Atrium, Best Buy partner to co-develop hospital-at-home programming

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Hospital-at-home programs allow patients to receive acute-level care in the home and can shave down costs while expanding medical access. However, widespread adoption of hospital-at-home models has historically been curtailed by physician uncertainty and patchwork reimbursement policies.

Atrium launched its hospital-at-home program during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, in a bid to address a surge in patient volumes at its facilities. Since then, the program has grown to address several conditions, including cardiac needs, COPD, pneumonia and various infections and post-operative care, according to the operator, which finalized its merger with fellow nonprofit Advocate Aurora late last year.

Atrium says it has one of the largest hospital-at-home programs in the country, caring for roughly 200 patients a month. According to Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation and commercialization officer at Advocate, the program has served more than 6,300 patients and freed 25,000 hospital bed days since it launched in March 2020.

Partnering with Best Buy will help Atrium take on more capacity and grow its hospital-at-home program, according to Shrestha.

“We anticipate the partnership will combine Atrium Health operational and clinical expertise with Best Buy Health’s technical and logistical expertise to allow us to scale the program to 100 patients at a time and beyond within our market,” Shrestha said. “When you put that into context, this would be the equivalent of having an additional mid-sized hospital and have a real impact on capacity in our bricks-and-mortar facilities.”

Shrestha said Atrium’s hospital-at-home program has “the same or better” clinical outcomes compared to its hospitals, with higher patient satisfaction scores.

As for Best Buy, the retailer said the partnership illustrates its commitment to the healthcare industry.

Best Buy has been building out its healthcare offerings, including its acquisition of Current Health in 2021. For now, Current supports hospital-at-home programs in the U.S. and United Kingdom. The company had its “best commercial booking year ever” in 2022, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said on the retailer’s latest earnings call.

Current says it works with five of the top 10 largest health systems in the U.S., but the partnership with Atrium should also help fuel its momentum, according to Chris McGhee, Current Health CEO.

“We’re just kicking off this partnership and will know more as we continue the development of this program, but our intent is to expand these capabilities nationally,” McGhee said.