Reducing the cost of care while enhancing its quality and experience are essential components to success in value-based care. Because emergency department (ED) and hospital settings represent high-cost environments, the authors sought to reduce their unnecessary use by deploying a novel care delivery service that offers mobile, on-demand care for high-acuity conditions in patient homes. This study is a retrospective quality improvement evaluation of the initial year of the mobile acute care model in a health system with a substantial penetration of value-based care. Although all patients were eligible for mobile services as clinically indicated, those in accountable care organizations were prioritized by the care management teams. A variety of operational, clinical, and financial metrics were assessed to determine the program's performance and value. There were 3436 patient encounters during the study period, a utilization rate of 71% that trended upward throughout the year. Of these visits, 44% involved patients in value-based payment models; 80% of these represented patients in Medicare risk agreements. Throughout the year, progressively improving operational and clinical performance were observed, as were consistently high patient satisfaction scores. An estimated 63.8% of total mobile visits resulted in ED avoidance; 21.6% were emergency medical transport avoidant; 14.1% led to avoided hospital observation or inpatient stays. Patients were highly satisfied with the service. In-home mobile care for high-acuity illness can prevent unnecessary ED and hospital use for some patients and is associated with high patient satisfaction. Acute mobile care is a useful component of a value-based care strategy.
Keywords: emergency department utilization; mobile care; value.