Orlando Health Piloting Hospital At Home Program
In June, Orlando Health announced a pilot program where patients are monitored in their home, rather than admitted to a hospital. Patients who are diagnosed with one of three conditions; skin infection (cellulitis), blood clot (DVT) or pneumonia will be offered the opportunity to enroll in the program. If a patient agrees to be enrolled in the program, which is free during the four-month pilot, they are sent home with a doctor’s bag with a camera, a computer monitor and equipment to monitor vital signs. A visiting nurse will check in with a patient every four to six hours using a telemedicine connection, and also make a daily visit. A physician will also check on the patient via teleconference just as they would during daily rounding at the hospital, and they will also be available 24/7 for an emergent situation.
The technology is able to work on AT&T and Verizon cellphone signals, so no home Internet connection is needed. Orlando Health’s CEO noted that patients are less likely to suffer a fall at home and the program eliminated the possibility of a hospital acquired infection. He also stated that “Depending on how successful we are and comfortable we are with the model after we’ve completed the pilot, we would like to go to payer sources and see if this is something we might be able to negotiate as a lower cost alternative to admitting patients”. The hospital would like to expand the program to patients with chronic congestive heart failure if it is deemed a success.
Other systems that have adopted similar programs (BayCare in Tampa and Baptist Health South in Miami) have shaved 19 percent of the costs of health care. Telemedicine could become the standard of care for certain patients should the program deliver high quality care with cost effective pricing.