The Pros and Cons of Home Infusion Therapy and the Changing Economic Landscape

Ben H.

Ben H.

Aug 03, 20233 min read

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The Pros and Cons of Home Infusion Therapy and the Changing Economic Landscape

Introduction:

The rise in home infusion therapy has sparked discussions on safety and cost implications. While it offers convenience and potential cost savings, concerns have been raised regarding reimbursement gaps and the exclusion of home infusions from quality reporting. However, research suggests that in-home therapy can lead to better treatment compliance, reduced risk of infection, and improved monitoring. Additionally, the changing economic landscape and evolving definition of providers present opportunities for disruptor companies to enter the market. This article explores the various aspects of home infusion therapy and its intersection with the shifting economic landscape.

The Growth of Home Infusion Therapy:

Patient demand, specialty drug availability, and workforce shortages have contributed to the increasing popularity of home infusion therapy. By administering prescription drugs intravenously in a home setting, health systems and specialty companies can bypass overhead fees and allocate clinical space for more acute cases. This has resulted in approximately 3.2 million patients receiving home and specialty infusion therapy annually.

Cost and Safety Considerations:

While home infusion therapy offers potential cost savings, reimbursement gaps pose challenges for providers. Medicare per-diem rates, for instance, may not adequately cover the rising costs of drugs and equipment. The bundled payment structure often fails to account for delivery costs, cleanroom facility overhead, and increased wages. This has put a strain on the home infusion industry, requiring careful consideration of cost management strategies.

Safety concerns surrounding home infusion therapy have also been raised. Currently, data from home infusions is not included in quality reporting by organizations such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Leapfrog Group. However, a qualitative study conducted by the CMS on intravenous immune globulin therapy highlighted benefits such as better treatment compliance, reduced missed doses, lower infection risk, and improved infusion monitoring.

The Potential for Expansion:

Experts suggest that home infusion therapy could expand beyond chronic disease treatments and enter the realm of post-acute care services. Insurers, consulting agencies, and tech companies are eyeing this market as an attractive opportunity. However, success in this space requires a comprehensive understanding of the industry, including regulatory concerns, patient self-administration safety, and proper drug storage during transit.

The Changing Economic Landscape:

In the midst of discussions on home infusion therapy, economists have revised their recession expectations. Factors such as easing inflation, a strong labor market, and economic resilience have led to a decrease in the probability of a recession in the next 12 months. This shift in economic outlook has implications for the healthcare industry, including the home infusion sector.

Actionable Advice:

1. Providers and industry stakeholders should advocate for reimbursement reforms that accurately reflect the rising costs associated with home infusion therapy. This could involve lobbying for separate reimbursement rates for drugs and equipment, as well as an adjustment for delivery costs and cleanroom facility overhead.

2. Research and data collection on the safety and efficacy of home infusion therapy should be prioritized. This will help address concerns about quality reporting and provide evidence to support its benefits. Collaboration between industry organizations, research institutions, and regulatory bodies can facilitate this process.

3. Disruptor companies looking to enter the home infusion market should invest in a thorough understanding of the industry, including regulations, patient safety protocols, and the evolving definition of providers. Building partnerships with established healthcare organizations can help navigate the complexities of this sector.

Conclusion:

As home infusion therapy continues to gain traction, questions surrounding its safety and cost implications persist. However, research suggests that in-home therapy can offer several benefits, and the changing economic landscape presents opportunities for disruptor companies. By addressing reimbursement gaps, prioritizing safety and efficacy research, and staying informed about industry developments, stakeholders can navigate the challenges and seize the potential of home infusion therapy in the evolving healthcare landscape.

Resource:

  1. "Rise in home infusion therapy leads to questions on safety, cost", https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/home-infusion-therapy-safe-costs (Glasp)
  2. "Economists Are Cutting Back Their Recession Expectations", https://www.wsj.com/articles/economists-are-cutting-back-their-recession-expectations-74118938?mod=hp_lead_pos1 (Glasp)

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