How technology made Mass General Brigham's 'hospital-at-home' program a success

Boston-based Mass General Brigham implemented two technologies that were crucial for delivering hospital-level care to patients at home.

Since 2016, Mass General Brigham has delivered hospital-level care to more than 2,000 patients in their own homes, becoming a leader in the "hospital-at-home" movement in the U.S., the health system said in a Feb. 16 press release. 

Mass General Brigham credited some of its success to technology, highlighting telemedicine and remote patient monitoring as key components to delivering safe, high quality and cost-saving care to patients at home. 

Since more than half of the patients enrolled in the program are over the age of 65 and have limited technology literacy, Mass General Brigham supplied patients with the technology they needed to conduct telemedicine visits. For example, patients receive a tablet installed with specialized software that only requires the touch of an icon of the physician's face to initiate a video visit or to communicate with the home hospital team. 

The health system also provided sensors to remotely monitor patients. This allowed the hospital team to continuously monitor vital signs. 

"Purpose-fit technologies enable hospital-at-home to mirror the care patients receive in the hospital," Jared Conley, MD, PhD associate director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, said. "Through the use of technology, we think we can offer even higher quality hospital-level care in the home, allowing our patients to realize their desire to maximize healing at home and ultimately save on America's healthcare costs."

Dr. Conley is the lead author of an article about the implementation of the program in the Feb. 16 issue of New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery.

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