Healthcare at Home Blog Series: The Benefits of Healthcare at Home
Improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare expenses driving the shift to providing healthcare at home
THE VBP Blog
All signs are pointing towards a continued transition to delivering healthcare at home. While we reviewed the policies and value-based payment models that are supporting this shift in our last blog, it is important to understand what is behind those drivers.
Simply put, the benefits of providing healthcare at home has spurred the transformation. But what are those benefits? In this blog, we’ll look at the benefits of providing at-home care, including improved patient outcomes and reduced costs.
Consumers Prefer Healthcare at Home
One of the big advantages of providing care at home is that it checks all of the preference boxes for consumers. It’s estimated that 58% of consumers prefer their health interactions to be digital. When possible, consumers prefer to seek medical treatment at home as it is more convenient. The good news is that advancing technology has made this feasible, further accelerating the shift to at-home care.
In addition to preferring digital health interactions, consumers also want to receive care at home. A recent study determined that 88% of adults would rather receive ongoing living assistance in their own homes as they age. Overall, patients prefer receiving care at home because they are more comfortable, it allows increased freedom and independence, and provides easier access for friends and family to visit
Studies Show Improved Patient Outcomes
While patient preference is key, it is important that quality care is delivered when services are rendered at home. The good news is that various at-home care programs have seen positive results.
Results from Duke University Hospital’s Enhanced Home Health COVID Care (EHHCC) saw positive results. Treating patients at home doesn’t just keep hospital beds open, but can also lead to improved recovery. Ruth Cornwell, a Duke Health nurse, stated, “Some patients recover much better at home.”
Another at-home care program from Johns Hopkins was created to provide at-home care to elderly patients who were either at risk for adverse effects of hospital care or refused to seek care at a hospital. Studies showed that the mean length of stay for those in the program was one-third shorter and that instances of complications were dramatically lower (9% versus 24%).
Further studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine compared 43 hospital-at-home patients and 48 patients receiving traditional hospital care. Reports showed that only 7% of at-home patients were readmitted within 30-days, compared to 23% of those receiving care at the hospital.
In addition to reduced readmission rates and shorter durations of care, there are other benefits to receiving healthcare at home. Those receiving at-home care are less susceptible to contagious infections seen in hospitals and SNFs, can relax and recover in the comfort of their own home, and can receive equitable care as the institutional aspects of the healthcare system are removed.
Healthcare at Home Can Reduce Costs
In addition to improved health outcomes, delivering healthcare at home has the potential to reduce costs. Eliminating the fixed costs associated with operating a brick-and-mortar hospital can reduce overall expenditures. In addition, shorter durations of care have a similar effect.
One example of this is the Mayo Clinic which recently established a healthcare at home hub in Jacksonville, Florida. Through their program, Advanced Care at Home, doctors noted that patients can recover more quickly and hospitals can save up to 30% in costs as it removes many overhead costs. This would ultimately lead to lower prices for patients in the end.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital model discussed above also saw reduced costs from their hospital at home program. Early reports showed that the total cost of at-home care was 32% less than traditional hospital care.
According to health economics firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, the Choose Home Care Act could generate over $247 million in annual savings to the Medicare system. With Medicare spending expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.8% between 2019 and 2029, it is crucial to find ways to reduce costs while still providing quality healthcare.
There are many benefits to delivering healthcare at home. Not only do consumers prefer to receive care in the comfort of their own home, more importantly, it can lead to better health outcomes. However, to continue to transformational industry shift, these great initiatives need to be supported through legislation like the Choose Home Care Act and the expansion of value-based care models from CMS. By aligning payment models with quality home care, healthcare providers are incentivized, which can improve patient outcomes and lower overall healthcare expenses for providers and patients.
In the next blog, we will take a deeper look into how technology has played a large role in accelerating the transition to healthcare at home.
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About the Author
Fady Sahhar brings over 30 years of senior management experience working with major multinational companies including Sara Lee, Mobil Oil, Tenneco Packaging, Pactiv, Progressive Insurance, Transitions Optical, PPG Industries and Essilor (France).
His corporate responsibilities included new product development, strategic planning, marketing management, and global sales. He has developed a number of global communications networks, launched products in over 45 countries, and managed a number of branded patented products.
About the Co-Author
Mandy Sahhar provides experience in digital marketing, event management, and business development. Her background has allowed her to get in on the ground floor of marketing efforts including website design, content marketing, and trade show planning. Through her modern approach, she focuses on bringing businesses into the new digital age of marketing through unique approaches and focused content creation. With a passion for communications, she can bring a fresh perspective to an ever-changing industry. Mandy has an MBA with a marketing concentration from Canisius College.