According to a Health Intelligence Network Report released in September 2013, home visits can be a key component to improving health outcomes, even in medically complex patients. Home visits are “back in style” and as more and more attention is put on lowering hospital readmissions and improving patient education and compliance, that increase is expected to continue. As a new (or old depending on how you look at it) way to follow up with patients, it’s no wonder that home visits have been proven to improve medication adherence and patient satisfaction.
Of the 155 healthcare companies that responded to the e-survey conducted the month before, 75% conduct home visits, typically to this patient segment, which comprised of up to 10% of their total patient population. The case manager was cited as the primary staff member who conducted the visits, but other care team members such as home health workers, nurse practitioners, social workers, and even primary care physicians and pharmacists were also identified as contributing to the home visit component of the care plan.
In nearly 86% of the respondents, medication reconciliation was a component to the home visit. Clinical assessment and patient/caregiver education were the next highest objectives, but one independent case management company reported “giving the patient information about community resources” and “identifying healthcare providers” as components to their home visit agenda.
While most respondents reported that it was too early to calculate the ROI generated by a home visit, less data-driven results were evident. Increased medication adherence and overall care plan compliance were achieved, and a decrease in ER visits, hospital admissions and readmissions were noted by 67% and 69% of the respondents respectively. It is, therefore, no wonder that an increase in patient satisfaction also resulted.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, only 13% of those surveyed in 2013 made regular house calls. However, with home health now the fastest growing segment of Medicare’s budget, and an expected increase in demand due to an aging population, the historic “house call” may make an inevitable comeback.
For now, to learn who makes house calls and to whom, the American Academy of Home Care Medicine provides a list of its members and medical groups providing home care physician services in each state.
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