Can Home Be Where the Healthcare Quality Is?

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , November 5, 2009

Having home-based care available presents many advantages to older and vulnerable patients, Boling said. In particular, patients can receive medical assistance in a few hours rather than a few days, and the care is less disruptive to their day-to-day lives," he said. "We're here to help them manage."

"And the quality of service would be better because we would actually know what was going on with them. We'd see all those pill bottles that they have or we would see the reality of their house . . . Do they have to go up stairs? Do they need some additional equipment?" he said.

There are "all sorts of things that you know right away when you go into somebody's house that you don't always know when somebody's in the artificial environment of the clinic," he said.

And the advantages are there for Medicare, too, such as the reduced hospital readmissions or "incident admissions" to hospitals and emergency rooms. "We've intercepted a certain percentage of hospitalizations before they even happen," Boling said.

And what about the likelihood that home-based programs eventually do expand—posing competition to his group practice? He said that would be a "good problem to have—as opposed to being the only game in town. [We would no longer] have a waiting list of people actually dying before they come into the program, which is what happens now."

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Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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