- Mobile urgent care provider DispatchHealth is partnering with Philips in an effort to improve access to care and reduce costs by bringing on-demand healthcare services to seniors in their homes.
- The pilot program — available to select Arizona members of Mercy Care — provides emergency, primary and palliative care services without the need for a trip to the emergency room, the companies said.
- Members prompt care by pressing a button on their Philips Lifeline medical alert system. They are connected to the DispatchHealth support center, which sends a medical team to provide needed care.
As the population ages and more seniors opt to continue living independently at home, connected technologies aim to help them and their loved ones achieve that goal.
According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global smart home healthcare market will reach $30 billion by 2023, up from just $4.5 billion in 2017. Hot categories for future growth include fall prevention and detection, health status monitoring and memory aids. Home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are integrating with home health tools to help individuals navigate devices using voice.
The trend fits with efforts to reduce unnecessary and costly ER trips and deliver more care in outpatient settings, including the home.
Last week, CMS unveiled a new payment model for ambulance services called Emergency Triage, Treatment and Transport, or ET3, that pays first responders for care provided onsite via EMS crews or telehealth, as well as unscheduled transport to ERs and alternative sites. The five-year demonstration also encourages creation of medical triage lines for low-acuity 911 calls in areas with participating ambulance providers and suppliers.
The Philips-DispatchHealth pilot similarly seeks to reduce ER visits and lower costs.
"Together with Philips, we can discover opportunities to right-size care and treat medical conditions in the home without a trip to the hospital, delivering more appropriate utilization of resources and improved patient satisfaction," Kevin Riddleberger, chief strategy officer of Denver, Colorado-based DispatchHealth, said in a statement.
According to the companies, of the 1,362 emergency calls Mercy Care members placed last year, 73% resulted in an ER visit and 22% required medical transport. By offering on-demand care at home, they say costs can be held to one-tenth the cost of an average ER visit.
Results of the pilot, including overall cost and utilization, are due this spring.