Why Home Hospital Care is a Value Add in a Health System’s Clinical Toolbox
One question I get from clinicians unfamiliar with Contessa’s home hospital care model is: How does this care add value to our health system? And I get it – hearing that you can adapt your inpatient care model to go into patients’ homes sounds like a huge, and hugely expensive, organizational undertaking. But, at Contessa, we have done the work to make this model realistically scalable and practical for systems in unique rural, urban, and suburban markets across the country.
There are several ways home hospital care adds true value to your care model, and they apply not only to the current state of the world but also to future possibilities of where care can be provided:
- Preventing more expensive care episodes: Providing care in the home not only reduces overall mortality rates but also helps prevent common expensive hospital readmissions, particularly from things like hospital-acquired infections. Being treated at home increases the speed of recovery and helps patients return to their daily activities faster.
- Adding capacity without the overhead: According to a 2020 report by Assets in America, the cost of creating an entirely new hospital bed, even in the best-case scenarios (states without certificate of need laws, for example) comes out to roughly $1.5 million. A “virtual bed,” like patients get through a home hospital care program, costs roughly $20,000 per bed – essentially the cost of the staff members needed to temporarily run the program, plus some technology.
- Bundling the cost of patient care: As the entire healthcare industry continues its glacial shift toward value-based care, Contessa has been negotiating value-based contracts with national and regional payers for years. As a result, we’ve created a bundled payment reimbursement model that continues to grow increasingly attractive for providers in today’s environment. We believe it’s the only way to maximize quality while minimizing cost.
- Keeping patients healthy and happy: There’s also something to be said for offering care that could make patients more loyal to your health system. Contessa’s PROMIS data continues to prove that patients’ perceptions of health and wellbeing are far better following home hospital stays as compared to stays in traditional settings. There are also proven mental and psychological benefits of care at home that translate into better, less expensive outcomes – for example, how symptoms of dementia and other cognitive diseases are significantly reduced in familiar environments.
- Patients want it: COVID-19 is keeping patients from scheduling routine appointments and elective procedures. The CDC reports that 41 percent of American adults have delayed or avoided medical treatment. In many cases, health systems are working to get patients back in the building. In contrast, many patients are embracing home hospital care. A study from Jarrard Inc. found that 80 percent of patients would utilize home hospital care if it was covered by their insurance and 79 percent said they had a great experience with telehealth and would use it again.
After a year that’s seen patients avoiding and delaying necessary care so as not to enter a healthcare facility, there is a clear demand for hospital care at home. Providers are being called to meet this demand with growing urgency.
The value that hospital care at home brings to select clinical settings, to business operations, and the patient experience, is a worthy reason to keep or add it to your system’s “clinical toolbox.”