Office Visit: Health care adapting to new future – Journal Record

Office Visit: Health care adapting to new future – Journal Record

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Guest Columnist May 17, 2022 0
Timothy Pehrson
The past two years have placed our nation’s health systems under immense pressure. Converging challenges, such as a surge in patients due to the pandemic, an intense labor market caused by shortages in key workforce areas like nursing and increasing costs due to inflation have all affected hospitals and physicians’ ability to provide care to our communities.
In response to the pandemic, health care providers innovated to meet the needs of our patients when in-person visits were not possible. The bright side of the pandemic is that several solutions used to creatively care for our patients over the last two years will permanently benefit patients and solve issues that had challenged health care well before the pandemic.
Health care is a highly regulated industry, which can stimy care deliver innovations. The Public Health Emergency declaration removed many barriers to innovations, which allowed health systems to create patient-centric delivery innovations that should continue beyond the pandemic.
For example, Integris Health launched a new hospital at home program. This allows some patients, who would otherwise be hospitalized in a traditional hospital, to receive hospital-level care in the comfort of their own home. Patients receiving hospital at home are monitored around-the-clock by registered nurses and physicians at our hospitals using remote patient monitoring, they receive regular in-home visits from a multidisciplinary care team, and patients have full access to our pharmacists, specialists, technology, and care team. It is remarkable, patients love it, and the safety and quality outcomes are just as good as traditional hospitals. Not every patient qualifies for hospital at home, but many do.
So far, the hospital at home program appears to be a good step toward improving access to high-quality care while appropriately lowering costs. However, the authority for this innovation ends when the public health emergency ends. With such positive early results, we need continued flexibility to expand access to this program and understand its impact in the long term.
Congress can help foster an environment of innovation in health care coming out of the pandemic by passing the Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act to extend a waiver to Hospital at Home programs. Health systems want to innovate to the benefit of our patients, but need the freedom afforded during the pandemic to pursue such innovations. Innovation can improve care and help make health care costs more sustainable over time.
Timothy Pehrson is president and CEO of Integris Health.
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May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
May 17, 2022
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