The HaH Model
Posted by Alexander Dietrich on May 20, 2021
The emergence of COVID-19 presented new challenges to healthcare systems and, ultimately, reshaped how healthcare is accessed and delivered within communities. In the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients were apprehensive of visiting healthcare centers due to fear and the unknown etiology of the virus. This resulted in widespread appointment cancellations as patients forwent their healthcare needs in efforts to remain safe at home.
Healthcare systems were required to adapt and explore new innovative care delivery models in response. The hospital at home (HaH) model became nationally recognized as several leading health systems began adopting new delivery models in order to remain operative. The HaH model allows patients to receive acute hospital-level care within the comfort of their own homes. Notably, prior to the pandemic, several leading healthcare systems piloted HaH-based programs and noted success with shorter length of stays, fewer readmissions, lower mortality, reduced falls, and lower costs. Furthermore, the movement towards at home care, prompted CMS to issue the Acute Hospital Care at Home Waiver, which enabled hospitals to extend inpatient services during the pandemic. Specifically, the waiver provided guidelines, reporting measures, and a formal reimbursement process.
The HaH model has afforded healthcare systems with the opportunity to transition care outside of the hospital while maintaining the quality and safety of care. The implementation of HaH-based programs has demonstrated other strategic benefits such as increasing inpatient bed capacity and positioning healthcare systems for future value-based payment models currently in development.
HaH-based programs continue to be adopted and integrated into healthcare systems as more evidence becomes available. The impact of the pandemic has been profound on healthcare systems and served as a catalyst to addressing healthcare accessibility and exploring new delivery models. The pandemic has empowered healthcare systems to become more versatile and innovative in order to evolve with current healthcare delivery needs.