The future of medicine could be at the door thanks to a new model from Mayo Clinic.
The nonprofit created a center based in Jacksonville, Florida that enables doctors and nurses to remotely care for patients from a hospital-level command center. In this way, patients can be cared for from the comfort of their own home.
The Mayo Clinic announced the initiative all in one Press release explained last June, “With advanced home care, patients with conditions previously treated in a hospital will have the opportunity to move to a home environment and receive compassionate, high-quality virtual and personal care and recovery services.”
Doctors say this type of care allows patients to recover faster and hospitals could save up to 30% in costs, resulting in lower healthcare prices for patients.
NBC’s Vicky Nguyen met and spoke to Shannon Scott, a patient being treated at home with this program. Scott, a 20-year Navy veteran, has severe rheumatoid arthritis that has weakened his lungs and liver.
Because of his condition, Scott was invited to join the Mayo Clinic’s Advanced Care at Home program. To get the care at home he needed, his living room was equipped with an internet connection, an IV, monitors, an iPad for video calls, and a landline that is directly connected to his medical team.
His doctors and nurses can now monitor him around the clock, just a few kilometers from his home in a central command center. If necessary, they can order IV fluids, request prescriptions, dispatch emergency teams, and even monitor weather conditions to look out for power outages or natural disasters that could affect a patient’s care.
Dr. Michael Maniaci, Scott’s doctor, said Weekend TODAY that he agrees to the Advanced Care at Home program. “I’m practicing the best medicine I’ve had in 18 years with this new system,” he said.
When asked what data is available to prove the safety of this program, Maniaci said, “We collect high quality data, like in an inpatient hospital, on mortality, medication errors, falls and readmission rates. It corresponds roughly to what we found in the hospital. “
Dr. Medically Home’s chief medical officer, Pippa Shulman, who helped shape the program, said she believes that if more hospitals offer this type of program, the cost of care can ultimately come down.
“If you don’t pay hospital overheads, you can take those costs out of the system,” she said. “And we really want consumers to pay less than they are paying now.”
The Advanced Care at Home program is best for patients in need of acute care, including those with cancer, severe pneumonia, congestive heart disease, or those awaiting an organ transplant. The program is currently active in Florida and Wisconsin, and Medicare and Medicaid patients are fully covered by the program.