Meeting the Higher Acuity Calling in Home Care

Date: September 8, 2023 Lincoln Intelligence Group

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Traditionally, higher acuity healthcare has been associated with hospitals and specialized medical facilities. However, advancements in technology, a shift towards patient-centered care, as well as hospital capacity constraints have paved the way for higher acuity healthcare to be delivered in patients' homes. Below we explore the concept of higher acuity healthcare at home.

Current State
Since 2019, hospital acuity (via Case Mix Index) is up 5% while length of stay is up 10%. Across the country, some 30,000 beds have been closed. Space is at a premium. Given these trends, we can understand why there is a greater emphasis on care at home.

1. What is Higher Acuity Healthcare at Home?
Higher acuity healthcare at home refers to the provision of complex medical care and treatments typically associated with hospitals but in the patient's own residence. This includes services such as intravenous therapy, wound care, ventilator management, and post-surgical care.

2. Advantages of Higher Acuity Healthcare at Home
a. Enhanced Patient Experience: Being in a familiar environment can significantly improve the patient’s experience, reducing stress and anxiety often associated with hospital stays. Patients can maintain their daily routines, have more control over their care, and enjoy the support of their loved ones.

b. Improved Outcomes: >90% Customer Satisfaction, 8-25% ACH Rate, 58% ED Avoidance Rate. They have lower rates of hospital-acquired infections, and improved overall well-being.

c. Cost-Effectiveness: Higher acuity healthcare at home can be a cost-effective alternative to hospital care. It eliminates the need for expensive hospital stays, reduces healthcare-associated costs, and optimizes the use of healthcare resources. Additionally, patients may require fewer visits to emergency departments, resulting in significant cost savings.

d. Reduced Hospital Capacity Strain: With the increasing demand for healthcare services, hospitals often face capacity challenges. By shifting higher acuity care to the home, hospitals can free up beds for patients who require more intensive care, reducing strain on the healthcare system.

3. Technology and Remote Monitoring
The success of higher acuity healthcare at home is largely attributed to advancements in technology. Remote monitoring devices, telehealth platforms, and wearable sensors enable healthcare professionals to closely monitor patients' vital signs, track medication adherence, and provide real-time support. This technology allows for early detection of complications, timely interventions, and improved communication between patients and healthcare providers.

4. Skilled and Specialized Home Healthcare Teams
Delivering higher acuity care at home requires a skilled and specialized home healthcare team. These teams must be able to not only monitor the patient's status but also respond to needs with skilled clinicians and interventions. Partnerships with local paramedics, physicians, and clinicians are a must.

Considerations and Challenges
While higher acuity healthcare at home offers numerous benefits, there are numerous considerations and challenges to address. Join us during our October 11 session, during which we will consider:
  • Regulatory and reimbursement policies for enabling HA-at-home success;
  • Potential limitations in equipment and clinical resources;
  • How to ensure patient and clinician safety;
  • The challenge of coordinating care across multiple providers.\

Hospital volume is projected to increase by 2% during the next 10 years (Behavioral Health, Neuro, Cardiovascular) due to demands of chronic complex diseases. Higher acuity healthcare at home is transforming the way complex medical care is delivered. By leveraging technology, skilled home healthcare teams and partnerships, and patient-centered approaches, patients can receive the care they need in the comfort of their own homes. This model not only improves patient experience and outcomes but also offers cost-effective solutions and alleviates strain on hospital capacity. As healthcare continues to evolve, higher acuity healthcare at home is poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of patient care.