Connie Sullivan, president and CEO of the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA), discusses why at-home infusion is beneficial to patients and why so many patients reported feeling satisfied with home administration.
We generally don't hear patients report that they don't feel like they're getting the same level of care with home infusion, says Connie Sullivan, president and CEO, National Home Infusion Association (NHIA).
Which infused specialty medications are currently cleared to be administered at home, and are there certain criteria for at-home administration to be considered safe?
A drug doesn't have to be specifically approved for home administration. Certainly, some drugs have additional requirements around needing a health care provider to administer that product or that there needs to be the capability to respond to an emergent situation, wherever that patient is receiving their drugs. We base the qualification moreso on that patient's home environment: What kind of support system do they have? What therapy are they receiving?
So, it really comes down to a decision between the prescriber, the patient and the home infusion provider, to assess the patient, to assess the therapy, and understand what is going to be needed to make that patient safe at home if they choose to have their drug administered there. There are very few drugs that we won't administer in the home. So, it's really not an approval process, if you will. Siteof-care decisions are really clinical decisions based on patients' needs.
How does home administration of infused specialty medications improve patient adherence and outcomes compared with traditional sites of care like hospitals and clinics?
If you go back and look at some of the data from studies that have been done—actually, CMS maybe just helped us with publishing one of the more compelling studies around patients who received IVIG [intravenous immunoglobulin therapy] in the home vs those who received it in an office setting. They saw that the patients who are at home had higher rates of adherence and received 2 more doses on average per year than patients who had to travel to an office setting. They also reported better health outcomes, fewer infections, fewer visits to the doctor for infections, and things like that.
So, in addition to some of the other things, just having more control over your disease, feeling empowered, having better sleep better, less anxiety, and less depression, we're actually seeing this translate into improved outcomes in terms of lowering overall health care costs.
How can providers ensure their patients are receiving the same level of care and monitoring at home as they would in a traditional clinical setting?
If you actually look at that same CMS study that looks at IVIG patients, the patients actually at home reported that they thought they were getting better care, because the nurse is really there 1-on-1 with that one patient vs in other settings, most of the time nurses are taking care of multiple patients at once.
At NHIA, we also have a standardized patient satisfaction survey tool, and the satisfaction rates for home infusion generally are extremely high; almost 98% of patients say they either strongly or agreed with the statement that they were satisfied with the overall care they received.
We don't generally hear that patients aren't satisfied or don't feel like they're receiving the same level of care.