Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH) has rolled out a hospital-at-home supply chain network, Velocare, and is teaming up with Medically Home to deliver its patients products and services support. The collaboration is a pilot program.
Velocare is the culmination of the work that has gone into defining what Cardinal Health is going to offer the hospital-at-home market, Alex Hoopes, director of health care innovation at Cardinal Health and Velocare lead, told Home Health Care News.
“Simply, [Velocare] is a combination of a technology platform, along with a new type of distribution model that sits behind that platform to bring a wide breadth of critical goods and services to patients in their home on one to two hours notice,” he said.
The Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health is a distributor of pharmaceuticals and a manufacturer and distributor of medical and laboratory products. The company also provides performance and data solutions to health care facilities.
Currently, Cardinal Health serves roughly 90% of U.S. hospitals, more than 60,000 U.S. pharmacies and 10,000 specialty physician offices and clinics. It also provides more than 3.4 million patients with over 46,000 home health care products.
The company has invested heavily in its at-home business over recent years.
With Velocare, orders for products are placed through its platform by the provider. The products are aimed at patients receiving hospital-at-home care. These products include things like medical waste containers, medically tailored meals, medical supplies, medical devices and remote patient monitoring technology.
After the order has been placed, a care coordinator team ensures that it reaches the closest Cardinal Health depot or warehouse. The items are then delivered to the home, and once the hospital-at-home period is over, Cardinal Health collects any remaining medical supplies.
“All of the logistics of getting the goods and the services into the home 24/7 on short notice is important for that high risk, complex or serious patient,” Rami Karjian, CEO of Medically Home, told HHCN.
The collaboration between Cardinal Health and Medically Home makes sense, as the two companies have a history. Medically Home counts Cardinal Health as one of its repeat investors.
“We made contact with Medically Home’s CEO in 2018 at a conference — just kind of a chance conversation between their CEO and someone on our team,” Hoopes said. “This led to our first investment in Medically Home. At the time, that investment was based on a belief that we could see the vision. It made sense to us that more care was going to move to the home.”
At the start of 2022, Cardinal Health followed up that investment as part of a cohort — which also included Baxter International Inc. and Global Medical Response — that injected $110 million into Medically Home.
For Medically Home, Cardinal Health’s Velocare will allow the growing company to further expand its services.
“It’s allowing us to scale this better and faster, which is particularly important as we’re getting more momentum and getting this to more patients in more markets,” Karjian said. “We’ve worked with Cardinal previously, where they supported us with supplies in the home. Now, we’re expanding this to allow them to do more.”
When it comes to hospital-at-home, supply chains can sometimes present a challenge for operators working in this space. Ultimately, alleviating this burden is the value-add of Velocare.
“Supply chain is a huge problem,” Hoopes said. “In hospital-at-home programs, you have a lot of vendors that you have to orchestrate. They’re each tackling a thin slice of the patient’s needs. There’s a lot of potential fail points, and a lot of coordination required. From the patient perspective, there’s just a lot of people showing up at their home continuously, which is maybe not the best thing if you’re trying to heal. Those are some of the areas that we’re trying to get after. We feel like we can make a meaningful impact.”