Remote Monitoring and Care Delivery
Connected health strategies are also improving patient monitoring and home care beyond remote monitoring to include remote diagnostics and remote care delivery.
Several trends in employer benefits, payer programs, and consumer expectations suggest that connected health technologies and thoughtfully implemented disease-management programs, together, can play a role in enhancing care and outcomes for patients with chronic diseases, such as chronic heart failure (CHF).
Technology and device manufacturers are developing small, user-friendly devices that monitor heart rate, blood pressure, pulse oxymetry, and weight. The importance of these products will grow in the home care setting, as patients continue to become more technology savvy.
Some people have voiced concern that the elderly, who could benefit greatly from connected health advances in home care, are unlikely to adopt these new applications. There’s evidence, however, that they are changing with the times: The fastest growing segment of Internet users are over age 65.
In a collaborative study between Partners Telemedicine and Partners Home Care, we followed 85 CHF patients for two months following hospital discharge. Each day, patients transmitted their weight, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation to a telemonitoring nurse. The nurse evaluated the data and placed a phone call to each patient to share the data and ask scripted disease-management questions.
The use of telemonitoring devices combined with enhanced communications demonstrated a significant impact on efficiency of care while showing decreased hospitalization rates. Study participants required 40% fewer nursing visits to the home and experienced a 25% reduction in re-hospitalization rates.
Additionally, patients reported an improved quality of life and appreciation for increased involvement in their care. As a result of this study, Partners Home Care implemented telemonitoring for all of its eligible CHF patients, and has expanded the program to include patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal failure, and more.