Mass General Brigham has operated a hospital-at-home program for years, but is now finding a partner to expand health services into patients’ homes.
Massachusetts Health System and Best Buy Health announced a new partnership Wednesday. The two organizations say the first priority is expanding Brigham General’s Home Hospital program. But they also said the partnership will help support the health system’s home health business, which works with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses.
For Best Buy, the move marks another collaboration with a well-known healthcare system as the retailer expands its presence in the healthcare market. Both systems touted the collaboration as a way to address growing health care staffing shortages.
Heather O’Sullivan, president of Healthcare at Home at Mass General Brigham, said the organization is working to build the “integrated health care system of the future.” The health system operates one of the nation’s largest home hospital programs.
“As a recognized leader in home hospital services, we understand that consumers are increasingly choosing the comfort of home care as an alternative to traditional facility-based delivery settings,” O’Sullivan said in a statement. “By providing our providers with world-class services with technology that matters, we are increasing system capabilities and, most importantly, improving clinical outcomes for the communities we serve today as we prepare for the future of care delivery in a broader plan.”
Deborah DiSanzo, president of Best Buy Health, said the partnership will also lead to new approaches to expanding care at home.
“More people than ever are comfortable with the idea of receiving care in their homes, but we know that moving care across that threshold is not as easy as it sounds,” Di Sanzo said in a statement. “Together, Best Buy Health and Mass General Brigham will create long-lasting solutions that will support the rapid growth of the home care market and all those who play a key role in providing quality care at home to patients who need and deserve it.” “
Mass General Brigham and Best Buy Health said they would make “significant investments” to help train healthcare workers for home hospital programs. They noted that clinicians working in hospital-at-home programs reported higher job satisfaction. Healthcare leaders also tout these programs as a way to retain valuable employees who are burned out from working in hospitals.
The organizations said they will offer scholarships to those interested in nursing or other home health careers.
Best Buy Health also established a partnership with Atrium Health, part of Advocate Health, to improve the hospital experience at home. They said they are working to expand Atrium’s home hospital program and develop solutions that can be used in other health systems.
Rasu Shrestha, executive vice president and chief innovation and commercialization officer for Advocate Health, described the partnership with Best Buy Health during a presentation at the Vive conference in March. “We combine the best of technology with the best of empathy,” Shrestha said.
Best Buy Health also owns Current Health, a technology company offering home hospitals, telehealth and remote patient monitoring to health systems. Best Buy Health also recently expanded its partnership with Geisinger Health System to monitor chronically ill patients at home.
Researchers from the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services studied hospital-at-home programs and found low mortality rates, according to findings published in Jama Network Open on November 3. In a study of data involving 11,159 patients, only 38 patients, or 0.34 percent of patients, experienced an unexpected death, the researchers said.
The federal government eased restrictions on home hospital programs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Nov. 1, 127 health systems and 302 hospitals offered urgent care to patients at home in 37 states, according to federal data.
In this video, healthcare leaders talk to the Chief Healthcare Executive® about the growth of hospital-at-home programs.