'Safe, happy and cheap': Inside Mayo Clinic's Hybrid Care Hotel

Mayo Clinic's Hybrid Care Hotel in Jacksonville, Fla., challenges the idea that low-risk surgical patients are better off recovering in a conventional hospital setting.

The Hybrid Care Hotel is a virtual hybrid care service designed for low-risk surgical patients that utilizes technology and in-person clinician interactions to reinvision patient care. 

Michael Maniaci, MD, medical director of Mayo Clinic Hospital in Florida, spoke to Becker's Hospital Review about how the hospital's quick thinking during the height of the pandemic brought the Hybrid Care Hotel into being.  

Question: When did Mayo Clinic initiate the idea for its Hybrid Care Hotel? 

Michael Maniaci, MD: The idea came up in late July 2020 when COVID started to surge in Florida. We had so many out of town patients who had surgeries and procedures that didn’t medically require hospital admission, but often spent one night in the hospital due to patient or physician preference due to distance traveled or convenience of immediate morning follow up. But needed the capacity for sick patients coming in with COVID-19. So, instead of stopping surgeries we decided to come up with another model so our patients could get the care they needed, that's how the Hybrid Care Hotel started. 

Q: What teams were involved in the creation process?

MM: Our hospital practice team worked with our surgical teams to try to combine the technology we were using from our hospital-at-home program to the Hybrid Care Hotel. We also began asking advocates, in neurology and neurosurgery, to elect patients that would be right for this kind of care. We wanted to make sure we could prove this system would be safe and provide patients with a good experience. This allowed us to combine all the right people, technology and surgeons for the Hybrid Care Hotel, and five days later, after our initial discussion with our teams, we ended up piloting the program with our first patient. 

Q: When designing the program, how did Mayo Clinic ensure its focus was on improving patient experiences and satisfaction?

MM: First we wanted to do this voluntarily, we didn't want to force any patients to have to go to a hotel if they didn't want to. Second, we kept communication open with patients. We collected their responses, immediate reactions, answered questions, linked them to their surgeons and collected patient experience data, refining the aspects of the Hybrid Care Hotel to meet their needs.  

Q: Based on patient feedback you’ve received, what do patients like about the model? 

MM: Some of the feedback we've gotten from patients is that they find more comfort in recovering in a hotel room versus a hospital room. They also loved having family with them. The Hybrid Care Hotel allows patients' families to wait in the hotel while they get their procedure done and visit them afterwards without having to wait in a crowded waiting room. Patients also said that they really loved the use of the tablet, which allows patients to connect to a bedside nurse virtually. Response time using the tablet was 30 seconds, that's faster than our hospital.  

Q: Do you think hybrid care models like this will become more popular over the next decade? 

MM: Yes, and these are my key reasons — safe, happy and cheap. The quality of care provided at the Hybrid Care Hotel has already been proven to be safe. Mayo Clinic is also collecting data on the patient experience and is comparing it to the hospital experience, and some of our findings suggest that patients are having a better experience at the Hybrid Care Hotel. Also, this program saves money, building hospital facilities to house patients can be a $100 million investment, whereas the Hybrid Care Hotel costs thousands. This allows hospitals to save money and pass that along to investing in better patient care. Once other hospitals see that this is working, it will quickly gain popularity.

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