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BrightStar CEO Shelly Sun: Data Will ‘Separate Us From the Pack’

Author: Jessica Jones
BrightStar Care CEO Shelly Sun

Originally published in Home Health Care News in January 2022. 

Non-medical home care providers know they provide significant value to their clients. The issue many have had in the past is proving that value to others, whether it be potential partners or even seniors’ families.

To change that, companies have begun to invest considerable money and resources into extracting data from the work they do. The latest example is BrightStar Care, which found through an analysis that it was saving “up to” $29,902 in total cost of care on a per-patient basis.

The analysis, conducted by Avalere Health, matched a group of Medicare beneficiaries with patients that had received care from BrightStar Care. The population analyzed consisted of seniors – with the average age of 80 – who had one of 30 chronic medical conditions.

In order to gain this insight, BrightStar Care made a “very large investment” to gain a quantitative lens into the worth it provides, CEO Shelly Sun told Home Health Care News.

“I think we have long suspected that we were providing beneficial outcomes for our clients,” Sun said. “But I think a lot of home care brands say that, yet rarely have the data to be able to support it. Most home care companies do not have the data to really say whether they’re providing better outcomes and bending the cost curve, because you’d have to be able to match that up against all of the claims data from Medicare and Medicaid to see holistically if you’re having an impact.”

BrightStar Care saw the investment as obviously worth it. Especially during a time where home care has gained a greater place in the health care ecosystem, being able to show concrete data to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, as well as hospital-at-home and SNF-at-home players, felt crucial to Sun.

“We needed this objective-based measurement, which is why we partnered with Avalere, to really be able to go out and continue to evolve our expansion on the medical side, or in partnerships with hospital-at-home and SNF-at-home models and with health plans,” Sun said. “They are recognizing that utilizing us on some services really helped them have superior benefits for their clients and also helped reduce their overall cost of care. [Before], we didn’t feel like we had a way to put data behind our speculation that our outcomes are better.”

Sun also acknowledged that even more research needed to be done within the home care space, both for BrightStar Care and the industry at large to remain on an upward trajectory.

“In the home care industry, there’s not usually standardized data,” she said. “And here we were able to actually get to – for our control group – the overall cost for members that received our care versus the standard population for the same diagnosis.”

A press release announcing BrightStar Care’s findings even mentioned other research recently conducted by Moving Health Home, a coalition of at-home care providers that vie for favorable legislation in Washington, D.C. Specifically, that research found that patients who utilize home-based care services within 14 days of discharge from an acute care facility are 25% less likely to be readmitted in the 30 days following a stay.

Still, Sun is hopeful that the Avalere analysis will be further reason why partners will choose BrightStar Care over other brands in the near-term future.

“We really believe that partners, referrers and payers will see this as a reason to choose BrightStar on large-scale contracting versus other brands” Sun said. “I think it is going to separate us from the rest of the pack of home care providers. We’ve seen some receptivity and interest already with some of the larger payers, ones that will see the data and start looking at building some collaborative programs around diagnoses where we bend the cost curve the most.”

Beyond payers, BrightStar Care sees the higher-acuity models that have gained popularity during the pandemic as a potential area for growth.

BrightStar Care has already been in demonstration projects providing support, but believes even more opportunities could come to fruition down the line given the data the company is now armed with.

“We’re already in demonstration projects now; we have had those ongoing probably for the last seven to 18 months, depending on which ones we’re referring to,” Sun said. “And the fact that we’re now able to come to the table with this data to help them gain confidence on expanding the pilots that are underway, I think that’s mutually beneficial.”

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