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by Christopher Lieu Clinical Product Manager, Brightree

As our healthcare payment system shifts from volume to value, utilizing care approaches that improve outcomes while lowering costs are essential. This is why home infusion is becoming more and more popular with patients. A recent study by the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) found that in 2019 home infusion and specialty providers cared for more than 3 million patients in the United States, representing a 300% increase since the last industry study in 2008.

Home infusion saves time. Big time.

It’s easy to see why so many patients who qualify for safe treatments in their home prefer that route than going to an infusion center. Let’s first look at the latter. Patients who are getting their treatments at a hospital or outpatient infusion center have to drive all the way there, check in, and possibly have bloodwork or lab work. They then have to wait for the labs to come back, and only then start the infusion. After that, depending on how busy the pharmacy is, they may have to wait again for the pharmacy team to compound their medication. Patients then receive the infusion, wait for the infusion time duration and when that’s finally done, they may have to wait further for an observation period. Then, it’s back to parking, hitting the road and finally arriving home.

Let’s also remember that during COVID times the patient in the hospital or infusion center could be near other patients – which is far from ideal. In an era where personal time, space and convenience are the hallmarks of individualism, the infusion center route is just too lengthy, cumbersome, and impersonal if the therapy is appropriate to be given inside the home.

“Home” in on convenience

Patients have a better experience getting infusion therapies in their own home as it is far less disruptive. You’re in a familiar setting in a comfortable environment receiving your infusion therapy at a time that suits your convenience (as long as it corresponds to the scheduled infusion time and has been proven safe to be given inside the home). With devices becoming increasingly portable, the patient can also multitask in their home. Plus, with possibly just one nurse (or none if the patient can self-administer) treating the patient, he or she will have far less contact and exposure to crowds.

If you think about this from a time-saving point of view, it can take 2-3 hours going to the hospital and back versus a lot less time in your own home. This is why in recent studies patients much prefer the home infusion process to going on the road. The time and hassle differences are huge – and that goes a long way to creating more patient satisfaction.

Cost is also a big factor in home infusion

In addition to saving time and being less disruptive, studies have also shown that home infusion therapy can really save money. Patients can save on everything from facility costs to gas and parking. Simply not having to go out is a major plus factor.

According to the Pharmacy Times, the cost of an infusion of IVIG in the home setting can be 62% lower than medical office administration costs and 87% lower than hospital outpatient administration costs.

In another research study, the NIH concluded that “Patients overwhelmingly preferred home infusion, reporting significantly better physical and mental well-being and less disruption of family and personal responsibilities. Home infusion costs were significantly lower than medical setting infusion costs, with savings between $1928 and $2974 per treatment course.”

Safe home infusion is here to stay

Home infusion has been proven to be a safe and effective alternative to outpatient infusion care for a variety of therapies and disease states, both acute and chronic, as long as the therapy has been proven safe to be given in the home. This is good news for patients requiring home and specialty infusion therapy for conditions including infections, gastrointestinal diseases and disorders, dehydration, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, immune deficiencies, neurological disorders, and more.

As the healthcare payment system overhaul gains momentum, the home infusion care delivery model has shown to improve patient satisfaction and lower costs when correctly administered in the home environment. Contact Brightree to see how our enhanced, evolving solution is more than meeting the needs of home infusion pharmacies.

Christopher Lieu, Clinical Product Manager, Brightree

Christopher has 6 years of experience in the infusion pharmacy
industry, including completing a PGY-1 in Home Infusion at Option
Care in Southborough, Massachusetts. He obtained his Doctorate of
Pharmacy degree in 2016 at the Medical University of South Carolina
in Charleston, SC. Christopher is in the process of obtaining his
Masters of Business Administration degree at Georgia Institute of
Technology. He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA with his
wife, Kasey.

Christopher Lieu, Clinical Product Manager, Brightree

Christopher has 6 years of experience in the infusion pharmacy
industry, including completing a PGY-1 in Home Infusion at Option
Care in Southborough, Massachusetts. He obtained his Doctorate of
Pharmacy degree in 2016 at the Medical University of South Carolina
in Charleston, SC. Christopher is in the process of obtaining his
Masters of Business Administration degree at Georgia Institute of
Technology. He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA with his
wife, Kasey.
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