case. AIC offers a relaxed, spa-like atmosphere in a convenient location.

“A lot of patients are working professionals, so it’s nice for them to be able to come here and they can do work,” said Hirsch.

It’s also not always practical for patients to use home infusion therapy, says Nancy Kramer, vice president of clinical affairs for the National Home Infusion Association. For example, patients who need an infusion only once or twice a month might ordinarily receive that treatment in a hospital or physician’s office.

“These facilities are smaller in size and scope and have a quicker turnaround,” she said. “That’s an advantage for the patient.”

Alana HealthCare is currently scouting sites for a second infusion center location in west Tennessee. It currently serves about 100 infusion patients.

“We don’t have any grand vision that we want to have tens of thousands of patients,” said Schneider. “We want to know our patients, and what their needs are. It isn’t a cookie cutter thing.”