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Crisis as a Catalyst for Innovation Report

Health professional sits with patient in home wearing a mask.

This paper focuses on innovation opportunities fueled by the COVID-19 crisis that help catalyze better outcomes and continuity of care with unprecedented demand for patient-centered Hospital-at-Home(HaH) models (pioneered & trademarked by Johns Hopkins Medicine).

HaH models aren’t new; what is new is a trend toward delivering the most genuine Person-Centered Care that truly brings the entire care team to the patient/family center. HaH is also referred to as Virtual Home Hospital (VHH), Home Hospital Care (HHC) or Acute Hospital Care at Home by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospitals Without Walls program. Although still in a transitional phase, Acute Hospital Care at Home Programs have been gaining traction with episode-based payment models. In a $4 trillion health-care market, in-home hospitalizations save $5,000-$7,000 per episode. Interactive patient care solutions are rapidly evolving to serve new constituents, such as family members and caregivers, across the entire care continuum — before, during and after care.

Consumer demand, unique market needs, and urgency to change during the pandemic challenged us all – public and private sector alike – to re-think the status quo and reimagine a more equitable and affordable healthcare ecosystem. We shine a light on evolving virtual and acute-care solutions that enable decentralized healthcare delivery in the home, when and where it is needed.

HaH models combine human and technology resources in hybrid on-site settings and remote locations to coordinate care services 24/7 for non-ICU hospital patients (e.g., home infusion therapy, palliative services, chronic condition management that otherwise would have been provided in the in-patient setting). This model has been used in international health systems since the 1970’s (UK, Canada, Italy, France, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand). It has been slower to catch on in the US. Many signs now point to the future of healthcare shifting to value-based programs that combine virtual and in-person care to improve population health outcomes at lower cost. Estimates say U.S. healthcare spending could shift up to $250 billion toward virtual care over the coming years.

The HIMSS Innovation Committee interviewed multi-disciplinary experts on a myriad of operational, financial, and clinical issues facing at-home healthcare innovation. This thought leadership summary distills forward-thinking perspectives on regulatory, social, and cultural transformation required by payers, providers, and patients. Common themes look at the economic benefits and human impact of hospital at home programs; the true test of their value are the outcomes and experiences they generate for patients.

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