Home infusion therapy is one of several care-at-home services now offered by hospitals and health systems. At-home infusion therapy is often provided through clinical affiliations with third-party providers. In some cases, the services are provided directly by the hospital.
Infusion therapy is prescribed when a patient’s condition is severe enough that it cannot be treated effectively by oral medications — or if a patient has difficulty taking medications orally. These infusion drug therapies include pain management, antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal, hydration, and chemotherapy. Medication is administered intravenously (needle) or subcutaneously (needle or catheter).
In addition to drug treatments, some organizations offer home drip vitamin therapies.
In this article, we’ll first look at the benefits of home infusion services for patients. Then we’ll look at the business of home infusion therapy and how operational management software from Salesforce helps infusion therapy service providers.
Patient benefits of home infusion therapy
For patients, working with a home infusion service has several benefits.
As far as Medicare coverage goes, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services states, “home infusion therapy services are covered for the safe and effective administration of certain drugs and biologicals administered intravenously, or subcutaneously.”
The administration period needs to be 15 or more minutes in the home of the person receiving the infusion. The infusion pump and related supplies, including the home infusion drugs, are covered under the durable medical equipment benefit (DME).
Note that a patient does have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
Reduced travel time and expenses
With people accustomed to traveling less and the price of gas at all-time highs, reducing travel time and expenses represent a financial benefit to patients.
Home infusion therapy also eliminates all the coordination needed and waiting around that happens when a patient relies on someone else for a ride.
Less susceptibility to infection
Patients who do not have to travel to a medical facility are not exposed to common hospital-acquired infections and other infectious diseases.
The comfort & movement factors
Hospitals and clinics are inherently less comfortable places for patients to be compared to the lower-stress environment of their own homes.
David Levine of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston told NPR his research indicates that patients treated at home have better outcomes than those treated in medical facilities. According to Levine, part of these better results are simply because patients can move around more at home than they can in a hospital.
At J2, we talk a lot about the digital patient experience. For example, at-home services improve the non-clinical physical patient experience.
The indirect benefit of care-at-home services
An indirect benefit of at-home services is less-crowded healthcare facilities.
According to the NPR segment referenced above, Mayo Clinic has freed up 3,300 hospital bed-days by increasing care-at-home. X-rays, bloodwork, and treatments for non-life-threatening conditions can also be administered in patients’ homes.
The result is that hospital beds have become more available for surgery, cancer, and COVID-19 patients.
The business of home infusion therapy
With the right, properly configured software systems in place, home infusion therapy services providers can be more efficient as businesses and serve patients more effectively.
As the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services puts it, “the home infusion process typically requires coordination among multiple entities, including patients, physicians, hospital discharge planners, health plans, home infusion pharmacies, and, if applicable, home health agencies.”
Pharmacists and nurses are vital people in the delivery of home infusion services.
Salesforce’s core customer relationship management (CRM) functionality is well-suited for managing information about these various entities, which consist of organizations and people.
Salesforce also allows for more efficient communication without outside contacts. Workflows are used to support a variety of business processes.
The referral intake process
An essential part of the home infusion therapy business is managing the intake of an ongoing flow of referred patients.
The intake process involves processing inbound referrals from hospitals, health systems, and physicians. These referrals can come from various channels, including email, phone, text, and even fax.
Salesforce Health Cloud and related Salesforce cloud solutions have been deployed at home infusion companies to increase business, and better serve patients.
Efficient scheduling & service
The logistical part of home infusion therapy requires efficiently allocating mobile skilled resources—such as traveling infusion nurses—across a population of at-home patients. The right supplies and equipment also need to be assigned to traveling caregivers.
Salesforce Field Service, used in several healthcare settings, works well for efficiently assigning infusion nursing services and associated medical supplies to patient homes.
Patient support & education
Another component of home infusion services is customer service and patient education. Contact centers use Salesforce Service Cloud and Salesforce Omni-Channel to support patients and answer questions.
Intelligent routing of inbound requests ensures that clinicians can field clinical assistance.
Account management & business development
As with many companies, home infusion therapy business development teams must manage their existing relationships and establish new relationships with contacts at health systems, hospitals, and clinics.
Salesforce Sales Cloud excels as a tool for managing existing accounts and acquiring new customers.
Home infusion therapy has multiple benefits for both patients and healthcare organizations.
In many cases, the overall quality of at-home treatment exceeds the in-hospital equivalent.
Providers of home infusion therapy services have operational management needs that can be addressed by configuring and implementing Salesforce’s suite of cloud solutions.
J2 helps home infusion therapy providers and other healthcare organizations streamline their business processes.