By Benjamin Swig and Richard Belle
During the pandemic, staying at home brought about a sense of safety and peace of mind. Telehealth medical care became an extremely popular alternative to getting medical advice and care during a time of in-person restrictions. At the same time, the availability of at-home medical care is also on the rise.
Doctor house calls are not a new practice, but the scope and variety of calls have evolved over the years, and continue to be a benefit to patients and providers.
Richard: “With a healthcare provider coming to a patient’s location, the patients can feel safe and comfortable, and they can recuperate in an environment that is their own.”
And compared to the familiar black bag, at-home healthcare providers of today come equipped with an advanced bag of treatment tools and connected devices.
Benjamin: “Our teams are able to treat a variety of conditions, from nausea, vomiting and dehydration to respiratory infections and shortness of breath from long-term conditions like COPD and asthma.”
Many health systems are banking on at-home care models that could reduce costs and help keep non-life-threatening emergencies out of the emergency department.
Richard: “So many residents don’t know any other option, because the emergency department is the closest thing to their homes, and they instinctively think to call 911 for EMS when they need medical assistance.”
Acadian Health is a division of Acadian Ambulance, a 51-year old Louisiana-based ambulance service that continues to find innovative ways to provide medical care. Acadian Health is focused on serving as a partner to health plans and providers to bring at-home healthcare to residents in both rural and urban areas.
Benjamin: “Our focus for the past nine years has always been reducing emergency department use by providing acute care in the home, increasing outpatient care utilization and reducing inpatient care stays through our in-home transitions of care and patient engagement visits identifying risks and connecting patients with providers.”
With the pandemic forcing many to stay at home, telehealth saw a surge in use, and Medicare waivers allowed dozens of states to bring acute medical care to seniors in their own homes.
It’s something experts say can reduce hospitalizations and is a more affordable alternative to long-term care facilities.
An Acadian Health visit costs roughly the same as a medium-acuity visit at an urgent care clinic.
The company says it’s already seen year-over-year growth between 100 and 200%.
The estimated $460 million house call market is expected to grow over the next decade, a return to an old model with a modern-day twist.