Mayo Clinic announced Thursday that it has teamed up with technology-enabled services company Medically Home to provide hospital-level care in the home.
The new program will allow Mayo Clinic’s patients to transition from the hospital back home, with support from virtual and in-person care. Once home, patients may also receive recovery services under the direction of Mayo Clinic physicians.
The program will first launch in Jacksonville, Florida, in early July. It will then expand to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in August. Mayo Clinic plans to spread this model across its health care systems throughout 2021.
“Our ultimate goal is, by 2022, to share this with the rest of the world,” Dr. Michael Maniaci, Mayo Clinic Florida’s lead for the new program, told Home Health Care News.
Generally, patients who qualify for the hospital-at-home program are individuals who are sick enough to be granted admission into the hospital, but not sick enough to require an intensive care unit stay or an invasive procedure.
The Mayo Clinic-Medically Home program’s health care services include infusion and skilled nursing care, plus medication support and certain laboratory services. Behavioral health and rehabilitation services are also part of the program.
Headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, the nonprofit Mayo Clinic is widely considered one of the top hospital organizations in the country. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states, including major campuses in Rochester; Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida.
Historically, Mayo Clinic has been a site of innovative clinical trials, care models and therapies.
Over a year ago, Mayo Clinic began forming the idea for a hospital-at-home program in an effort to create a care-on-demand service, according to Maniaci.
“We really pushed for a personalized experience for patients,” Maniaci said. “But how do you apply that in a hospital? The inspiration for this: People don’t want to go to the store; they want Amazon to deliver to their home. They don’t want to go out to eat; they want Grubhub to deliver meals to their home. If your windshield breaks, it’s a pain to go to the mechanic, so you want them to come to you. So, why couldn’t we do the same with health care?”
While plans for the program predate COVID-19, the public health emergency further validated Mayo Clinic’s efforts, according to Maniaci.
“The reason the world went on shutdown is that there aren’t enough medical beds to take care of everybody if we all got sick at once,” he said. “With this model, you don’t have to [make more room], the beds are already there. We just need to bring technology to the patients.”
As for Boston-based Medically Home’s end of the partnership, the company has built a model allowing organizations to bring services that are traditionally provided at a hospital bedside into the home, in turn making it a safe site for high-acuity care.
To do so, Medically Home helps its partners coordinate in-home clinician visits, in addition to any necessary technology, equipment or other supplies. Founded in 2016, Medically Home has raised nearly $25 million since launching, according to Crunchbase.
“The elements of the model are rapid response services going to the home 24/7, a medical command center staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses, and the technology in the home that makes all this possible,” Raphael Rakowski, executive chairman at Medically Home, told HHCN. “Then having that operate with a tech and software platform that allows you to safely scale this across patients … highly decentralized operating in their own homes.”
In addition to bringing various forms of clinical technology platforms to the table, Medically Home was an attractive partner because of the company’s focus on patients, according to Maniaci.
“Medically Home really designed their whole platform around the patient,” he said. “It was not, ‘Let’s design some cold, clunky system.’ They designed something that was ideal for patients. When we investigated, we found that the engineers worked with a chief nurse operator and a physician to design the software.”
Likewise, Medically Home’s mission dovetails with Mayo Clinic’s “patient-centric” approach to care, according to Rakowski.
“I have a long history of respect for Mayo Clinic,” he said. “They have a 150 year-plus history of innovation around patient care and diagnosis. Their culture around patient care really aligns with how we think of our mission. They were the right cultural fit, the right clinical fit and the right mission fit.”
For many reasons, providing care in the home is more important than ever, according to Maniaci.
“Being in the hospital away from your home environment is tough — especially for our senior population,” he said. “In light of COVID-19, it’s even more difficult. We know that hospital errors result in serious harm or even death, that hospital-acquired infections are on the rise. We hope by keeping people out of the brick-and-mortar hospital and centering care in their home, we can avoid a lot of this.”