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Best Buy Health, Mass General Brigham partner to expand care at home

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Mass General Brigham has been operating one of the nation’s largest home hospital programs. Best Buy has been teaming with more health systems.

Mass General Brigham has operated a hospital-at-home program for years, but now it’s getting a partner to expand healthcare services in patients’ homes.

The Massachusetts health system and Best Buy Health announced a new partnership Wednesday. The two organizations say the first priority is to expand Mass General Brigham’s home hospital program. But they also said the partnership will help support the health system’s home health business that works with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses.

For Best Buy, the move marks another collaboration with a well-known health system as the retailer expands its presence in the healthcare market. Both systems also touted the collaboration as a way to deal with increasing staffing shortages in healthcare.

Heather O’Sullivan, president of Healthcare at Home at Mass General Brigham, said the organization is working to build “the integrated healthcare system of the future.” The health system operates one of the nation’s largest hospital-at-home programs.

“As a recognized leader of home hospital services, we understand that consumers are increasingly choosing the comfort of care at home as an alternative to traditional, facility-based delivery settings,” O’Sullivan said in a statement. “By enabling our world-class provider services with technology that matters, we are elevating system capabilities and, most importantly, improving clinical outcomes for the communities we serve today while preparing for the future delivery of care more broadly.”

Deborah Di Sanzo, president of Best Buy Health, said that the partnership would also lead to novel approaches to expand care at home.

“More people than ever before are comfortable with the idea of receiving care in their homes, but we know that bringing care across that threshold isn’t as easy as it sounds,” Di Sanzo said in a statement. “Together, Best Buy Health and Mass General Brigham will create long lasting solutions that will support the rapid growth of the care at home market and all of those who play key roles in delivering quality care in the home to patients who need and deserve it.”

Mass General Brigham and Best Buy Health said they will make “significant investments” to help train healthcare workers for home hospital programs. They noted that clinicians working in hospital-at-home programs report higher job satisfaction. Healthcare leaders have also touted those programs as a way to retain valuable employees who are burned out working inside hospitals.

The organizations said they will offer scholarships for those interested in pursuing nursing or other healthcare careers in home-based settings.

Best Buy Health has also established a partnership with Atrium Health, part of Advocate Health, on improving the hospital-at-home experience. They said they are working to expand Atrium’s home hospital program and devise solutions that can be utilized at other health systems as well.

Rasu Shrestha, Advocate Health’s executive vice president & chief innovation and commercialization officer, described the partnership with Best Buy Health during a presentation at the Vive Conference in March. “We’re bringing together the best of technology with the best of empathy,” Shrestha said.

Best Buy Health also owns Current Health, a technology company offering hospital-at-home, telehealth and remote patient monitoring to health systems. Best Buy Health also recently expanded its partnership with Geisinger Health System for monitoring chronically ill patients at home.

Researchers with the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services examined hospital-at-home programs and found a low mortality rate, according to a findings published in Jama Network Open on Nov. 3. In an examination of data involving 11,159 patients, only 38 patients, or 0.34% of the patients, suffered unexpected deaths, researchers said.

The federal government eased restrictions on hospital-at-home programs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Nov. 1, 127 health systems, and 302 hospitals, were offering acute care to patients at home in 37 states, according to federal data.

In this video, healthcare leaders talk with Chief Healthcare Executive® about the growth of hospital-at-home programs.

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Image: Ron Southwick, Chief Healthcare Executive
Image credit: HIMSS
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