A recent study in HealthAffairs says that house calls can help reduce the number of emergency room visits and hospital readmissions.
It looks at how since 2009 Torrance, Calif.-based HealthCare Partners Affiliates Medical Group has provided its House Calls program to recently discharged high-risk, frail and psychosocially compromised patients. The idea is to provide and manage care for the group’s Medicare Advantage and commercially insured HMO patients.
The study says that after being involved with the program for three months, patients were admitted to the hospital less often–and per-month use and spending continued to decrease.
Nurse practitioners are the key to the program: They develop patients’ care plans while monitoring them and sending updates to primary-care physicians. Meanwhile, social workers assess patients in their home environments. There, they identify such potential issues such as fall risks, medication organization, social isolation and financial concerns and provide nutrition coaching.