North Texas hospital system Medical City Healthcare is partnering with a home health care company to bring hospital room-level care to patients’ living rooms, a move that could signal a shift in how medical care is administered in the future.
Plano-based Resilient Healthcare provides medical services such as around-the-clock remote monitoring and daily provider visits to patients of 14 Medical City hospitals under the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Acute Hospital at Home program. Medical City said it is the first network of hospitals in Texas to receive approval for the initiative.
For patients who qualify, recovering at home is almost always the preferable option, said Resilient Healthcare CEO and co-founder Jackleen Samuel.
“Patients can get treated in the comfort of their own home. They’re getting the infusions, the IV medication, the monitoring, the nurses going to their house. If they need meals, we’re providing their meals while they’re on service,” Samuel said. “We re-created the hospital setting but in the patient’s home.”
Many hospitals have struggled during the pandemic to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients while also continuing to care for the normal flow of patients with other ailments. Being able to free up hospital beds in case of another COVID-19 spike is front of mind for hospital administrators.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, Medical City Healthcare’s preparedness response has been to balance our readiness to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Medical City chief medical officer Joseph Parra. “The partnership with Resilient allows us to continue to provide timely and needed care.”
Medical City, headquartered in Dallas and part of Nashville-based giant HCA Healthcare, has 16 total hospitals, more than 3,600 hospital beds and nearly 5,000 physicians.
In September, Medical City doctors began identifying patients who could benefit from being treated at home. Resilient then connected the patients to its software so they could be continuously monitored. Patients are given a tablet so they can speak with their doctor as if they were in the hospital.
Nurses, therapists and other medical professionals make home visits to set up IVs, administer medicine and check on the coordination of care between the hospital and the patient at home. At the moment, only patients with Medicare and Medicaid qualify for Medical City’s program.
Hospital-level care outside of a hospital setting is not a new phenomenon, but its implementation has been slow and somewhat difficult to study. Samuel said the increased use of technology in health care during the pandemic has helped prove to hospitals that distanced visits and treatment is not only possible, but beneficial.
Resilient declined to say how many patients have participated in the Medical City partnership program, but it did say patients have largely been pleased to get to go home earlier than expected. Samuel said patients have cited factors like being at home with a pet for speeding recovery.
A January study of 91 patients published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the mean cost of acute care administered at home was nearly 40% less expensive than the same type of care given in a hospital. It also found home patients spent a smaller portion of the day sedentary or lying down, and were readmitted to the hospital less frequently within 30 days.
Samuel said Resilient will be launching similar programs with other hospital systems across the country next year. In July, the company partnered with United Healthcare, making its services in-network for United Healthcare patients.
“I’m very excited to see where the health care landscape is in two, three years,” Samuel said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more transparency.”