QUINCY — Blessing Health Systems announced this week that they have been selected to participate in a three-year research study focused on rural home-based heath care.

Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health initiatives created by Harvard’s T.J. Chan School of Public Health alongside Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, created the Rural Home Hospital project to provide hospital-level care in patients’ homes instead of requiring inpatient hospitalizations. The goal of the project is to effectively treat ill adults while improving patient safety and satisfaction while reducing costs.

A version of the project has been implemented in larger cities, and now the Rural Home Hospital project intends to adapt the program to the news of rural residents, where patients are generally further from the nearest hospital.

In a statement, Dr. Mary Barthel, Blessing’s chief quality and safety officer, said it’s an honor to be selected for the research project.

“It was a highly competitive process, with hundreds of applications submitted from around the country,” Barthel said. “Blessing demonstrated it had the capability and commitment to follow through with this vital, three year study.”

Barthel, along with Julie Shepard, Blessing’s administrative coordinator for community health innovation, wrote the successful application for Blessing’s participation in the three year research program.

In addition to Blessing Health System, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, serving patients in eastern Kentucky and parts of West Virginia, was also selected as a participant in the Rural Home Hospital program.

“Blessing Health System is excited for the opportunity to participate in an initiative that offers the opportunity to provide quality healthcare in a convenient, home environment,” Shepard said. “The Rural Home Hospital project will serve as a catalyst for our health system to be transformed into a rural health system of the future.”

The Rural Home Hospital project is a randomized, controlled trial. Blessing patients who meet the guidelines over the three year period will be divided with half admitted to Blessing Hospital for care. The other half will receive hospital-level healthcare in their home from Blessing providers. Outcomes of the two groups will be compared to help build, launch and evaluate a nationwide Rural Home Hospital care system. Blessing’s goal is to have its project operational later this year.

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