Advocate Health’s Strategies For Hospital-At-Home Expansion

In the spring of 2020, Atrium Health — now a part of Advocate Health, post-merger — implemented a system that allowed patients with less severe COVID-19 cases to opt into an at-home care option. The move made it a pioneer in the at-home virtual health space.

Three years later, the program has grown exponentially, evolving into what is considered the largest hospital-at-home program in the U.S.

In order to build on that growth, Atrium Health is banking on its virtual care capabilities.
“Virtual health is an enablement,” Molly McColl, vice president for virtual and global health care at Advocate Health, told Home Health Care News. “This is hospital-level care being provided in someone’s home. Us being able to monitor them, get real time information and data, and making sure we have the best pulse on the situation in terms of how these patients are doing is key to making sure they are getting the right kind of intervention or care team.”


Since Atrium Health first launched its HaH program, Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health merged, creating one of the five largest hospital systems in the entire U.S. Together, the two are officially dubbed Advocate Health, with a network of 67 hospitals, 21,000 physicians and nearly 42,000 nurses.

Three months later, Atrium Health partnered with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) to expand its hospital-at-home offerings in March 2023.

McColl emphasized the importance of seamless integration between virtual tools and the overarching care delivery model of its hospital-at home program.


One of the key tools in doing so is remote patient monitoring, which has emerged as a cornerstone of Atrium Health’s virtual care strategy.

“Along the spectrum of workflow tools, remote patient monitoring is probably one of the most immature,” McColl said. “It’s relatively new. We wanted to make sure from a process standpoint, from a regulatory standpoint and from a quality standpoint that we partnered closely with hospital-at-home to — not only give them the right technology — but to synthesize it and to actually use it as part of their workflow.”

Remote patient monitoring has been one of the key focuses of late, McColl said.

Source: Atrium Health

“The other thing that remote patient monitoring allows us to do is drive efficiency to the care team,” McColl said. “We’re maximizing their time on the patients that need it the most. They’re getting alerts and triggers and know immediately when and how patients are progressing or not progressing appropriately.”

Virtual visits remain a key component of Atrium Health’s hospital-at-home program, which McColl called the “bread and butter.”

In a recent whitepaper, Atrium Health pointed to a McKinsey & Company report that 20% of Medicare, Medicaid, home health and emergency department spending could be virtually enabled.

That provides an opportunity for Advocate Health to not only expand its own access, but also cut costs across the health care continuum.

“The virtual visit is really another key component of a hospital at home, because obviously there are different connections and requirements in terms of how frequently those patients need to be connected to their care team virtually,” McColl said. “Whether that’s a nurse or their physician, they use our virtual visit platform and those tools enable our hospital-at-home program. We’re pedal to the metal in terms of growing that so we’re making sure that the tools, technology and workflow — from a virtual standpoint — is the best of the best.”

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