American Well to preview TV-based telemedicine for the home at HIMSS20

The new device, CarePort, is designed to allow caregivers to easily hook up with patients in their homes. The vendor's CEO eyes enabling senior citizens to stay at home, not the hospital.
By Bill Siwicki
11:05 AM
American Well to preview TV-based telemedicine for the home at HIMSS20

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

At HIMSS20, prominent telemedicine technology vendor American Well will preview its new home TV system, dubbed CarePort, which will be commercially available at a date yet to be announced.

The idea behind CarePort, powered by American Well and its vendor partner Solaborate, is to transform a patient's home into a virtual hospital room. CarePort is designed to smooth the transition between the hospital and the home.

"Unlike telehealth apps that let busy consumers find care more conveniently, this will allow patients to be patients, to be cared for, in their bed at home, by their doctors and clinical staff," said Dr. Roy Schoenberg, CEO and cofounder of American Well, which will be in booths 4001 and 8300-105 at HIMSS20.

Connecting to any TV with an HDMI port

The CarePort device is designed to easily connect to any TV, enabling healthcare providers to virtually come in and out of a patient's home as care is needed. The ability to integrate CarePort with a home television and simultaneously be part of a hospital's core set of systems, including the Epic and Cerner EHRs, translates into an extension of the care team's reach that is designed to enable a new model and level of care continuity.

"One of the biggest opportunities for telehealth is to make a significant impact in the later stages of life," Schoenberg stated. "As Baby Boomers begin to retire and age into the 65+ category, telehealth can improve quality of life in a profound way and help people live and age gracefully in the comfort of their home. That is where so many of us want to be, rather than under the fluorescent lights of a hospital room or within a long-term care facility, where we often are told we need to be."

"One of the biggest opportunities for telehealth is to make a significant impact in the later stages of life."

Dr. Roy Schoenberg, American Well

For patients of all ages, hospitals face increasing constraints when it comes to providing continuous care for those in need, he contended.

"By the numbers, six in 10 adults in the U.S. are living with at least one chronic disease," he said. "A device like CarePort can help enable quality care to be brought into the home, with the goal of not only helping improve the quality of life for patients who require frequent care, but also giving hospitals an avenue to improve clinical and financial results."

Not to mention, he added, that increasing reimbursement developments as part of both Medicare and the CHRONIC Care Act are increasingly favorable to innovative technological developments.

Ensuring things are easy for patients and providers

"Providers will be able to use CarePort to provide frequent check-ins to patients at home, from the hospital," he went on to explain. "At a high level, providers first identify patients who could benefit from CarePort, and send them home with the device. Set-up is easy – a TV with an HDMI cord is all that's required. This is important as the last thing we want to do is add another burden on a patient."

When a provider is ready to have a visit, they can virtually enter the room, connecting via their clinician web app. The patient then will receive a call through their TV and can accept the call via voice command, and immediately connect to their provider.

"CarePort is well suited for any patient that requires continuous or regular care," Schoenberg said. "Typically, we find that seniors, patients with mobility challenges, and patients with chronic care conditions can benefit the most from CarePort. Some specific use-cases we anticipate include: post-surgical discharge, vulnerable patient monitoring, frequent ER visitors, at-home visiting nurses, chronic patient monitoring, and elderly patient monitoring."

Schoenberg said the new telemedicine system has inherent value for hospitals and health systems as they look to improve the patient experience, reduce costs and improve care quality.

“The benefits to patients are undeniable – allowing for graceful aging in the home, decreasing travel needs, especially for those with mobility issues, etc. It also opens the door for closer patient-provider relationships as doctors can get additional insight into a patient's life through home environment observation.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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