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Impact of Home Health Care on Health Care Resource Utilization Following Hospital Discharge: A Cohort Study

Published:November 24, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.11.010

      Abstract

      Background

      As healthcare costs rise, home health care represents an opportunity to reduce preventable adverse events and costs following hospital discharge. No studies have investigated the utility of home health care within the context of a large and diverse patient population.

      Methods

      A retrospective cohort study was conducted between 1/1/2013 and 6/30/2015 at a single tertiary care institution to assess healthcare utilization after discharge with home health care. Control patients discharged with “self-care” were matched by propensity score to home health care patients. The primary outcome was total healthcare costs in the 365-day post-discharge period. Secondary outcomes included follow-up readmission and death. Multivariable linear and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to adjust for covariates.

      Results

      Among 64,541 total patients, 11,266 controls were matched to 6,363 home health care patients across 11 disease-based Institutes. During the 365-day post-discharge period, home health care was associated with a mean unadjusted savings of $15,233 per patient, or $6,433 after adjusting for covariates (p < 0.0001). Home health care independently decreased the hazard of follow-up readmission (HR 0.82, p < 0.0001) and death (HR 0.80, p < 0.0001). Subgroup analyses revealed that home health care most benefited patients discharged from the Digestive Disease (death HR 0.72, p < 0.01), Heart & Vascular (adjusted savings of $11,453, p < 0.0001), Medicine (readmission HR 0.71, p < 0.0001), and Neurological (readmission HR 0.67, p < 0.0001) Institutes.

      Conclusions

      Discharge with home health care was associated with significant reduction in healthcare utilization and decreased hazard of readmission and death. These data inform development of value-based care plans.

      Keywords

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