FDA Launches ‘Home as a Health Care Hub’ Initiative With Equity Focus

April 26, 2024
Hub will be designed as an Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)-enabled home prototype and is expected to be completed later this year

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an initiative, Home as a Health Care Hub, to help reimagine the home environment as an integral part of the healthcare system.

The FDA noted that while many care options are attempting to use the home as a virtual clinical site, few have considered the structural and critical elements of the home that will be required to absorb this transference of care. Moreover, devices intended for use in the home tend to be designed to operate in isolation rather than as part of an integrated, holistic environment. As a result, patients may have to use several disparate medical devices, some never intended for the home environment, rather than interact with medical-grade, consumer-designed, customizable technologies that seamlessly integrate into a person's lifestyle.

The FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) has contracted with an architectural firm that designs innovative buildings with health and equity in mind, to consider the needs of variable models of a home and tailor solutions with opportunities to adapt and evolve in complexity and scale. The hub will be designed as an Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)-enabled home prototype and is expected to be completed later this year.

This partnership includes collaboration with patient groups, healthcare providers, and the medical device industry to build the “Home as a Health Care Hub.”

The FDA said this prototype would serve as an idea lab, not only to connect with populations most affected by health inequity, but also for medical device developers, policymakers, and providers to begin developing home-based solutions that advance health equity. Existing models that have examined care delivery at home have found great patient satisfaction, good adherence, and potential cost savings to healthcare systems. By beginning with dwellings in rural locations and lower-income communities, the planned prototype will be intentionally designed with the goal of advancing health equity.

The FDA is using diabetes as an example health condition for the hub prototype, given the impacts over the lifecycle of someone living with this condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over $300 billion per year was spent on medical costs for diabetes in the U.S. in 2022. This is a 35 percent increase over the past decade, which is disproportionately borne by underserved communities and communities of color. 

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