From left to right: Moderator Ian Hoffberg, HIMSS Program Manager, introduces speakers Joan Imrich, Director of Advanced Analytics at Johnson & Johnson, and Joel Reich, Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of New Haven and Jefferson College of Population Health, during the session “Is the Future of Healthcare Coming Home?”
2. What’s the Movement on Capitol Hill?
Restructuring the payment model for hospital-at-home programs would have a major effect on sustaining momentum beyond the pandemic.
Much like the expected “telehealth cliff” that looms if legislation doesn’t codify pandemic-era changes, the hospital-at-home waiver will need an act of Congress to survive. The latest bill introduced this month, the Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act, would extend the waiver program for two years after the end of the public health emergency.
“These hospital at home programs have been and continue to be reliable and impactful vehicles to deliver effective care, lead to high patient satisfaction, and, for some patients, result in shorter recovery times,” the American Hospital Association said in a letter to the House and Senate bill sponsors. “As you consider action beyond the two year waiver extension set forth in your legislation, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you and CMS to establish and implement a permanent version of the program that enables qualified patients to receive safe and effective hospital-level care in the comfort and safety of their home.”
The recently formed Advanced Care at Home Coalition, which includes founding members Mayo Clinic, Medically Home and Kaiser Permanente, is also advocating for continued flexibility in hospital-at-home programs across the country.
READ MORE: Health systems advocate for continued hospital-at-home care delivery.
3. Keep Patients at the Center
There are still many questions about identifying eligible hospital-at-home patients, data reporting, and measuring a program’s quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction, Reich said.
So far, Imrich said, studies have found that hospital-at-home programs can lower readmission rates and promote greater patient satisfaction. And by seeing patients recover at home, clinicians have more insight into factors in their daily lives that can affect their health.
Barriers such as interoperability, broadband connection and weak digital literacy could hamper wider patient adoption. “Moving care safely out of a billion-dollar high-tech hospital and into a bunch of people’s homes is no small feat,” Imrich added.
RELATED: Is hospital at home the future of healthcare?
4. Provider Buy-In and Satisfaction Are Also Crucial
Healthcare organizations need to be aware of “shiny object syndrome,” said John Glaser, executive in residence at Harvard Medical School. “People install this stuff and spend a lot of money on the stuff, but they don’t actually leverage it or really work it to gain organizational improvements. You have to remember: You buy organizational improvement, you don’t buy software. Sometimes people forget that.”