In the past few years, home infusion has become a high priority topic for health system pharmacy executives in the face health plan of site-of-care restrictions. In fact, Advisory Board’s Infusion Site-of-Care Survey found that 76% of responding health systems are establishing or expanding their home infusion capacity. Pharmacy executives see home infusion as an option that helps maintain continuity of care for patients and mitigate infusion revenue gaps.
Advisory Board recently convened a group of 18 senior health system pharmacy executives for an interactive workshop to discuss their home infusion strategy. Here are six key takeaways from that conversation.
- Expanding home infusion helps health systems compete in an increasingly patient-focused health care marketplace. Strong patient engagement can help retain patients in the face of competition. To compete, it’s essential for programs to measure patient satisfaction metrics, such as net promoter scores.
- Home infusion programs won’t succeed if they don’t get the nursing support right. Nursing quality drives patient experience with home infusion, so it is critical to have a plan for maintaining high-quality nursing support either through training and employing nurses within the home infusion program or providing training to contracted nurses. Nursing support is also the biggest barrier to home infusion growth.
- Community-based infusion suites can help balance patient convenience and resource flexibility. Community-based infusion suites support more convenient patient access, while also allowing home infusion nurses to supervise 4-8 times more patients per day. They’re also a good options for patients who want the convenience of home infusion services, but not necessarily a nurse in their homes. Some patients are also interested in workplace infusions.
- Smooth coordination within the health system keeps patients from falling through the cracks. Centralizing infusion intake across both home infusion and hospital-based infusion sites can help optimize site-of-care decisions, ensure seamless and timely patient care, and reduce payment denials. Home infusion also should collaborate with hospital care management teams to reduce length of stay for patients needing infusion therapy.
- Covid has created new opportunities for expanding home infusion services. The Covid-19 pandemic enhanced public acceptance of home care and home infusion. At the same time, health systems are reevaluating their community services footprint, and some clinic spaces are vacant. Now may be a good time to propose building pharmacy infrastructure needs such as community-based infusion suites or a compounding pharmacy hub.
- Organizations must prepare for trends toward patient-administered injections. Pharmacy leaders noted that any home infusion business plans need to account for an increasing portion of injections shifting to subcutaneous self-administered delivery devices. Some infusion programs are already addressing this head-on by training patients to administer their own injections and even remotely supervising injections for established patients.
If you’re interested in learning more about the changing infusion care landscape, check out our archived expert panel discussion about why and how infusion care is changing as well as our library of resources for health systems navigating increasing infusion site of care requirements.