Has the time come to provide full healthcare at home? With the pandemic accelerating needs to provide quality healthcare outside of typical facilities, is the future of medicine going to be in each person’s house? Dr. Christine Lum Lung, MD, MBA (CEO, Origin Healthcare) believes it’s time to rethink how U.S. providers are delivering healthcare.
Healthcare at Home Defined
The practice of full-service healthcare at home is not new and in fact, is practiced around the world. While it may be fairly new to the U.S., this model of care has been used successfully in many countries including Australia, the U.K., Canada, Israel, and more.
In the 1990s, Geriatrician Bruce Leff at John Hopkins was looking at ways to help the senior patient population stay as independent and functional as possible. Leff introduced the states to the ‘Hospital at Home®’ (HaH) method — an innovative care model for adoption by healthcare organizations that provides hospital-level care in a patient’s home as a full substitute for acute hospital care (Johns Hopkins Health Care Solutions).
Why & How Healthcare at Home Works
HaH advances the Triple Aim of clinical quality, affordability, and exceptional patient experience.
Patients can become subject to adverse events in hospital settings such as security situations and hospital-acquired infections. Healthcare at home offers a wide range of advantages to mitigate those concerns. Patients experience better clinical outcomes including lower rates of mortality, delirium sedative medication use, etc.
HaH promotes increased patient and family satisfaction, less caregiver stress, and better functional outcomes. The hospital can be a very disorienting place for the more vulnerable patient population, like those with dementia. Reports show a 63% decrease in delirium when using this model.
Among other benefits — such as a cost savings of 19-30% — Lum Lung notes being able to meet the patient in place to evaluate and improve certain social systems, environmental settings, and even mundane daily routines as a major opportunity for better holistic health.
Will ‘HaH’ Become the New Norm?
Decision-makers across the industry are gaining confidence in value-based care solutions and showing support for making this a common method in the states. The pandemic has also been an unexpected variable that is moving the healthcare at home concept forward.
“The pandemic opened our eyes to alternative ways we can provide care. Our industry realized changes to the system can be made much faster than we thought,” said Lum Lung. “Telehealth for example — one service we identify with most — has accelerated by a decade in the past year alone.”
During the pandemic, CMS released a ‘Hospital Without Walls’ waiver that allowed hospitals to provide care outside of the facility in areas like convention centers and malls. Following in November 2020, CMS opened up a larger waiver that allowed for the full model of healthcare at home to be delivered.
“We have an opportunity now to think about what aspects we want to continue carrying forward when the pandemic ends,” said Lum Lung.
Topics covered in this article are based on a recent episode from the HealthCare Huddle Podcast — hosted by Michael Zervas and produced by Encompass Healthcare Data Solutions— simplifying the business of healthcare. Find show notes, and listen to the full episode HERE or using the player below.
About Episode 7
In this feature, Dr. Lum Lung shares how bringing the healthcare team to one’s home with the same level of diagnostics and the same level of care in their own homes at a lower cost to all involved. Dr. Lum Lung also shares some important information on how the pandemic accelerated the growing need for healthcare at home while certain outcomes are greatly improved with healthcare at home.
Special Thanks & Credits:
Dr. Christine Lum Lung, MD, MBA (CEO, Origin Healthcare) — Christine has practiced clinical medicine for over 20 years. She is the founding member and CEO of Northern Colorado Hospitalists, PLLC, an independent physician-owned and operated company that provides adult inpatient hospital care. Learn more about her company at originhc.com.
References & Citing:
About HealthCare Huddle Podcast
Simplifying The Business Of Healthcare — Health Care Huddle is a show focused on distilling best practices from subject matter experts across a myriad of disciplines so that listeners may make the health care system better for all stakeholders involved. For more information, visit encompassmedical.com and subscribe to the podcast at Apple iTunes, Overcast, Google, or wherever you get your podcasts.