Health System Cuts Hospitalizations 45% with Tech-Driven Home Care

A health system that is a national leader in coordinating care across different settings has achieved significant cost savings and reduced hospitalizations by improving home care for people with chronic conditions.

Arizona-based Banner Health undertook the Intensive Ambulatory Care (IAC) pilot program in partnership with technology company Royal Philips. Since its 2013 launch, the telehealth program has enabled Banner to reduce costs of care by 27% and cut hospitalizations by 45%, the health network announced earlier this week. The results are based on an analysis of 135 patients who participated in the pilot, who had data from one year before the program and six months after entering it.

The IAC focuses on the top 5% of the most complex and highest-cost patients in the Banner system, and aims to keep them at home and out of the hospital by providing subjective health data to a care team. The telehealth technology enables “near-instant access” to caregivers, Banner stated in a press release. It recently enrolled the 500th IAC patient.

“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 written 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.”

Banner is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems and includes 28 acute-care hospitals, as well as long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and other services. As a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization formed through an Affordable Care Act pilot, it is recognized as having a sophisticated approach to coordinating care across the acute and post-acute continuum.

Pioneer ACOs have achieved significant cost savings for Medicare, and the program is poised to expand, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced this week.

Written by Tim Mullaney