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Survey Shows Public Support for Hospital at Home Programs

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   July 02, 2024

The poll of 1,000 U.S. adults finds strong support among those who have used the program, with more than 80% saying they’d use it again.

One of the more popular arguments for launching a hospital at home program is that patients prefer to be treated from the comfort of their own home rather than stay in a hospital. A new survey proves that point.

According to a survey of some 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 40 and older, more than 80% of respondents who have taken part in such a program have had a positive experience, and 84% said they’d participate in the program again to get home sooner.

By contrast, less than 2% reported a negative or very negative experience, and about 16% said they were not likely to try the program again.

The survey, sponsored by digital health company Vivalink, adds fuel to efforts to make Medicare guidelines and reimbursements for the program permanent, and to compel more providers and payers to support the program. Well over 300 health systems and hospitals across the country are receiving Medicare reimbursements under the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) model developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), but CMS is on track to end that program after this year.

CMS support—especially the reimbursements—is crucial to the growth of the strategy. Many healthcare organizations launched AHCaH programs during the pandemic, when CMS unveiled the program to address overcrowded hospitals and inpatient staffing shortages. Without that support, many health systems and hospitals will likely shut down those programs to reduce costs and focus on more business-friendly services.

[Also read: House Committee Vote Gives Hope to Extending Telehealth, Hospital at Home Waivers.]

Proponents argue that hospital at home programs, also called acute care at home programs, can reduce costs by cutting down on expensive hospital-based services, and they will show improved clinical outcomes over the long run. That argument is based in part on the idea that patients are more comfortable at home and will be more likely to follow doctor’s orders and care plans. A more engaged patient, in turn, will heal better and more quickly.

The survey finds that patients are indeed interested in staying in their own beds rather than a hospital room. For example. some 77% of those surveyed said they’d trust their doctor’s recommendation to take part in such a program. And the top reasons they’re willing to do so are the convenience and comfort of home (46%), avoiding exposure to infections in the hospital (23%), and confidence in remote patient monitoring (18%).

[Also read: Understanding the Value of the Home as a Healthcare Site.]

The reasons for taking part in a hospital at home program are surprisingly varied, and point to the potential for these programs to treat more patients. Some 30% were treated at home for infectious diseases or respiratory disorders—the reason CMS launched the program in the first place. Roughly 46%, meanwhile, were treated for heart-related conditions, and almost 38% were involved in cancer treatment or recovery.

In addition, almost 38% of respondents taking part in a hospital at home program were being treated for neurological disorders, and 34% were being treated for diabetes.

Finally, just under half of the respondents who had taken part in a hospital at home program said the RPM devices were easy to use, while the roughly 16% who said they wouldn’t use the program again cited difficult with the RPM devices as their biggest problem.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation at HealthLeaders.


Hundreds of health systems and hospitals have launched hospital at home programs since the pandemic to reduce stress on inpatient resources and give patients an opportunity to stay at home rather than in a hospital room.

Many programs rely on CMS guidelines and reimbursements, but those waivers are due to expire at the end of this year.

A new survey finds that many patients who have taken part in these programs were satisfied with the treatment and would do it again.

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