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What is Hospital At Home?

Updated: Mar 7

The hospital is often regarded as the sole beacon of health – the one environment

where patients and practitioners can tackle medical issues. But for some patients,

particularly those with acute conditions, the best place to receive care is within their own

home. This practice, called the Hospital-At-Home (HaH) model, can reduce expenses

and allow patients with specific treatment plans to find comfort in their medical journeys.

The History of Hospital-At-Home

While private and personal medicine has existed for centuries, this differs from the Hospital at Home model in that it is widely inaccessible. HaH is also distinct from patient

self-administration, as it merely shifts the setting, not the provider. In HaH programs,

hospital-level care is still provided through physician and nurse visits and other

elements of traditional medical centers.

One of the first HaH models in the United States emerged in 1995, as a project of Dr.

John Bueron of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Dr. Donna Regenstrief of The

John A Hartford Foundation. The two recognized the need for immediate and

convenient care for select patients and the simultaneous danger of exposing such

patients to infections and other risks associated with hospitals. Their solution, an

integrated system” that offers “an alternative venue for patients requiring inpatient care,” “decompresses traditional hospitals to allow the sickest patients to be cared for


The Expansion of Hospital-At-Home

This opportunity rang particularly powerful during the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited

equipment, accommodations, and staff, hospitals were forced to find new avenues for

administering care. HaH programs posed a promising future. By isolating patients into

their homes, the HaH model safeguarded many patients from contracting the disease,

enabled these individuals to still receive care, and reserved hospital beds for those

suffering from the illness. The pandemic revealed the several facets of favorability

attributed to these programs, and accelerated their growth and implementation. On

November 25 of 2020, for instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

announced the Acute Hospital Care At Home Program, which stipulated the steps that

hospitals can take to develop at-home treatment options. Across the nation, the

number of HaH programs leapt from around 12 to “186 hospitals belonging to 66

different systems as of October 2021.” In September of the next year, the American

Hospital Association reported that 114 systems with 253 hospitals were approved to

administer HaH services.

The Implementation of HaH Models

The 2020 CMS waiver provided increased flexibility during the transition from

hospital-based care to the services provided within patients’ homes. It also regulated

the qualifying conditions for eligible patients. The scope of patients with compatible

circum stances and treatment protocols is limited. Although requiring hospital-level

care,” these patients must “be considered stable enough to be safely monitored from

their homes.” Clear treatment plans, along with a demonstrated willingness, are ideal

among patients. In order to determine a patient’s eligibility, hospitals must conduct

in-depth evaluations based on narrow criteria, including illness status and psychological

health. Certain conditions also lend themselves better to HaH models, including chronic

obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), and cellulitis.

The following information was retrieved from the Johns Hopkins HaH model.

An Example workflow for set up:

Once identified as eligible, patients must submit their primary caregiver to review.

These individuals are then trained to carry out a patient’s prescribed procedures. A

social worker might also assess the patient’s home environment and confirm its

suitability in regard to internet access, air conditioning, heat, and running water. A

primary physician will then be assigned to a patient, along with a liaison with the given

hospital, who will develop communication and transportation methods with the patient.

The patient will meet with the physician to discuss their treatment options along with the

newly delivered medical supplies. Using Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) devices, a

patient’s vitals can be reported and monitored by a care team. A provider also meets

daily with the patient.

The Benefits of HaH Models

Johns Hopkins Medicine, in many ways, pioneered early trials of HaH models. The

institution’s research, often with older patients, has informed many subsequent developments. The team’s model resulted in a significant cost reduction due to the

Hospital at Home statistics

decreased number of laboratory tests and consultations. This change translated to a savings of approximately 30% compared to traditional inpatient treatment options. When modeled with the Medicare setting, the team found a 19% reduction. A broader review of 16 randomized HaH programs by Cochrane in 2016 also reported an overall cost reduction of 38%.

HaH systems also lead to higher quality of care. The Johns Hopkins report noted that “compared to similar hospitalized patients, HaH patients experience better clinical outcomes,” including decreased mortality rates and delirium medication use, along with greater patient and caregiver satisfaction.

The comfort that’s characteristic of at-home care is directly related to the patient experience; as with other telehealth and RPM programs, patients feel less stress when treated in their homes. This is especially true for patients with long-term plans, as they might rely on the sense of routine and normalcy. These factors are frequently related to lowered readmission rates.

As mentioned previously, there are many “stakeholders” in the continued use of HaH

models. While patients are perhaps most advantaged – in their increased satisfaction

and separation from hospitals – providers similarly benefit. Medical professionals are

given the freedom to remotely monitor and step in at any point. A patient’s caregiver,

often a family member, may also experience a better quality of life due to the comforting environment.

On a larger scale, some have drawn a connection between HaH opportunities and the

increase of health equity and access. Because of how tailored HaH programs can be,

patient factors that might otherwise be overlooked, including food insecurity and

economic disadvantages, can be identified and addressed. These social determinants

of health (SDOH), although seemingly nonmedical, have grave impacts on how a

patient can access and utilize their care. For more information on the importance of the

The Barriers of HaH Models

Along with the restrictions on which patients are eligible for these programs, there are

several other challenges facing current HaH systems. The reliance on outside

caregivers, for instance, is at times troublesome. Although trained by medical

professionals, these caregivers lack extensive experience and, thus, can hinder the

efficiency and safety of HaH models. There are many moving parts involved, which can

function seamlessly when properly executed, but just as easily result in issues, such as

the failure to transport medications.

HaH also depends on sufficient internet/cellular access, which can delay important information and impede patients in more rural areas.

How Impilo Can Help

Impilo’s integrated RPM device systems are a great solution for delivering hospital-level

care in the comfort of a patient’s home. Providers can conveniently monitor a patient's

vitals without the hassle, and at times danger, of an in-person visit. With the help of

Impilo, decrease your expenses and increase your satisfaction through HaH programs!

Contact to learn more!

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