2. Look beyond cost
Both office-based infusion centers and home infusion offer advantages over traditional hospital-based care in addition to lower cost:
- Office-based infusion centers
Office-based infusion centers are generally more accessible geographically than hospitals. Hospitals can also have longer wait times for an appointment, and the infusion process can take longer than at a dedicated infusion center.5
While a hospital patient may have a different nurse for each infusion treatment, infusion centers tend to have a smaller, more focused staff which may mean more personalized care. Office-based patients report that they can develop deeper relationships with their infusion center staff.6
Hospitals are busy places with lots of staff and many patients, and in fact approximately 3% of people acquire an infection while receiving infusion treatment in a hospital setting.7
Especially in the age of COVID-19, hospitals are an uncomfortable fit for infusion patients who often are diagnosed with autoimmune disorders that make them more susceptible to infections.6
Home infusion is one possible solution for immunocompromised patients.
Research shows that a home setting for infusion services can help prevent infections. For example, one study showed that patients who received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments at home had lower rates of pneumonia and bronchitis than those treated in a hospital outpatient infusion center.8
And, while office-based infusion sites are more convenient than going to the hospital, home infusion completely eliminates the need to travel to a care site. As noted, in the COVID-19 environment, receiving infusions in the home helps ease people’s fear due to the safety precautions we have in place and the fact that they don’t have to go out in the public for their treatment.
In fact, many patients prefer home infusion in general, reporting higher levels of physical and mental wellbeing, as well as less disruption of family and personal responsibilities.9
3. Plan sponsors often have options
A recent survey found distinct differences in how successfully employer plans control pharmacy benefit costs, including the use of infused medications. Nearly 40% of the employers ranked as “best performers” use a strategy called Site of Care Optimization. This simply means that plans are changing their coverage seek the most cost-effective places to deliver care. For example, steering infusion care away from higher-cost locations, like hospitals, and toward lower-cost setting, such as a doctor's office or the patient’s home, if practical.10
4. Consider the Optum Specialty Guidance Program