Banner Health targets chronically ill

Pilot program reduces hospitalizations, cost of care
By Bernie Monegain
11:05 AM
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Royal Philips and Arizona-based Banner Health say they have saved 27 percent in cost as the result of their at-home telehealth pilot program for patients with multiple chronic conditions. They also report a 45 percent reduction in hospitalization of patients with chronic illnesses.

The Intensive Ambulatory Care, IAC, pilot is part of the overall telehealth program at Banner. It focuses on the most complex and highest cost patients – the top 5 percent of patients who account for 50 percent of healthcare spending. The IAC program, first launched in 2013, aims to improve patient outcomes, care team efficiency and prevent IAC patients from entering the acute care environment, where costs are significantly higher.

[See also: Banner Health earns Stage 7 recognition.]

As part of the pilot, Philips and Banner assessed the results of 135 patients to determine the effectiveness of the IAC pilot in meeting its clinical and financial goals. An analysis of the results of each patient's first six months demonstrated that the program:

  • Reduced costs of care by 27 percent. This cost savings was driven primarily by a reduction in hospitalization rates and days in the hospital, as well as a reduction in professional service and outpatient costs.
  • Reduced acute and longterm care costs by 32 percent. This cost reduction was primarily due to a significant decrease in hospitalizations.
  • Reduced hospitalizations by 45 percent. Prior to enrollment in the IAC program, there were 11.5 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month; after enrollment, the acute and long-term hospitalization rate dropped to 6.3 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month

Also:

  • Acute short term hospital stays decreased from 7.7 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month to 4.9.
  • Long term care, home health or other facility stays decreased from 3.9 hospitalizations per 100 patients per month to 1.4.
  • Average number of days in the hospital per 100 patients per month also trended down from 90.2 to 65.8.

"The results of our at-home telehealth pilot with Philips have been dramatic and are indicative of the exponential success such a program could have by engaging patients in their own care and building a strong support system around them," said Hargobind Khurana, MD, senior medical director of Health Management, Banner, in a news release. "As we continue to expand this program, we anticipate seeing further proof that telehealth programs can address readmissions rates, reduce costs, and improve the health and quality of life for patients with multiple chronic diseases."

[See also: MIT, Philips bullish on open data.]

Banner recently enrolled its 500th patient into the IAC program in which intensivist primary care physicians, nurses and a broader care team collect and analyze objective and subjective health data to identify early stages of deterioration and prevent adverse events. By providing patients with near-instant access to caregivers including social workers, pharmacists, and health coaches Banner has delivered patient-centered care and improved patient satisfaction, Philips executives say.

"Telehealth is opening up choices for patients and providers, giving them the freedom to transform how, when and where proactive care is delivered to patients," said Derek Smith, senior vice president, Hospital to Home, Philips, in a statement. "By focusing on those patients who generate the greatest health care spend, we're able to help these individuals get better care in the comfort of their own homes, while also helping health systems achieve the financial reductions they need."