Ramsay grows home hospital care through innovative models
August 08, 2022
Ramsay Health Care is leading the development of virtual health solutions in Australia’s private health sector, ensuring quality in-home care and achieving excellent clinical and patient-reported outcomes.
In the last year, Ramsay Health Care’s home hospital service – Ramsay Connect - has reduced bed days by over 30,000 being the equivalent of a 104-bed virtual hospital and delivered $16m in savings to health insurers.
Ramsay’s home hospital service, Ramsay Connect, established in 2020 as a joint venture with Remedy Healthcare, is spearheading the shift to mainstreaming home-based modalities of care across the country.
Ramsay Health Care CEO, Carmel Monaghan, said the ability of Ramsay Connect to facilitate hospital care and rehabilitation at home services was assisting 3000 patients annually and this number was expected to more than double over the next 12 months.
“More funders – both government and health funds - are recognising the benefits of providing care in the home to support people with both acute and chronic conditions,” Ms Monaghan said.
“Our hospital-in-the-home service continues to expand to support more complex patients with the help of remote monitoring technology and expert clinical teams.”
Ramsay Connect has also invested in developing a specialist nurse-led virtual care service, which strengthens the integration of hospital and community/primary care for patients.
“The service is designed to rapidly identify deterioration and respond accordingly to prevent hospitalisations for patients with complex conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes. It improves accessibility and equity of access for patients through provision of technology and access to virtual care teams via videoconference, chat and education platforms.
“We are really pleased with the progression of this nurse-led virtual care program and we have some excellent early results in avoiding hospitalisations and improving a person’s quality of life,” Ms Monaghan said.
The service uses remote monitoring technology, patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to make data informed decisions for the entire clinical team.
“Our Ramsay Connect Specialist Nurses works with doctors, allied health staff and clinical leaders across multiple settings to help patient’s access the care they require outside hospital, where it is safe and effective to do so.”
“We are working in collaboration with funding partners to address some of the barriers they alone cannot overcome, to ultimately ensure we improve accessibility to the right care, in an integrated manner for an overall benefit to both the patient/customer and the healthcare sector. Pleasingly, this includes private insurers, public health districts and primary health networks. It’s an excellent example of the healthcare sector working together to address some of our collective challenges.”
Ms Monaghan said while it was good to see private health insurers, government and providers starting to look at these future outcomes-based funding mechanism for hospital in the home models, there were some gaps in equity of access for consumers.
“Some health funds are not funding these services because they operate their own services. While we support other services, we think health funds should offer patients choice and not lock their member in to services they own. The service offered by a health fund may not be in the best interest of patients who can be better managed across a continuum of care from hospital to home.”
In addition to hospital in the home, Ramsay has 60 community pharmacies and continues to expand.
“These pharmacies are linked to our network of hospitals and we have discharge medications for patients and can make available medical aids,” Ms Monaghan said.
“Given the high rates of medicine misadventure and the increased risk of falls after surgery, these pharmacies are providing important services to patients in prevention.”
Ramsay also has more than two dozen Ramsay Health Plus clinics for outpatients who require physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, dietitians and other allied health workers, including some in community settings.
Ramsay’s strategies to deliver health care in community/home settings are patient centric and give control of medical decision making to doctors and clinicians.