Budget impact analysis of providing hospital inpatient care at home virtually, starting with two specific surgical patient groups.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the budget impact of virtual care.

METHODS

We conducted a budget impact analysis of virtual care from the perspective of a large teaching hospital in the Netherlands. Virtual care included remote monitoring of vital signs and three daily remote contacts. Net budget impact over 5 years and net costs per patient per day (costs/patient/day) were calculated for different scenarios: implementation in one ward, in two different wards, in the entire hospital, and in multiple hospitals. Sensitivity analyses included best-case and worst-case scenarios, and reducing the frequency of daily remote contacts.

RESULTS

Net budget impact over 5 years was €2 090 000 for implementation in one ward, €410 000 for two wards and €-6 206 000 for the entire hospital. Costs/patient/day in the first year were €303 for implementation in one ward, €94 for two wards and €11 for the entire hospital, decreasing in subsequent years to a mean of €259 (SD=€72), €17 (SD=€10) and €-55 (SD=€44), respectively. Projecting implementation in every Dutch hospital resulted in a net budget impact over 5 years of €-445 698 500. For this scenario, costs/patient/day decreased to €-37 in the first year, and to €54 in subsequent years in the base case.

CONCLUSIONS

With present cost levels, virtual care only saves money if it is deployed at sufficient scale or if it can be designed such that the active involvement of health professionals is minimised. Taking a greenfield approach, involving larger numbers of hospitals, further decreases costs compared with implementing virtual care in one hospital alone.

More about this publication

BMJ open
  • Volume 12
  • Issue nr. 8
  • Pages e051833
  • Publication date 01-08-2022

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