MetroHealth Awarded More Than $900,000 by the FCC to Expand Hospital at Home Program
The MetroHealth System will receive $914,049 to purchase 300 remote patient monitoring connected device kits and expand its Hospital at Home program.
The grant comes from the Federal Communications Commission.
Hospital at Home is just what it sounds like. Instead of staying overnight at the hospital, patients can recover at home under the supervision of a MetroHealth medical team using technology to monitor their condition. Equipment is delivered to the patient's home that allows caregivers to track things like heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and weight.
"We are grateful to the FCC for its support of MetroHealth and the Hospital at Home program, which we believe is the future of medicine,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “This will allow us to greatly expand the program that we recently implemented to provide great care to our patients in the comfort of their own homes.”
The patient monitoring device kits include provider and patient tablets, connectivity (e.g., mobile hotspot, data plan, care portal software license), webcams/headsets, and Bluetooth-enabled peripherals, such as blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, glucometers and other items.
This equipment will allow MetroHealth providers to care for COVID-19 patients and vulnerable/high-risk non-COVID-19 patients remotely in the patient’s home via live video telehealth exams. Patients receive a daily video visit with a physician and are called twice a day by a nurse to review their symptoms and concerns.
These kits will allow at-risk patients to adhere to social distancing guidelines while still receiving needed medical care. These kits will also enable mild-moderate risk COVID-19 patients to recover safely at home with daily medical care, reducing the strain on hospital resources like staff and inpatients beds, and freeing these resources available for higher risk or more severe cases.
“Hospital at Home allows us to care for patients where they are most comfortable, and that is at home surrounded by family," said MetroHealth Senior Vice President and Population Health Officer Nabil Chehade, MD.
MetroHealth has been working on its Hospital at Home program for several years, but the project took on a greater sense of urgency due to COVID-19 and the rapid expansion and reliance on telehealth. It was launched in April.
A study published this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at 248 patients who were split between receiving care in a hospital versus a model very similar to MetroHealth's Hospital at Home. Overall, patients treated at home had better outcomes at significantly less cost and reported higher satisfaction.
"The home hospital model aims to get the right care to the right patient at the right time in the right place," the study's authors wrote.
The Population Health team that developed the program is working with physicians to identify patients who might be ideally suited for Hospital at Home. In addition to COVID-positive patients, MetroHealth also plans to build out the Hospital at Home model to other clinical conditions, such as patients with a recurrence of heart failure or COPD that can be cared for at home. The MetroHealth team is working to develop clinical protocols to use these remote patient monitoring devices to manage additional vulnerable patients with chronic conditions safely at home.
In the right setting, the program offers advantages to patients, caregivers, and the hospital system. It is less expensive for all parties, eliminates the risk of infection at the hospital and allows the patient to recover at home, which is often what they prefer.
It also isn't tied by geography. The goal is to eventually expand the program throughout Ohio.
Hospital at Home requires some additional effort by the patient and their family. A family member/caregiver is required to receive training on setting up and operating the equipment and a reliable internet connection is necessary.
To read the Annals of Internal Medicine study on Hospital at Home, click here:
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers For more information, visit metrohealth.org.