Mass General’s Hospital-at-Home Expansion

Mass General Brigham is living up to its reputation as a healthcare innovator after laying out plans for a “massive expansion” of its hospital-at-home program to help contain costs and manage the ongoing capacity crunch at its facilities.

The health system intends to grow its current program from 25 patients to upward of 200 hospital-at-home beds by 2025, with 90 fully-operational beds expected before the end of next year.

MGB’s hospital-at-home service provides hospital-level care at a patient’s residence, allowing those who are stable enough to be monitored remotely to recover from the comfort of their home. Patients have access to virtual meetings with their care teams, as well as in-person visits from physicians, nurses, and case managers.

  • As part of the expansion, MGB appointed its first-ever president of home-based care, Heather O’Sullivan, who most recently worked for one of the country’s largest home care providers, Kindred at Home.
  • Over the next year, O’Sullivan will oversee the hiring of 200 additional workers to bring MGB’s total home care staff to 1k employees, and will ramp up its fleet of remote care vehicles from 2 to 10 to enable more home testing and medical supply deliveries.

Dr. Gregg Meyer, EVP of value-based care for MGB, compared the hospital-at-home program to a house call from a doctor, which not only gives patients more convenience, but also lets providers observe SDOH factors that might impact recovery.

  • MGB cited a 2019 study showing that its hospital-at-home service led to a 38% cost reduction compared to traditional care, while other programs have lowered readmissions and helped alleviate hospital capacity issues.

The Takeaway

Mass General Brigham ranks among the most highly visible health systems in the world, and all eyes are now on the results of its hospital-at-home expansion. If MGB can successfully create a more convenient recovery experience while simultaneously reducing costs, it could cause plenty of other organizations to replicate the model. That said, hearing a health system like MGB refer to 200 patients as a massive expansion also serves as a good reminder that scaling these types of programs is far from an easy task.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team