At-home hospital program cuts costs by 38%, study finds

Acute care costs were 38 percent lower for home patients than usual care patients, according to a study published Dec. 17 in Annals of Internal Medicine

Researchers studied 91 adults with selected acute conditions admitted to the emergency department at either Brigham and Women's Hospital or Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, both in Boston. Forty-three patients then received acute care at home, such as nurse and physician visits, intravenous medications, remote monitoring, video communication and point-of-care testing.

The study found that the mean cost of the acute care episode — including costs for nonphysician labor, supplies, medications and diagnostic tests — was 38 percent lower for home patients than usual care patients. 

Secondary outcomes revealed that home patients also had fewer laboratory orders, imaging studies and consultations than usual care patients. Home patients spent less time sedentary or lying down, and had 7 percent readmission rates within 30 days, compared to 23 percent for usual care patients.  

Researchers concluded that substitutive home hospitalization reduced costs, healthcare use and readmissions while increasing physical activity compared to usual hospital care.

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