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Hospital-at-home: Start thinking ahead

Hospital-at-home: Start thinking ahead

Alex HoopesQ. What is the future of hospital-at-home, beyond serving patients with acute illness, and how might that impact HME? 

A. The data is clear – we know hospital-at-home can improve patient outcomes, reduce unnecessary health care spending and lead to fewer readmissions. These successes will undoubtedly drive the demand to offer hospital-at-home services to patients in rural and underserved areas who may be far from a physical hospital facility. Telehealth, AI and remote monitoring technology will be crucial in making this possible, along with collaboration between critical stakeholders like health care providers, home medical equipment suppliers, pharmacies, commercial and government insurance providers, and more. 

Additionally, the chassis created for hospital-at-home can treat more than just acute illness. There are several factors that will influence this: reimbursement policies will need to evolve and expand, HMEs will have to be ready to meet the large and vast supply needs of a hospital-at-home patient, and health care providers will have to adapt their staffing methods to accommodate this new way of care.  

HMEs can start preparing now for the geographic and clinical expansion of hospital-at-home. Start thinking about investing in technologies – like remote monitoring, AI or telehealth. Review your billing and invoicing practices – are you poised to switch to a value-based model to align incentives with the costs and outcomes of hospital-at-home programs or offer payment options that reflect the bundled payment reimbursement model? Review your warehouse and inventory strategy. Finally, think about who may deliver acute-level care in the home in the future – and how you’d work with those entities. Right now, the delivery of care is still largely driven by health systems. Once the home-based care infrastructure is more developed, expect non-health systems to jump in, too, including virtual care providers, primary care providers and, even, payers.  

Alex Hoopes is senior director, Strategy and Execution – Cardinal Health Velocare. 


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