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Technology keeps patients where they want to be most

Untitled-1.jpgEMHS’ VNA Home Health Hospice patients are managing their health and staying out of the hospital using technology from the comfort of their couch.
Telemonitoring is a daily remote monitoring system that collects and transmits a patient’s health data to healthcare teams so they can observe and intervene early before a trip to the hospital becomes necessary. The health system’s investment in remote monitoring technology has enabled it to achieve a decrease in patient readmissions in the southern part of the state from 15 percent to eight percent. VNA has more than 400 telemonitoring units that incorporate devices like blood pressure cuffs, scales, pulse oximeters, and more. “This technology allows us to have contact with our patients every day,” said Leah Wright, EMHS vice president of quality compliance and information, “The technology doesn’t get in the way, and patients don’t feel any distractions.”
A specialist installs the remote monitoring system in the home and teaches the patient how to use it. The monitors are cellular and Bluetooth-enabled and feature clear voice prompts that guide the user to collect their vital signs. VNA’s units are currently used on patients with COPD, congestive heart failure, and other cardiac conditions.
EMHS set a goal (one of many) for the system to reduce the rate at which patients are discharged from a hospital and admitted back again within a specified time. In the southern part of the state alone, VNA has seen a seven percent decrease in patient readmissions due to the system’s investment in remote monitoring technology. Several other EMHS members are also using this same technology bringing coordinated, high-quality care to our patients where they want to be most—home.   
A version of this article originally appeared in Home Health Technology News, August 15, 2017.