Telehealth technology connects patients with caregivers, reduces readmissions
CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio, June 26, 2012- Lake Health has implemented a new home monitoring program to remotely monitor patients with congestive heart failure. The program uses innovative telehealth technology designed to detect complications before they become severe and require hospitalization.
Congestive heart failure-a condition in which the heart fails to pump blood effectively-affects 5.8 million Americans. Daily life for these patients can be challenging. The condition requires diligent management and close monitoring, and can often worsen at home after discharge from the hospital.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospital readmissions for those over the age of 65. The primary reasons for re-hospitalization include patients not taking medications as prescribed, failure to follow a dietary plan and not recognizing the early signs of congestive heart failure-such as fluid build up.
Studies show that patients who participate in remote monitoring programs experience fewer hospitalizations and ER visits.
"This technology enables our health care team to identify deteriorations in patients' health status early so timely interventions can be made," said Bill Kahl, director of Home Care Services for Lake Health. "It's also been shown to improve patient satisfaction because patients feel more connected with their health care providers."
Developed by McKesson, the Telehealth Advisor remote disease management and monitoring solution uses the Health Buddy Appliance, an in-home communication appliance that collects and transmits patient data such as weight, vital signs and pulse oximetry, giving the home care provider a more complete picture of patient health.
Patients answer diagnosis-specific questions on the electronic appliance daily, while receiving targeted education about their condition in order to modify behavior for improved outcomes. As a result, this scripted two-way communication channel allows care providers to address changes in the patient's health status and tailor care to the patient's needs as they occur, reducing costly visits to the emergency department. Patient responses are fed into the core information system and automatically become a part of the patient's electronic medical record.
"This program is unique because it engages and educates patients every day. By doing so, it empowers them to manage their own health, giving them a better understanding of their diagnosis and what they can do to maintain optimal health," Kahl explained.
As a complement to the new home monitoring program, Lake Health has also deployed Horizon Homecare Web Chart, which gives physicians secure, online access to their home care patients' charts. Web Chart enables physicians to check patient vital signs and medications; electronically sign orders and care plans; and create and send notes to Home Care Services. This streamlines communication between Home Care Services and physicians, which improves care coordination and promotes better outcomes.
Implementation of the most advanced patient care technology is just one way that Lake Health continues to redefine health care. In recognition of achieving outstanding outcomes for heart failure patients, the health system recently received the Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The award signifies that Lake Health has reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent compliance for at least 24 months to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.
For more information about the home monitoring program, please call Lake Health Home Care Services at 440-639-0900 or 440-953-6084.
About Lake Health
For ten consecutive years NorthCoast 99 has named Lake Health one of the 99 Best Places to work in Northeast Ohio. Dedicated to redefining health care in Northeast Ohio, Lake Health provides patient- and family-centered care that promotes a lifetime of health and wellness. Lake Health delivers progressive, compassionate health care through 16 state-of-the-art facilities staffed by more than 500 physicians and 2,700 health care professionals. To learn more, visit www.lakehealth.org or follow @LakeHealth on Twitter.