A-ICU: A good telemedicine market?

US Ambulatory Intensive Caring Units (A-ICU) essentially brings the intensive care unit (ICU) out of the hospital and into a patient’s home by using dedicated care teams to deliver customized care, installing remote monitoring devices, performing in-home check-ups, and supplying other services as needed.

In a 2009 article for Health Affairs, Arnold Milstein, professor of medicine, and colleague Elizabeth Gilbertson held up four examples of “medical home runs” that improved patient outcomes while achieving 15 to 20 percent cost reduction compared to neighbouring peers. Each of the four programs focused on providing meaningful, preventive primary care for their sickest patients.

“Severely chronically ill patients are typically at high risk for costly ER visits and unplanned hospitalization” states dr. Arnold Milstein. To fight against these high and unexpected costs, in these programs, an A-ICU team conducted home inspections and interviews to map all threats in patients’ everyday lives. I think these programs excelled in the high level of individualized care. The provider team is free to be creative in response to the needs of plan members, who are seen as partners in managing their own care. This means though that sometimes care for a patient isn’t even medical, like support in medication adherence, it will be implemented in their daily routine because, well: the patient needed it. Where do we run into trouble: the insurance. Insurance companies need also to be flexible enough to accommodate innovative, preventive services that may include non-medical ones.

So will A-ICU be a good telemedicine market? No, I think it will be an excellent market to cut costs and improve patient outcomes.

Author: Indy Kavelaars @ Vitaphone Netherlands

Source: The Atlantic

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