'We heal better in our homes': Intermountain hospital-at-home program surpasses 1K patients

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health's hospital-level care at home program has surpassed 1,000 patients since the service began in May 2020.

The service is provided through Castell — a digital and population health subsidiary of Intermountain — and aims to provide patients with the right level of care in the right place at a lower cost, the health system said in a Dec. 19 news release. 

"Since beginning, the hospital-level care at home program has saved Intermountain over 3,000 bed days from participating hospitals and can cost patients up to 30% less than traditional hospital stays, depending on the care needed," Castell Director of Home Services Anna McMillan said. 

In-person caregiver visits are provided by Intermountain Homecare, with remote monitoring and virtual visits provided by telehealth providers located at the Intermountain virtual hospital in Murray, Utah.

"Our comprehensive in-home services provide the technology to monitor vital signs remotely, and offer daily in-home nurse visits, daily telehealth rounding by a medical provider and access to 24-hour on-call nurses and physicians," Nathan Starr, DO, internal medicine physician and medical director of home services for Castell and Intermountain's telehospitalist program, said. 

The program is available to Intermountain patients who meet specific clinical and nonclinical criteria and come in through an emergency department visit or have been admitted to the hospital and qualify for early transfer home.

It supports an individual's social determinants of health and covers diverse ethnic backgrounds, diversity of age and various financial backgrounds, including people who are unhoused.

"I really love that this program tells patients, 'We're looking at you as a whole,' because research has shown time and time again, we heal better in our homes," Intermountain Hospital-Level Care at Home Operations Manager Raeme Sendzik said. "We heal better around things that mean something to us, like our family, our pets, and in our environment. Patients can be around their primary support systems like partners and family, get the care they need and continue to work."

Intermountain aims to expand the program's services to traditional Medicare and Medicaid patients in Utah, with the ultimate goal to expand to other states where the health system has hospitals, including Idaho, Colorado and Montana.

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