Most healthcare executives surveyed said they’re offering some type of home-based care. But they said staffing remains a big challenge.
More hospital leaders are seeing the value and benefits of expanding care options to the home, but they say staffing and patient adherence remain challenges.
Current Health released a survey Tuesday of 103 hospital and health care leaders about employing programs to treat patients or manage their care at home. Current Health, a Best Buy Health Company, offers a care-at-home platform for healthcare organizations.
Two out of three hospital leaders (66%) say they are offering some type of care at home, such as remote patient monitoring to manage patients with chronic conditions, therapeutics, or other services. Some hospital systems are also offering acute care services in the home.
Some hospital leaders said they are looking to expand home-based options, and are seeing improved patient care.
However, hospital leaders cited staffing as the biggest pain point. Nearly all of those surveyed (95%) pointed to staffing as a problem, and many said expanding home-based services will only add to their difficulties. A solid majority (59%) pointed to staffing as a significant obstacle in establishing more programs to offer care at home.
Christopher McCann, CEO of Current Health, said the survey highlights enthusiasm among hospital executives for care-at-home programs as well as the hurdles they are facing.
“Two-thirds of health system leaders we surveyed have deployed care-at-home programs, demonstrating significant progress as it relates to making the home a setting for care, but building and sustaining these care models is challenging,” McCann said in a statement.
Just over half of the executives (51%) said it is challenging to get patients to engage and adhere in care-at-home programs.
However, there are technical issues as well. More than half said clinical monitoring support (54%) and in-home technical support (53%) were very or extremely important in developing care-at-home programs.
“Our survey found that health system executives are enthusiastic about care at home and believe that it is often better for patients, but they need clinical, technical and logistical support to ensure that these programs can sustainably operate at scale,” McCann said. “We’ve seen a continually growing appetite to move care home, but it will be partnerships that marry clinical, technical and operational expertise that fulfill the promises of care at home.”
Hospitals are offering varying levels of care at home, and some leaders said they were looking at expanding options or devising ways to offer home-based care in the near future.
Roughly two-thirds (64%) said they were offering virtual primary and specialty care visits, while 28% said they were either looking to do so or were evaluating technologies.
Nearly half (44%) said they were offering chronic care management at home, while an additional 42% said they were developing plans or considering outside solutions.
Less than one in five (17%) said they were offering hospital-at-home programs, but 24% said they were planning to build a program, while another 22% said they were examining outside solutions or technologies. About one in three (36%) said they have no plans to develop acute care services at home.
In terms of patient care, hospital leaders cited a host of positive benefits.
More than two-thirds of hospital executives (69%) said care-at-home reduced readmissions. In addition, 60% said those programs led to a drop in emergency department visits and 59% cited a drop in hospitalizations. More than half (57%) said care-at-home programs improved patient care.
At the same time, less than half (37%) said they saw a reduction in operating costs, and 31% said they were able to manage a greater number of patients.
The survey was conducted between Sept. 8 and Sept. 23.