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Wednesday, June 03, 2020 - Roper St. Francis Healthcare receives $1.2 million grant for Hospital at Home innovation

Roper St. Francis Healthcare has earned a $1.2 million grant award from The Duke Endowment to fund a Hospital at Home project that leverages home health, virtual health and remote patient monitoring to provide hospital-level care in patients’ homes.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare will be the first in the Lowcountry and the state to launch a start-up Hospital at Home program. Using home health services and a specially trained mobile acute care team, Hospital at Home will provide sick patients with short-term, hospital-like care in their homes.

“Roper St. Francis is optimally positioned to develop a Hospital at Home program to meet the growing demand of Lowcountry residents for virtual and home-based care,” said Troy Powell, vice president of continuing care. “As a long-time leader in providing home health services to the tri-county and an early adopter of remote patient monitoring, we believe that The Duke Endowment’s grant will allow us to transform and elevate the standard of care.”

Eligible patients for the Hospital at Home program will include those with certain chronic conditions, specifically congestive heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cellulitis. If those patients come to a RSFH Emergency Department, they could be routed to a home-based acute care service.

The goal is to reduce readmissions and costs while increasing patients’ satisfaction and outcomes. The Hospital at Home model is being recognized coast-to-coast by leading physicians as having huge potential for addressing the need for safe, easily scalable hospital-level care during this pandemic.

“In these times of tremendous growth and change, we are grateful for the Endowment’s investment in the excellent and compassionate care Roper St. Francis continues to provide to the Lowcountry,” said Dr. Chris McLain, chief physician officer. “This funding will help us demonstrate a Hospital at Home model that can improve the quality of care our patients receive while reducing the costs of care to our health system.”

The Hospital at Home care delivery model will use emerging technology so that vital patient information will be monitored by a clinical team and virtual physician visits will be utilized to monitor the patient’s progress. These services, coupled with home-based nursing and allied health care, will enable the clinical team to treat patients while they remain at home.

The Roper St. Francis project will incorporate best practices from evidence-based models to demonstrate effectiveness and cost efficiencies while providing safe, quality care. The program expects to launch in July and serve more than 500 patients during the next three years. Much of the grant funding will go to staffing and creating a multidisciplinary team to establish eligibility criteria as well as treatment protocols.

Roper St. Francis has a strong history of support from The Duke Endowment. Funded initiatives such as AccessHealth Tri-county Network, Highway to Hope and the Serious Illness Care Program continue to improve community wellness and well-being and strengthen the quality and accessibility of health care.

“The hospital at home program will allow providers to care for individuals in the most appropriate setting.  It’s exciting to see how new technologies and innovative approaches are now enabling us to provide resources in the home that were previously only available in acute care facilities,” said Lin B. Hollowell, director of health care at The Duke Endowment. “We believe that this program may serve as a model that will advance our understanding of how we can improve clinical outcomes, reduce costs and increase patient satisfaction.”

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

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