In early April, 400 participants from 40 countries gathered in Madrid for the World Hospital at Home Congress (WHAHC) — the first conference of its kind. The goal: connecting hospital-at-home (HaH) stakeholders through an international platform dedicated to the advancement of the HaH model, which provides hospital-level care in a patient’s home.
Developed by the Kenes Group Original Events team, the WHAHC offered everyone from health-care practitioners to policy-makers targeted education as well as a place to showcase best practices and new technologies. It was steered by a committee led by Dr. Itamar Offer of Israel’s Sabar Health; Dr. Bruce Allen Leff of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Dr. Beatriz Massa of the Spanish Society for Home Hospitalisation; and Dr. Michael Montalto of Australia’s Epworth Healthcare.
During his speech, Dr. Ron Sabar from Sabar Clinics in Israel made a comment that circulated on Twitter: “The biggest taxi company has no taxis (Uber), the biggest hotel business has no beds (Airbnb) and the biggest publisher produces no content (Facebook). So, the biggest hospital care could be provided by a hospital that has no beds?”
The goal of the first WHAHC was to discuss this topic and exchange data and education on technology, policy, and logistics. Throughout the two-day event, nearly 24 hours of education were offered on subjects such as moving care to homes; alliances among hospital-at-home and nursing homes; human resources challenges like finding the right people and maintaining a workforce in an industry with high turnover; and how to manage remote IT infrastructure and patient medical files. Another important takeaway were the lessons learned from hospital-at-home services in aging societies, with Taipei City Hospital sharing real-life experience. Groups also visited a local hospital, an HaH unit, and a patient’s home for a first-hand look at how Madrid is bringing Spain’s HaH model to life.
Leff, the event’s co-chair, summarized WHAHC saying in a statement: “We talked a lot about the HaH community that this meeting has helped to build, but, with this congress, we became a tribe. A tribe is a group of people who are ‘your people’ in a deeply meaningful way. We addressed the models, technology, scalability, and more, but for what I am most pleased is what the future holds.
“HaH is a major culture change, and we will continue developing it beyond borders through more meetings and the dedicated WHAHC community space.”