At-Home Interventional Radiology Model Leads to Spike in Patient Satisfaction, Plummet in Emergency Room Visits

One rural-based model shows bringing interventional radiology services to older patients in their home not only improve access to care, but also catapults patient satisfaction.

Interventional radiologists who make house calls can significantly reduce both emergency room use and hospital re-admissions – and patients are much happier with the treatment they receive.

Providers from one rural Indiana practice presented their experience this week during a virtual session of the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting. The results of their collaborative house call model saw a 77-percent drop in emergency department utilization and a 50-percent decline in hospital re-admissions within a group of approximately 1,000 house-bound elderly patients with chronic diseases.

“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,” said Nazar Golewale, M.D., lead study author and interventional radiologist with Modern Vascular & Vein Center in Indiana. “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.”

This care model brings interventional radiologist treatments normally done in-clinic, such as ultrasound-guided needle biopsy, paracentesis and thoracentesis, ultrasound-guided joint injections for pain, wound care, and drug infusions, directly into the patient’s home. The study, powered by interventional radiologists, primary care providers, and laboratory and wound specialists, and podiatrists, initially launched in August 2018, targeted homebound and post-hospital elderly patients who lived in rural areas with limited access to healthcare.

Throughout the year-long study, the team provided 951 clinical visits. Patients surveyed about their experience reported a spike in satisfaction – leaping from 17 percent to 84 percent – and the radiologists also reported being able to forge better relationships with their primary care colleagues.

Overall, Golewale’s team concluded, this study revealed an at-home interventional radiology model can benefit both patient and provider.

“Our model has shown significant reduction in healthcare cost for patients and payers, and demonstrated decline in hospitalization rates in this cohort,” the team said.