A Unique Partnership Delivers Acute and Holistic Home Care

Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Medically Home join forces to offer patients the best of both worlds, forging a partnership that has the potential to redefine the hospital industry.

John Halamka, M.D., president, Mayo Clinic Platform, and Paul Cerrato, senior research analyst and communications specialist, Mayo Clinic Platform, wrote this article.

One of the problems facing most patients who require hospital admission is removing their familiar surroundings and emotional supports. While these resources might be considered less critical than specialized clinical expertise, there's little doubt that these "less important" factors play a crucial role in the healing process. Even the most dedicated nursing staff can never replace having a loved one available 24/7 at home. Nor can the most nutritious hospital food ever replace appetizing home-cooked meals. Equally important are the familiar wake/sleep cycles that patients are accustomed to at home, which usually must give way to hospital routines that demand blood pressure checks at three in the morning.

A new partnership[FJA1]  between Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Medically Home launched recently to expand access to care that combines the comforts of home with the expertise of hospitalists, helping patients receive the holistic care needed to speed long-term recovery and the acute care services to address their immediate medical needs. Stephen Parodi, MD, executive vice president of the Permanente Foundation, summed up the philosophy behind the new initiative succinctly, "Treating patients in their home allows physicians to treat the whole patient. We see their individual needs and can integrate critical information, such as diet, physical environments and social determinants of health, into their care plans."

The challenge, of course, is how to turn this philosophy into a cost-effective, safe program. In fact, that transition has already begun.  As we discussed in a previous blog, Mayo Clinic launched its advanced care at home program last summer at Mayo Clinic in Florida and Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to deliver complex, comprehensive care and restorative services to qualifying patients in their homes. These services, which are provided in-person and virtually, include:

  • Infusions.
  • Skilled nursing.
  • Medication delivery.
  • Laboratory and imaging services.
  • Behavioral health.
  • Rehabilitation services.

Similarly, Kaiser Permanente launched its hospital-at-home program in two regions last year, admitting patients from multiple hospitals across both its Northern California and Oregon locations. In this model, Kaiser Permanente has a single medical command center in each region, supporting multiple hospitals to care for patients longitudinally across their acute and restorative phases.

The new partnership will scale Medically Home’s operations, allowing more providers to offer this unique care model. The model includes a 24/7 medical command center (Figure 1) staffed with clinicians in regular communication with a care team in the community that contains EMTs and nurses who provide bedside care. Among the elements that make the new program unique:

  • Required protocols for high-acuity care in the home.
  • Rapid response logistics systems and providers of care in the home.
  • Integrated communication, monitoring and safety system technology in the home.
  • A software platform, the Cesia® Continuum, for orchestrating high-acuity care in patients’ homes. (Figure 2)

One of the problems with writing about a significant health care event while at the same time being a key player in the event is some outsiders will question our objectivity and immediately assume we exaggerate its importance to gain a competitive advantage. The plain truth is this partnership is not just about Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Medically Home. The partnership's ultimate goal is to bring better care to patients across the country and the globe. With that in mind, the program will provide all the necessary outcomes data, tools, systems, training and technology to enable the model’s widespread adoption.

Figure 1

Figure 2

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