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Hospital at Home: How Healthcare Orgs Can Set Programs up for Success




Although telehealth is often thought of in the context of synchronous video visits, in reality, virtual care encompasses a wide range of opportunities to connect patients with medical care beyond brick-and-mortar facilities.

One such expansion involves the provision of advanced care outside of in-person settings, sometimes known as “hospital at home.”

Several major healthcare organizations, including Kaiser and Mayo, have put forth efforts in this direction via advocacy and pilot programs. Other health systems, including Intermountain and Ascension, have made similar moves.

But some experts say that to maximize patient care, hospital-at-home programs should do their best to view patients holistically and to recognize virtual care, not as an add-on to in-person services, but as a distinct modality that requires its own strategic investments.

“As with anything with healthcare, as we’re trying to make changes, it’s tempting to try and bolt this onto existing healthcare strategies,” Jeff Fuller, vice president of analytics solutions at CipherHealth, said in an interview with Healthcare IT News.

“But I think when it comes to hospital at home, it’s so different and unique that you need to implement it carefully,” he said.

Fuller noted that hospital-at-home care isn’t simply a way to increase the number of beds available.

Rather, he said, “You’re providing a more personalized approach that, in some ways, could have new outcomes.”

He pointed out that many patients might prefer being at home to being in a facility. At that point, he said, the question becomes one of scale.

“Don’t have a formula that’s based on supply sides – ‘Oh, we’re full, so we have to do hospital at home,'” he said. “That would be a nightmare.”

Fuller noted that choosing the right patients for at-home care requires involving the individuals and care team in the decision-making process.

He also stressed the importance of keeping in contact with patients outside a hospital setting, which he says CipherHealth enables via automated outreach programs.

“The context that you capture in these types of communications is beyond a clinical transaction,” he said. “It’s getting to the root of patient behavior and attitudes about their health.”

Dr. John Frownfelter, chief medical officer at Jvion, also noted the importance of approaching appropriate candidates for at-home care. One potential issue, he said, is drawing incorrect conclusions about patients based on limited data.

Housing stability, for example, is a helpful measurement of health for most of the population – but for an elderly single patient isolated at home, housing stability may mask other concerns.

“If we can understand patients holistically as individuals and a population,” he said, “then when we see a patient with vulnerabilities, those can be mitigated.”

Frownfelter pointed to Jvion’s use of artificial intelligence as one way to identify the intersecting factors that can pose obstacles to getting care at home. AccentCare is currently using the vendor in its post-acute healthcare services.

He noted that health literacy, distance to hospital, and access to good internet connectivity and social support are important criteria to consider when evaluating a patient for hospital-at-home suitability. At the same time, falling short in one of those criteria doesn’t necessarily have to be a disqualifier.

“If I don’t see the patient holistically, I can cherry-pick patients who [I know] will do well,” he said. “A lot of people will end up hospitalized when they could have been at home.”

When asked about objections from nurses’ unions to Kaiser’s advanced care at home strategy, Frownfelter said he couldn’t personally foresee a threat to the profession.

“If there’s a better patient experience, fewer hospital-acquired infections and outcomes – it seems like it would be good for healthcare,” he said.

“If we put patients first, then the setting becomes irrelevant,” he said.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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Health Care

PatientBond, Vizient Team up for Digital Behavior Change Tools




Patient engagement SaaS provider PatientBond and healthcare performance improvement and analytics company Vizient are partnering up to provide Vizient member healthcare organizations with digital patient engagement and behavior change programs.

WHY IT MATTERSPatientBond’s digital engagement workflows can be personalized with psychographic insights, with the aim of activating patient behaviors and driving improved patient engagement and outcomes.

Through the partnership, Vizient’s customer base, which includes academic medical centers, pediatric facilities, and community hospitals, will offer programming including care gap closures, condition specific messaging, screenings and appointment reminders and appropriate use communications.

The aim of the programs is to reduce hospital readmissions and improve digital health risk assessments.

Other programs included in the deal will provide psychographically segmented marketing campaigns to advance patient/member activation, as well as patient and physician matching or find a doctor services based on psychographic insights.

The deal will also provide extensive market research insights and dynamic payment reminders for partners.

THE LARGER TRENDPatient-reported outcomes are a critical way to assess the ongoing state of patient health and satisfaction, and a growing number of digital tools are helping them do so.

The financial upside for care providers is also noteworthy: Jackson Hospital significantly improved its finances with digital patient engagement tools, switching from letters and phone calls to automated emails and text messages along with some help from analytics.

At Rush University Medical Center, the hospital has deployed similar digital tools to reduce the strain of avoidable readmissions and ED recidivism when resources already were at capacity.

Last year, Cardinal Health announced the launch of a digital patient engagement platform aimed at addressing medication adherence challenges – a significant issue for the health industry and patients.

In 2019, Vizient collaborated with Civica Rx on provider needs analytics data to reduce Rx costs. By providing insights into purchasing patterns and provider needs through its analytics and data capabilities, Vizient helped Civica Rx anticipate gaps in drug availability and affordability.

ON THE RECORD“PatientBond brings consumer science and dynamic intervention technologies to healthcare with unmatched clinical and business results,” said PatientBond CEO Justin Dearborn in a statement. “Vizient’s member healthcare organizations can benefit from PatientBond’s personalized patient engagement at scale with proven and consistent results.”

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.comTwitter: @dropdeaded209

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Health Care

LifePoint Health Inks Data Deal With Health Catalyst




Brentwood, Tennessee-based LifePoint Health has entered a new collaboration with Health Catalyst and will use its analytics technologies to help bolster care quality, lower costs and improve population health management.

WHY IT MATTERSLifePoint Health will integrate Health Catalyst’s data operating system and analytics tools to gather performance metrics and drive improvements in healthcare quality, reporting and operational and financial decision-making.

By discovering and sharing clinical data, the partnership will help reduce variation in clinical outcomes. Health Catalyst’s tools dovetail with LifePoint’s national quality and facility recognition program goals to measurably improve patient care, safety and satisfaction as well as improve access and lower costs, according to the company.

In addition to the cloud-based data platform, LifePoint will use Health Catalyst’s analyzer, insights, AI, patient safety monitoring and data entry applications. The suite of tools can help increase organizational speed and interoperability, according to Health Catalyst.


While healthcare organizations are just beginning to scratch the surface of using data to drive improvements, according to Health Catalyst President Patrick Nelli, the company’s strategic acquisitions have provided them with the ability to customize software and services around core care systems.

One of them was its purchase earlier this year of KPI Ninja, whose event-driven data processing capabilities complement Health Catalyst’s own platform, enabling customers to build new services and operational tools around their core care systems.

LifePoint, meanwhile, has been making acquisitions of its own, such as its June 2021 addition of specialty hospital company Kindred Healthcare, with an eye toward a delivery network that taps into Kindred’s specialty hospital and rehabilitative expertise and its behavioral health platform.

ON THE RECORD“The Health Catalyst DOS platform, along with our technology product suites and applications, and improvement expertise, will best position LifePoint Health to achieve, sustain and scale the highest standards of care across its network,” said Health Catalyst CEO Dan Burton in a statement this week.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.Email: afox@himss.orgHealthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.


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Health Care

Fifteen Months for Domestic Worker Who Stole Jewellery




On Thursday, a Palma court sentenced a domestic worker to fifteen months for the theft of jewellery from her employer, a woman in her eighties.

Between 2015 and the end of 2020, the 45-year-old Chilean worked two days a week at the woman’s home in Sa Indioteria, Palma. Over that period, she stole various items of jewellery. The woman only realised this at the end of 2020, which was when she reported the matter to the National Police.

The police established that these items, which included watches, rings and bracelets, were sold in gold-buying establishments in Palma. The woman later verified that these were hers. As well as the jewellery, a hearing aid was stolen.

In January 2021, the domestic worker was arrested. Described as being in an “irregular situation” in Spain, her lawyer obtained agreement for the sentence to be suspended so long as a sum of 10,700 euros is paid over three years, at a rate of 297 euros per month, and she does not commit another crime during this period.


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