Advances in patient monitoring, telehealth and data transfer are driving new in-home care options moving health care beyond hospital and clinic walls. In-home care, the ability to provide health care services in the home and non-healthcare facilities, allows for a more patient-centric approach to care, as access is less constrained by the clinician work schedule and space availability. It also eliminates the burden of transportation, a significant hurdle for many with serious medical conditions or transportation limitations.
The technologies that power in-home care capabilities not only enable care outside of traditional venues such as the hospital and clinic, they create much greater efficiencies, offering heightened scalability, decreasing costs and improving access to health care. More broadly, in-home care options democratize health care across patient demographics. I have described this phenomenon as “medicine without walls,” a term meant both literally and figuratively.
My 86-year-old father is a prime example of how in-home care capabilities are elevating health care experiences. For the last five years, he has lived in a senior retirement/assisted living residential unit. Like many seniors, he has a host of chronic medical issues that require care on a frequent basis, but he no longer drives. The single largest variable that defines when he will receive necessary care is not doctor availability or the standard cadence of follow-up visits necessary for his medical problems — whether or not he receives timely health care services depends on when he can arrange a ride to his doctor’s office.
Getting in and out of a vehicle is a significant chore in itself for my dad. Yet, his mind is active, and he still enjoys life, especially spectator sports, conversing with friends and family, and having a nice meal. As a physician, I know firsthand how in-home care provisions, through a combination of virtual care and ancillary testing and monitoring support, greatly reduce common burdens associated with medical care, improving patient health through more timely access.
Going to the doctor’s office is a significant stressor for my father, and the work of traveling to and from the physician’s office for a ten-minute visit, is enough to wear him down for an entire day. In-home care is an obvious solution.
Still, in-home care has a long way to go, as it often requires much more than a telehealth connection. Clinicians frequently need diagnostic tests, patient physical monitoring results, and an exam that requires auscultation and palpation. Sprinter Health is a critical step towards broadening the utility of in-home care and increasing the value and utility of this care delivery option. By providing a mobile phlebotomy service, Sprinter has designed a simple solution to one of the largest barriers to the expansion of virtual care and telemedicine.
Creating the infrastructure to deliver first class in-home care services, and operationalizing those services using sophisticated technology platforms, has positioned Sprinter to be a leader in this space, and in the near future, make it possible to expand its services.
There will always be a need for brick and mortar care facilities, hospitals, and clinics, but in-home care offers crucial system efficiencies and improved care capabilities. A missed health care appointment can result in failure to diagnose a serious health care condition or disease, leading to an ER visit and exorbitant medical costs, an unnecessary hospitalization costing tens of thousands of dollars, or worse, a death that could have been avoided. It is gratifying and an honor to have the opportunity to work with Sprinter Health increasing access to care, improving the lives of patients everywhere, including many like my father.