In-Office Infusion Centers vs. Hospital Infusion Centers
More recently than in the past, patients with chronic autoimmune diseases have biologic treatment options that offer more benefits with fewer adverse effects.
The problem, however, is making these biologic medications accessible to patients. Some biologic medications cannot be self-administered as it is infused intravenously. Instead, they require trained medical professionals with specialized equipment to assist them, leaving limited options for patients to choose where to receive the treatment they need.
In-Office Infusion Centers and Hospital Infusion Centers.
Today, we will compare the differences between In-Office Infusion Centers and Hospital Infusion Centers to showcase some of the advantages of In-Office Infusion Centers.
Hospital Infusion Centers
When biologics first came to market, physicians often had to refer their patients to hospital outpatient facilities. These facilities were the only sites with the necessary equipment and staff to administer the medications to their patients.
However, patients typically consider hospital infusion centers as an inconvenient and less cost-effective solution. Hospital infusion centers may have started as a lifeline for patients needing biologic treatments for their chronic illness; however, over time, the flaws of this delivery channel are apparent.
Issues for Patients
Most hospital infusion centers do not offer a dedicated non-oncology service. Instead, these locations serve the hospital’s oncology and short stay needs as well as chronic illnesses such as psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Cron’s disease, lupus, and asthma.
Because the hospital infusion centers are not specialized, it can create an intimidating or uncomfortable environment for patients.
Additionally, not all hospitals have an outpatient infusion center. In some cases, this means patients must drive great distances to receive their treatments. The cost of travel and time spent going to and from the treatment center are significant deterrents for patients.
Lastly, one of the most significant issues with hospital infusion centers is cost. Treatment in a hospital outpatient infusion center typically costs twice as much as the same treatment offered at an in-office infusion center.
Issues for Physicians
The responsibility a private practice physician has to their patient doesn’t end when the patient leaves their office.
Specialty practices that don’t offer on-site infusion services must refer patients to a hospital infusion center. This seems like a simple task for those unfamiliar with the process, but the extra work can quickly accumulate.
For example, when a patient visits a hospital outpatient infusion center, the practice administrator is often the one who schedules the treatment sessions and manages the prior authorization process.
This makes the physician’s office the patient’s point of contact instead of the hospital infusion center. Therefore, if they need to reschedule, have questions about an appointment, or encounter any issues with their insurers, the patient will often call the practice administrator for clarification. This extra work can quickly become overwhelming for the physician’s office to handle on their own.
Additionally, this extra work does not result in improved patient care. Sending patients to a hospital infusion center often leads to lower patient compliance and treatment success.
Patient and Practice Benefits of an In-Office Infusion Center
A solution is establishing an in-office infusion center. In-office infusion suites provide a better, more comprehensive service to patients. The patient benefits from receiving their treatment in a convenient, familiar setting from their trusted healthcare provider. It is a more personal, private and comfortable patient experience.
In addition, in-office infusion centers have improved patient satisfaction, compliance, and treatment success. With Altus Infusion, the process is made even more efficient as we support the administrative aspects of the in-office infusion center.
Infusion Center Management
Many private specialty practices have shied away from the idea of operating their own in-office infusion center because of the high costs associated with establishing and managing it.
While these concerns are valid, Altus Infusion offers comprehensive biologic management solutions to private specialty practices, which can assist and solve these concerns.
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