Challenges remain for hospital-to-home healthcare

10 May 2023 4 min. read
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As the UK’s health service continues to face challenges in recruiting and retaining the healthcare workers hospitals need, some advisors are touting the benefits of shifting care from hospitals to homes. A new report from PA Consulting suggests that hospital-to-home solutions could become a $390 billion market in the coming seven years, but only if clinicians, MedTech and pharmaceutical players find more effective ways to collaborate.

The NHS is coming under increasing strain, thanks to a perfect storm of factors. More than a decade of under-funding has left infrastructure crumbling, and retention rates falling, while Brexit has put a major block on recruiting healthcare specialists from mainland Europe. At the same time, the lingering pressures of Covid-19, and the country’s ageing population mean that the number of delayed discharges is rapidly increasing.

According to a global survey of 550 leaders across public and private healthcare, the increasing burden of disease and chronic conditions, compounded by an aging population, have escalated costs and impacted health outcomes. Looking to counter this, the researchers from PA Consulting found that of 76% of global MedTech and pharmaceutical leaders were prioritising the development of products and services that shift site of care.

Challenges remain for hospital-to-home healthcare

At the same time, 72% of healthcare leaders see the opportunity and is prioritising at-home solutions. This includes diagnostics, monitoring, and advanced drug delivery systems – to provide patients with quality care while protecting capacity. Meanwhile, 71% of global healthcare leaders said their organisation already had a strategy for migration from hospital to home but believe health and care professionals doubt that treatments delivered at home are as safe as those delivered in traditional settings.

Hilary Thomas, a health and life sciences expert at PA, said, “Market leaders across the worldwide healthcare, MedTech, and pharma landscape are pushing the boundaries of possibility, using breakthrough technologies, science, and data to redesign care pathways that unlock new opportunities. At the heart of this opportunity is shifting the site of care to the most appropriate, most economic location.”

Indeed, if hospital-to-home solutions are adopted thoroughly by the end of the decade, it could provide room for hospitals to both save money, and the global economy to benefit. To that end, PA expects that the global market for hospital-to-home solutions will increase by $70 billion to $390.4 billion by 2030.

Hurdles to homecare

Despite these apparent benefits, however, some major barriers stand in the way. First and foremost, many MedTech and pharmaceutical players lack the knowledge needed to cooperate with healthcare providers, and facilitate a shift to home-based services. A 65% majority of healthcare leaders suggested a simple “lack of understanding of healthcare systems and pathways” among those potential partners was slowing adoption in the next five years.

At the same time, some stakeholders in hospitals are sceptical of shifting to hospital-to-home. A 28% minority of healthcare leaders told PA that physicians were “motivated to transition from hospital”, despite the purported positive medical outcomes. Even as the practice becomes more common, in five years’ time – when it is expected that hospital at home will be mainstream – this number only rises to 40%. This suggests that pharmaceutical and MedTech players will need to work more closely with healthcare providers, to waylay concerns they have about the shift – if they are to make the most of it in years to come.

For example, some healthcare professionals may be worried about environmental hazards which pose greater risks to patients at home than in hospitals – such as infection control, sanitation, and physical layout. There may also be challenges with caregiver communications and handoffs or a lack of education and training for patients and family caregivers, while imbalances in patient autonomy and risk may also make it more difficult to supply continuous health monitoring.

Amanda Grantham, healthcare expert at PA, added, “As hospital to home solutions become more economically viable, match and exceed the efficacy of treatments delivered in hospitals, and improve the experience of patients and professionals, the dynamics of healthcare will change. By co-developing solutions, ecosystem stakeholders can open up market opportunities and create a win-win model that delivers value for all.”