Boston Medical Center launches new hospital-at-home program

April 3, 2024 | by magnews24.com

Hospital patients with conditions like pneumonia, dehydration and heart failure have been shown to experience shorter recovery times with fewer complications when they receive more cost-effective healthcare at home – and many health systems have been preparing for this future.

Boston Medical Center is making a new high-acuity, hospital-at-home service available to help patients recover in the comfort of their homes, the health system announced Wednesday. 

Through the service, BMC delivers around-the-clock remote patient monitoring and provides daily physician e-visits, live clinician visits and on-demand access to care teams.

WHY IT MATTERS

The comprehensive service pairs around-the-clock remote monitoring with multiple daily visits from clinicians and technology from Boston-based Medically Home, BMC said in its announcement.

BMC said physician-led hospital-at-home care provides the same services patients would receive during a traditional hospital stay and is held to the same rigorous standards for quality. It will transform care delivery to improve the quality of the hospital services to the community, Dr. Alastair Bell, BMC’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. 

On its website, BMC said that research shows that medical care at home can reduce risks of hospital readmissions, falls, cognitive decline and secondary infections. 

Once enrolled in the remote acute care unit, BMC said it equips patients with an advanced virtual hospital room kit, which includes app- and web-based technologies that facilitate all medical monitoring, in-home visit scheduling and real-time connectivity with providers.

Patients can expect two in-person visits from a care provider daily and more if needed and can use real-time technology on-demand to reach their dedicated health team. BMC said on its website that the kit includes:

  • A tablet for telehealth video visits, educational content and daily care schedule.
  • Phone with a direct connection to your care team – no dialing needed.
  • Emergency response bracelet.
  • Monitoring devices to measure vital signs
  • Backup power supply and backup internet 

Patients can also access the technology for inpatient case management resources, home-delivered meals, infusion therapies, mobile imaging, physical and occupational therapies and more.

THE LARGER TREND

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently called its Acute Hospital Care at Home initiative successful in reducing hospital visits, it deemed it unsustainable due to the costs and resources needed.

However, Karin Schifter-Maor, CEO of Essence SmartCare, a senior and chronic care technology and services company, told Healthcare IT News that the current CMS program relies too heavily on manual processes and in-person care.

RPM technologies could scale and sustain CMS’ hospital at-home program she said in March.

“By enhancing the patient experience through continued monitoring and harnessing patient data to improve operational flows, systems can ultimately meet the growing demand for home-based acute care services while optimizing resources,” said Schifter-Maor.

As organizations design hospital-at-home programs, they should be strategic about their use of RPM, and leverage both internal and external resources as well as appropriate reimbursement, according to Cindy Gaines, chief clinical transformation officer at Lumeon, a clinical automation company.

“These technologies play a vital role in hospital-at-home by augmenting in-home visits with remote monitoring data and virtual visits, giving patients access to the full complement of hospital services,” she said in February.

ON THE RECORD

“Providing hospital-level care in a patient’s home allows us to increase patient access to care options, expand hospital capacity and provide high-quality care to more of our community without additional strain on our resources,” said Bell.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: afox@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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