Monday, April 7, 2014

Fauquier Health Home Care Service Program Monitors Patients at Home

Fauquier Hospital's Home Care Services department has instituted a new program that will help those with chronic conditions that need monitoring. Here is a video about the initiative.

The Honeywell telemonitoring system links patients and healthcare providers, using cellular technology to remotely collect, store and report timely, accurate health anywhere.  Patients or their caregivers take their vital sign measurements daily as prescribed by their providers. They also respond to personalized surveys customized to manage their disease. Vital signs — including weight, blood pressure, pulse, glucose levels, ECG rhythm and others — are taken using small, wireless devices placed in the home. These devices automatically transmit readings securely and confidentially to caregivers at Fauquier Health Home Care Services

Daily remote monitoring allows doctors, nurses and specialized Home Health staff to see a clearer picture of the patient’s health over time. This information can then be used in face-to-face visits with the patient and to tailor a more thorough plan of treatment. If the monitoring reveals a change in status, the medical team can take swift action rather than wait for the next scheduled visit and risk serious complications from undetected changes.

Seniors and others with chronic health problems such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure often wind up in hospital emergency rooms after forgetting to take their medication or when their condition deteriorates at home without family members realizing. When that deterioration is severe enough, patients can be forced to move out of their homes into nursing facilities, a costly and emotionally wrenching transition. But by closely monitoring patients at home, some of these events can be avoided or managed better.

In addition to alerting patient and provider to a potential health emergency, telemonitoring has been shown to reinforce positive behavior leading to improved health. The technology’s real-time feedback helps patients recognize the direct relationship between behavior (diet, correct use of medication, etc) and outcomes, empowering them with the tools for self-management.

Patients are able to play an active role in their own health by taking and understanding their daily vital signs and participating in meaningful information exchanges with clinicians. This personal involvement, combined with education and timely clinical intervention, helps patients regain and maintain optimum health.

As a Planetree-designated patient-centered health system, Fauquier Health strongly emphasizes collaboration with a patient’s family and other caregivers -- their care partners. 
Telemonitoring is not designed to have doctors diagnose illnesses remotely. Instead, these tools are intended to enhance monitoring of important vital signs to allow elderly or infirm patients to get ahead of changes in their chronic conditions that could tip them into a medical emergency.  When telehealth is added to traditional one-on-one consultation, Fauquier Health Home Care Services can provide better patient care by  providing thorough and timely readings between visits; alerting patients and their caregivers to a potential problem before it becomes an emergency; and involving and informing patients, their families and their caregivers in the continuum of care.

For patients with a large and supportive network of professional and family caregivers, telehealth is a valuable tool for managing their illness and recovery at home. For a patient living alone and without the means to pay for round-the-clock private care, telehealth is, quite simply, a lifeline.

Across America, studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of telehealth at home.  A 2004 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report found that telemonitoring in the Home Health setting decreased hospitalizations by 73%, hospital days of care by 78%, and ER visits by 88%.  Here are two more:

National Association for Home Care & Hospice
  • 71% reported improved patient satisfaction
  • 88.6% saw improved patient outcomes
  • 76.6% reduced unplanned hospitalizations

  • 72% reduction in E.R. visits
  • 95% reduction in walk-in clinic visits]