Radiologist house-call program drops ED visits by 77%, with patient satisfaction scores soaring

A novel house-call program championed by one Indiana interventional radiology practice and several collaborators has helped drop emergency department visits by 77%, with patient satisfaction scores soaring.

Hospital readmissions have also plummeted by 50% among a study population of more than 1,000 seniors, experts detailed during the Society of Interventional Radiology’s virtual meeting on Saturday.

"Older homebound patients, including those in nursing home settings, have few resources available to receive specialty care and often delay care until preventable issues become urgent and acute," lead author Nazar Golewale, MD, an interventional radiologist with Modern Vascular & Vein Center in Valparaiso, said in a statement. "By providing image-guided treatments in a patient's home, we are improving access to care that otherwise would need to be delivered in the hospital."

Golewale and colleagues first launched the year-long study in August 2018. It targeted both homebound and post-hospital geriatric patients located in rural areas that lack access to care. A team that included vascular interventional radiologists, internists, and podiatrists provided primary and specialty care at home through the program.

All told, the team administered 951 clinical visits across hundreds of patients that year. Procedures performed for seniors at home included ultrasound-guided superficial needle biopsy, gastrostomy tube management, and imaging-based joint injections.

Following the program’s first year, patient satisfaction scores swelled from 17% beforehand up to 84%. Plus, it has helped radiologists form tighter bonds with primary care physicians, who have looked to actively looked to recruit specialists to help meet their patients’ needs.

“Our model has shown significant reduction in healthcare cost for patients and payers, and demonstrated decline in hospitalization rates in this cohort,” Golewale and colleagues concluded in the study’s abstract.

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