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Study sees benefits in ‘home hospital’ model for acute care

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A study  by researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that a “home hospital” care model in which patients receive hospital-level acute care at home may cut costs without hurting quality, including patient safety.

Although many  patients prefer to receive care at home, there are few “hospital at home” programs in America.

FierceHealthcare reports that gaps continue between hospitals and home-based care providers, which can pose patient-safety issues. “Home health workers are often provided incomplete or inaccurate information, and they often lack access to electronic health records to doublecheck patient information,” the news service reported.

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s  small randomized control trial on its pilot home hospital program found that it cut healthcare costs by half.

 The program included a daily visit from a physician and two daily visits from a home health nurse with patients also linking to physicians outside of those visits through video and/or texting.

“We haven’t dramatically changed the way we’ve taken care of acutely ill patients in this country for almost a century,” David Levine, M.D., a primary-care doctor at Brigham and the study’s lead author, said in an announcement about the study.

“There are a lot of unintended consequences of hospitalization. Being able to shift the site of care is a powerful way to change how we care for acutely ill patients and it hasn’t been studied in the U.S. with intense rigor,”  Dr. Levine added.

He and his team plan to expand the study to include a larger number of patients.

To read the study, please hit this link.

To read FierceHealthcare’s take on this, please hit this link.

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