PHOENIX – Banner Health has been able to reduce hospital readmissions for patients with complex chronic conditions by almost 50% as part of an Intensive Ambulatory Care pilot program with Royal Philips.
The IAC program also reduced cost of care by 34%, or almost $5 million, says Deb Dahl, vice president of clinical innovation at Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country.
“We have the opportunity to step out and do things differently, and we have found we can reduce the cost of care and improve the quality of life for these patients,” she said.
The IAC program, which is part of the overall telehealth program at Banner, treats patients with multiple chronic conditions using a combination of home health tools like connected scales, blood pressure cuffs and glucometers, along with a Philips-developed tablet and software platform. Additionally, a telehealth team at Banner works hand-in-hand with health coaches in the home.
For those patients with chronic conditions who were hospitalized, the program reduced the number of days they were in the hospital by 50% and reduced their 30-day readmission rate by 75%.
With patients with chronic conditions generating as much as 50% of the overall health care spend in the country, programs like the IAC are proving their worth, Dahl says.
“If we could skip some of the hospitalization and treat these patients at home, we think they’ll heal faster and still receive spectacular care, while reducing cost,” she said.
Banner has worked with Philips on a number of initiatives in recent years, and signed a 15-year agreement in January to continue expanding the IAC and other telehealth programs. Dahl said they are also working on developing a “Virtual Hospital” to treat complex chronic condition patients who sometimes need medical observation.
“Connected care technology can be a powerful tool in improving care while reducing costs, and having data that demonstrates its long-term success is critical to driving wider adoption by both patients and care providers,” said Manu Varma, general manager and head of Philips, Hospital to Home.