By Tony. J. Onaissi
Back in the early 20th century my grandpa who was a doctor used to ride his horse going from one house to another, to care for his patients. Inspired by my brother who is also a physician we started a Home Infusion Therapy service to care for patients in their homes, offering them a choice over the traditional hospital treatment.
The beginning was difficult because most if not all key players such as health insurers doubted of our ability to care for patients in their homes instead of the regular hospital setting. Even doctors were reluctant to prescribe a home medical treatment, not knowing what the outcome would be with the patient being away from them. Though perseverance and highly professional work, we convinced both Physicians and Health Insurers to respectively refer patients and fully cover our home infusion therapy service, opening the door for an alternative to hospital care. But what are the benefits of home infusion therapy?
Home infusion therapy offers the same quality care of hospitals in addition to the following advantages:
- Substantial savings over a hospital stay since there is no room and board to charge for.
- Avoiding costly and dangerous hospital acquired infections.
- Improving the quality of life of the patients by keeping them at home close to their loved ones.
- Allowing patients to continue their normal lives while getting their home infusion therapy at home or at work, hence avoiding depressions that may follow a hospital admission.
- Providing a much-needed option especially during pandemics since patients and their families fear hospital admissions for obvious reasons.
The tools to succeed:
Success in home infusion therapy relies on many critical factors such as:
- A dedicated staff and caring nurses.
- An on-going training program for nurses.
- A quality control unit to ensure compliance with high standards of care, preferably headed by a nurse.
- Adopting a set of policy and procedures to address all processes from receiving the request for treatment to delivering it.
- Adopting technology to automate the procedures, granting management the necessary tools to optimize the workflow and access to vital information to share within the organization or with key outside players, such as giving Physicians real-time access to the Electronic Health Records (EHR) of their patients to keep them informed of their status, etc.
- Adopting a Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) to let sales people nurture the relationship with referral sources to get referrals while providing management with an insight on all sales activities. The CRM should preferably be one that is designed for the needs of the home infusion industry and not a “generic” CRM, in order to maximize the potential for growth of the agency.
Home infusion therapy is an excellent alternative to hospital treatment and often complements it, because many busy hospitals need to empty valuable beds that are much needed by other critically ill patients. It is very safe and provides substantial savings provided it is run professionally and with care.
Tony J. Onaissi is the founder and CEO of Isoratec, a home care technology company, and of Home Care Lebanon, a home health and home infusion business he founded in 1998. Contact Isoratec about CRM software at https://www.isoratec.com/