A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at-home patients fared better than those in the hospital when it came to price and outcomes. They saw reduced costs and readmissions, used fewer healthcare services and were more physically active than their hospital counterparts.

As more care moves to an outpatient setting, hospitals are trying to get ahead of the curve by providing care to patients at home for those who don’t need continuous monitoring and do not have a life-threatening diagnosis.

Results of the study:

  • The average total cost of care provided to patients at-home instead of in the hospital was 38% less costly.
  • Home patients were readmitted less frequently within a 30-day period. On average, 7% of the home patients were readmitted within 30 days compared to the 23% who were treated in the hospital. Home patients were also less sedentary and had fewer lab and imaging orders.

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 non-physician 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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