Over the last few years, the ways that medical care is delivered to patients has gradually evolved. One of the ways that it has changed is with the increase in use of the virtual hospital model of care. This type of care is what it sounds like – the same type of care is provided to patients in their own home that they would receive in a hospital setting.
Patients receiving virtual hospital care will still receive the same level of care as in the hospital, administered by professionals, but delivered in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. This is especially important for those with acute conditions. And while studies have shown that the patient satisfaction levels are generally higher in a virtual hospital setting, the cost is something that continues to be studied.
A recent study – The Virtual Hospital National Demonstration and Evaluation Study – was a nonrandomized clinal trial that was conducted in two separate but consecutive phases lasting 11 months each. The goal? To identify the differences in costs of virtual hospital care compared to inpatient hospital care. The study looked at older patients suffering from acute conditions including:
• Exacerbation of congestive heart failure
• Exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
During the study, researchers analyzed the overall costs of care for each patient. The study discovered that the overall cost of virtual hospital treatment was much lower than inpatient hospital care. In fact, the difference in the cost was a mean of $5081 for virtual hospital care compared to $7480 for inpatient care. These total costs included lab and procedure expenses, each of which were found to be lower in virtual hospital studies than in traditional care settings.
This study occurred during 2000 and 2002, and data was gathered from 169 intervention patients and 286 observation patients and included inflation adjustments to ensure the most accuracy in the results.
In the end, according to the Virtual Hospital National Demonstration and Evaluation Study, virtual hospital care is a more affordable type of treatment for acute conditions in almost every way. Combined with the much higher patient satisfaction rate and the fact that most patients prefer to receive care in a more relaxed setting, it is clear that this type of treatment is one that should continue to be explored and utilized by medical organizations around the world. And as more positive data continues to be gathered, it is more likely that this is exactly what will happen.