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Hospitals don’t need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to home-based treatments

As one of the pioneers of home-based infusions and now Australia’s leading provider of these treatments, I was interested to read the recent opinion piece from Toby Hall, CEO of one of Australia’s leading providers of public and private hospitals. He argues very convincingly that Australia will need fewer hospitals, and that the healthcare model of the future will be providing much of the care in localised clinics and in the comfort of people’s homes.

For seven years we’ve met with hospital executives in both private and public hospitals to discuss the opportunity to move patient care, like those having chemotherapy, to the home.  Our company View Health – chemo@home is the cornerstone of the Medibank Private’s chemotherapy in the home program.

Our goal has always been to work with the hospital sector to improve the patient experience. To reduce the stress of travelling to hospital and finding a parking spot. To reduce patient anxiety, the risk of infection and fatigue.  To reduce carer burden, carer wage loss and family disruption.

For seven years we’ve heard every excuse under the sun from the hospital sector as to why they don’t think home-based care is a good idea.

So, whilst I welcome the sentiment of Mr Hall’s words, and believe they are sincere, I don’t think they’re representative of the whole private hospital sector and they don’t quite tell the whole story. In fact, we met with two of St Vincent’s Health Australia’s hospital CEOs at a Health Forum to specifically discuss developing chemotherapy in the home services in their hospitals. Yet these discussions did not convert to services beign available for patients.

To be fair, no other hospital has moved forward significantly in this area either.

We have, however, noticed a change in sentiment recently.  Hospital group executives are now saying they are “going to develop” more home-based services.  Just a few weeks ago Shane Kelly, CEO of the St John of God group, declared an expansion into home care.

Yet, despite the obvious change in the market and in consumer demands, still, hospitals do not turn to a trusted, established provider to build partnerships.  A partnership which could leverage expertise and scale, immediately. Instead, with limited budgets and limited human resources, they look at reinventing the wheel.

So is this an issue? Yes!

If every hospital in Australia which currently offers cancer services tries to establish their own home-based chemotherapy service there will be an enormous amount of money wasted, increased staffing requirements and reducing efficiency in an already over-burdened health system.

If we look towards the automotive industry, we can see how they manage a similar service delivery model, mobile breakdown services.  Each car manufacturer does not provide their own breakdown service.  That would be inefficient.  Instead, they work smarter by partnering with a large established mobile service provider who delivers services on their behalf.

So, if any hospital CEO’s are serious, about moving into the home chemotherapy market don’t spend the next few years working out how, partner with us and do it now.

Julie Adams – Managing Director and Founder, View Health – chemo@home