New Hospital-At-Home Study Focuses on Rural Health Deserts

New Hospital-At-Home Study Focuses on Rural Health Deserts

What You Should Know:

– Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), based in Lexington, Ky., will use Biofourmis’ virtual care and AI-based predictive analytics technology to support a new Rural Home Hospital program delivering acute hospital-level care inside patients’ homes–including a clinical trial studying this care model in rural areas.

– ARH joins Blessing Health System—which is also using Biofourmis’ solution—as one of only two U.S. participants selected for the Rural Home Hospital program. The program will enable caregivers to deliver hospital-level care in patients’ homes across a range of acute conditions instead of admitting them to a medical facility. Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that these programs, utilizing Biofourmis’ technology, can lower hospital readmissions by 70%, with a 38% reduction in healthcare costs.

The Rural Home Hospital Program

The Rural Home Hospital program—a joint venture between the @Harvard T. J. Chan School of Public Health and @Brigham and Women’s–will apply lessons learned from earlier initiatives to build, launch and evaluate a program that serves the unique care needs of rural residents across the U.S. The program addresses a high-need issue: Nearly 80 percent of rural America is deemed medically underserved by the federal government. Today, 1 in 5 Americans live in rural areas and depend on their local hospital for care, but rural hospitals are closing and consolidating in record numbers. Residents must drive farther not only for emergencies but for the kinds of diagnostic tests and treatments usually provided in a hospital.

ARH and Blessing Health System in Quincy, Ill., which has also partnered with Biofourmis, were the only two U.S. participants selected for the program out of a pool of 700 applicants (Wetaskiwin Community Health Centre, Alberta Health Services in Canada is also participating in this three-year randomized controlled trial of the rural home hospital model.)

“Home hospital is a care model that has seen encouragingly positive outcomes and satisfied patients, and we believe it could make a true difference in rural Appalachia,” said Maria B. Braman, MD, MBA, ARH vice president, medical affairs and chief medical officer. “Biofourmis’ technology, which has been demonstrated to improve outcomes and decrease costs, has been successfully deployed in urban and rural home hospital programs. The solution will give us the digital health and remote clinical support we need to help make our program a success so that we can eventually expand to more hospitals and patients.”

Rural Home Hospital enables caregivers to deliver hospital-level care in patients’ homes across a range of acute conditions instead of admitting them to a medical facility. Shifting acute care to the home allows hospitals to optimize capacity and ensure that hospital beds are available for more critically ill patients. Other outcomes include higher patient satisfaction, lower readmission rates and fewer hospital-acquired conditions, as well as a reduction in the overall cost of care. For example, one randomized clinical trial leveraging Biofourmis’ technology found that a hospital at home program reduced hospital admissions among participating patients by 70% and lowered costs by nearly 40%. For rural communities, home hospital programs also reduce patient and family travel burdens and out-of-pocket costs associated with facility-based care.

ARH is launching their program with 10 virtual beds, which will equate to approximately 30 patients per month. Patients will be equipped with wearable biosensors, blood-pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters and weight scales to collect physiologic data from home. The health system is also leveraging Biofourmis’ remote clinical support team that offers registered nurse-level monitoring for patients overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Remote Clinical Support and Real-Time Insight

ARH providers will visit patients in their homes and utilize Biofourmis’ technology to remotely monitor them through the biosensors and a patient-centric companion app. Continuously streaming data from the wearables and electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) are fed into the Biofourmis artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered Biovitals® Analytics Engine, which establishes a personalized patient baseline via machine learning and delivers real-time notifications to providers as patient conditions change.

The Rural Home Hospital project will apply lessons and processes learned from early home hospital entrants such as Brigham and Women’s to help build, launch and evaluate a nationwide program to serve the unique care needs of rural residents across the United States. Rural Home Hospital will include patients with acute exacerbations of conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, gout, chronic kidney disease and others. For the research study, roughly half of the participants will receive facility-based inpatient care and the other half will receive home-based care.