HBPC in the News

Why in-home healthcare is good news for plastics

house call doctor at door

Tim Jennings, President of Custom Case Group, a manufacturer of casings for the biotech industry among others, explains why the trend towards in-home healthcare is set to benefit the plastics industry.

A hundred years ago, most doctor visits took place in the patient’s home. But by the 1940s, population growth in urban areas and advances in medical technology made office visits more efficient and effective for both doctors and patients. By the 1960s, the vast majority of doctor visits occurred in health care settings, enabling doctors to see more patients in a single day and ensuring easy access to the latest medical equipment. But in the last decade, this trend has slowly begun to reverse; and the health care industry – and as a result, the medical plastics sector – will benefit.

At first, the reemergence of in-home health care seemed like a premium service that only the wealthy could afford. But recent findings suggest the opposite: In-home health care might actually cost less in the long run than in-office health care.

One of these findings came from the Independence at Home Demonstration (IAH), developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2012. The program, which aimed to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of at-home medical care, focused on 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic illnesses. 17 independent medical practices were assigned to these patients, and each practice was required to provide primary care at home, maintain a mobile electronic health record for each patient, and visit patients within 48 hours of emergency room or hospital discharge.

Overall, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid wanted to determine the quality of at-home care; whether or not it improved patient experience; and if it could potentially reduce Medicare costs by decreasing ER visits, hospitalizations and 30-day readmission rates. In the first two years of the program, all of these metrics were met. ER visits, hospitalizations and 30-day readmission rates declined; patients reported greater satisfaction; and Medicare costs declined by 30% – or more than $35 million in savings. If expanded, a nationwide IAH program could save up to $15 billion over the next decade. Read the full article