Less time in the hospital and more time at home
John Jolly and his wife, Letty, sit side by side in matching wicker chairs under the protection of their covered deck, surrounded by lush potted plants and an expansive marsh view. Just days before, the 72-year-old cancer survivor lay in a hospital bed, connected to an IV. Thanks to a new program at Mayo Clinic, he was able to shorten his stay and recover from home.
Mr. Jolly — known to his friends as John — is a U.S. Navy veteran and former certified public accountant. He has been a Mayo Clinic patient since the early 1990s. In 2018, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and his bladder was surgically removed the next year. The cancer treatments took a toll on his body, and he experiences recurrent kidney issues.
Needing Advanced Care
Nearly one year postsurgery, John is focused on his health and pushes himself to get stronger with 10,000 steps per day. Despite his commitment, he’s found himself in the hospital twice and the Emergency Department three times in the past year. When he started to feel ill on the Fourth of July, he prepared himself for another taxing visit. What he hadn’t planned on was an intriguing proposal to head home early.
“My creatine was too high, and we needed to bring it back down,” says John. “I felt bad so I went to the ER. They did tests and kept me for a couple of days. I received an infusion (IV) to try to flush the system. I’d been in the hospital Saturday and Sunday and Dr. Maniaci came in on Monday. He said, ‘How would you like to go home?’” I said, “Tell me what I need to do.”
Michael Maniaci, M.D., an internist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, is the physician lead for Mayo’s Advanced Care at Home (ACH) program, a component of the Mayo Clinic Platform. Dr. Maniaci recognized John as a qualified candidate to be the first-ever Mayo Clinic ACH patient.
“Advanced Care at Home is taking what we do in the inpatient setting and transforming that and bringing the care to the patient in their home,” explains Dr. Maniaci. “We’re able to transport the patient out of the hospital setting and into their home environment. We meet them with advanced practice providers and a tech pack.”
A high-tech solution
The tech pack includes secure, HIPAA compliant Wi-Fi; blood pressure monitors; any needed medical supplies; and a tablet that provides 24/7 virtual connection to Mayo Clinic experts. Patients also receive a schedule so they know what to expect and when. Everything is set up, connected and tested, and the patient receives a physical exam to ensure the transfer was safe and successful.
Letty, who has been by John’s side every step of the way, says that not having to travel to the hospital one more time during the pandemic and knowing they can reach a Mayo Clinic expert with the push of a button gives them both peace of mind.
“It’s a wonderful program and gives me freedom,” says John. “I can do my walks and go outside and do work in my garden.”
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The best care right at home, Mayo Clinic Platform
Mayo Clinic has a vision for the future in which health care cures more people, reaches more lives, and is available anytime, anywhere. Through the Mayo Clinic Platform, we are leading a revolution in health care and bringing the best of Mayo Clinic to the world.
Advanced Care at Home (ACH) is one of the first virtual care options Mayo Clinic is developing. ACH is a new care model that delivers innovative, comprehensive and complex care to patients — all in the comfort of home. Patients with conditions previously managed in a hospital will have the option to transition to a home setting and receive compassionate, high-quality virtual and in-person care and recovery services.
Mayo Clinic selected Medically Home, a Boston-based technology-enabled services company, as its implementation partner for this program. Medically Home empowers medical providers to shift advanced medical care to patients' homes safely. It offers an integrated technology platform and network of in-home services that allow care directed by Mayo Clinic physicians and providers.
Though ACH was in the planning stages before COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated the need to expand virtual care options for patients. The program is currently focused in Jacksonville, Florida, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but plans include scaling the program to reach people all over the world.
A Program for Patients
Mayo Clinic’s Advanced Care at Home program is reimagining health care for patients like John. Implementation began in 2020 with the program’s launch in Jacksonville, Florida, followed by Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
“We have the resources now to treat our patients better, to give them equal if not better care, to provide better satisfaction in their home environment, and to reduce cost to our patients and ourselves,” says Dr. Maniaci. “It’s the next evolution of medicine. We must shift our focus from building hospitals to building high-quality supply chains. Patients receiving hospital-level services in the comfort of their own home is the future of medicine, and we should be part of that.”
While the program is still in early stages, experts are working to expand the Advanced Care at Home model to every corner of the globe — making high-quality Mayo Clinic care more convenient, accessible, affordable and equitable than ever before. For people like John, that means less time in a hospital bed and more time sitting next to his wife, enjoying the Florida sunshine. “It’s just so much better to be home.”
The Mayo Clinic Platform is a coordinated portfolio of initiatives that allows Mayo Clinic to expand beyond our walls, multiply what we can do on our own, and innovate in new ways to touch the lives of millions of people.