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Medscheme accelerates provision of acute hospital-level at home care

01 September 2020 Medscheme

Medscheme, South Africa’s largest health risk management service provider, is accelerating its Alternative to Hospitalisation (ATH) strategy ? the Acute Hospital-Level Care at Home, to provide better clinical quality and an affordable patient experience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic era and beyond.

“Research has shown the benefits of at-home care include better clinical outcomes, lower cost and an improved patient experience. In the weeks and months since the coronavirus outbreak began, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on programmes and initiatives catering to the specific needs of the sick and highlighted the need to expand and popularise the {AHS} ATH plan and strategy,” said Dr Lungi Nyathi, Medscheme’s Managing Executive: Clinical Risk and Advisory.

“With Acute Hospital-Level Care at Home, caregivers are an essential element of the care continuum and this has become even truer during these unprecedented times. They can and are a critical link to defeating the virus,” she said.

“During these difficult times, hospitals have advantages of efficiency, emanating from treating more people in one place, aggregated expertise for clinical excellence and a well-established system for patient care. However, hospitals are not always the most optimal environments for patient care,” said Dr Lungi Nyathi .

Dr Nyathi quoted a recent study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, USA, which compared outcomes of at-home hospital care versus usual hospital care for patients requiring admission.

The researchers found that patients admitted in the home programme were less likely to return to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge and on average had 38% lower healthcare costs compared to those who were admitted in hospital.
“The mandate of Medscheme’s ATH Division is to innovate around safe, reliable and affordable medical care services outside the traditional hospital environment.

Dr Nyathi said Medscheme is partnering with Quro Medical − an innovative South African digital health company, to provide patients with active treatment by healthcare practitioners in the patient's home.

“Their (service) technology-enabled hospital-at-home service brings all the essential elements of in-hospital care to the patients’ home, including excellent clinical care, evidence-based protocols and state-of-the-art vital sign monitoring. Patients are monitored wirelessly, automatically and continuously to enable early identification of significant clinical change or deterioration.

“Thus, in addition to being an alternative to general ward admission, Quro Medical offers patients an opportunity for earlier and safer relocation to the home than would otherwise be possible,” said Dr Nyathi.

Medscheme looks after 3,7-million lives through administering 20 medical schemes including Bonitas, Fedhealth, GEMS, Polmed, Nedgroup, MBMed and 15 others.

Medscheme has set up helplines since lockdown to assist its schemes’ members to get accurate and up-to-date information around COVID-19.

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QUESTION

The intention with lockdown was to delay or flatten the Covid-19 infection curve and give both the private and public healthcare sectors time to prepare for the inevitable onslaught. Did the strategy work?

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