Virtual hospital demand is increasing for the Medically Home Program as different groups begin to see the value of bringing a ‘virtual hospital’ into patients homes. CEO Richard Rakowski shares his thoughts on the Medically Home Program. Here Richard talks about demand that’s driving growth for virtual hospital services provided by the Medically Home model: “We started Medically Home with the idea that we wanted to treat the most common diagnoses that patients are hospitalized for; heart failure, COPD, cellulitis, pneumonia, etc., urinary tract infections. And then we started treating very high acuity patients, as I mentioned earlier. And as we treated higher and higher acuity patients, the demands on our supply chain, on our care being brought to the home, the demands on our clinicians, the demand on our technology grew more and more. Once we recognized that we had all of this ability to care for very, very sick people, it became obvious to other people, not to us! Other people came to us and said, “Wait a minute, you’re taking care of these really sick patients, why can’t you help us with patients who have cancer on a clinical trial? So we said, “We probably can!” So, we started putting the team together, started working with stand up to cancer, and academic medical centers to develop a way to take patients who are otherwise treated in a hospital—very, very sick patients, stage four cancer—who require a lot of hospitalization and re-hospitalization, and have a really, really rough time. So, because of what we’d built, it appeared that it was really perfectly suited for oncology for cancer patients. Then, we found out that a significant part of the process for caring for patients in hospitals who have elective surgery—meaning they’ve decided to fix their hip, or they’ve decided to have a urinary problem fixed… The patients that are hospitalized with those conditions are hospitalized not because the surgeons want to hospitalize them, not because the patients want to be in the hospital, it’s because, after their surgery, these patients are highly vulnerable to having something happen after surgery. So the hospitalization is not so much for the surgery part, it’s what happens after the surgery part. So we were approached, and someone said, “Wait a minute, you can take care of these patients who are actively very sick. Why can’t we operate on patients instead of in the hospital, in an out-patient setting, in an ambulatory surgery center? And why don’t we then take the patient home, and set up a hospital in their home, and link it to the ambulatory surgery center? So between the ambulatory surgery center and the home, we now have a virtual hospital?” So that also came to us. And the latest thing that came to us is, “Why do we need skilled nursing facilities?” If the patient requires a high level of medical care, physician-led, they’re not going to get that in a skilled nursing facility; they get that at a hospital. But the patient needs supervision, the patients need monitoring. The patient needs certain services. Why don’t we just take them home and provide that? So we’re now in the process of building out a solution for skilled nursing home care substitution. So, it began with traditional hospital substitution, and then grew into cancer care, elective surgery substitution, and now, very soon, skilled nursing substitution.”

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