Marshfield Clinic launches tablet-based telehealth program

The tablets pair with disease specific Bluetooth biometric devices, allowing patients to take their blood pressure, weight and heart rate.
By Nathan Eddy
10:03 AM
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Marshfield Clinic has introduced a tablet-based telehealth program in partnership with software specialist Health Recovery Solutions. It's geared to patients enrolled in Marshfield’s Heart Failure Improvement Clinic, according to the Wisconsin health system.

The service enrolls approximately 1,500 patients with congestive heart failure, and Marshfield will select patients who have experienced an exacerbation requiring IV diuretics to participate in the first stages of the telehealth program.

WHY IT MATTERS

The tablets pair with disease specific Bluetooth biometric devices, allowing patients to take their blood pressure, weight and heart rate. All vital signs are then automatically transmitted to the tablet and electronically delivered to the patient's nurse.

HRS specializes in remote monitoring platforms focused on changing patient behavior to reduce readmissions and improve clinical outcomes. Patients placed on the program will be provided with 4G tablets preloaded with the HRS software.

Marshfield’s executive vice president and chief clinical strategy officer Dr. Narayana Murali noted that with lengthy Wisconsin winters and their inclement weather, eliminating unnecessary physician visits is another way for Marshfield to use innovation to provide the best care for their patients and reduce their health care costs at the same time.

The company’s disease-specific engagement kits are customized with educational video, care plans, medication reminders while integrated with Bluetooth peripherals to engage clients.

The partnership includes a patient education component offering the potential to empower patients to take on a more active role in their health management.

For clinicians, HRS software allows for the management of high-risk clients and provides communication with them through video chat, wound imaging and text messaging.

In addition, a live listening stethoscope pairs with the HRS system, allowing patients to be transferred to a nurse practitioner who can perform a thorough remote examination, reducing unnecessary trips to the doctor's office.

Marshfield has more than 10,000 employees and more than 1,200 providers comprising 86 specialties, a health plan, and research and education programs across the state, and had nearly 3.5 million patient encounters in 2017.

THE BIGGER TREND

After years of under-fulfilled promise, telehealth efforts are gaining momentum in a big way. As HIMSS19 Champion of Health Dr. Rasu Shrestha noted earlier this year, "it's the overnight success story that was 30 years in the making." Indeed, there were a number of new telehealth advances on display in Orlando this past week from vendors large and small.

Still, as always, there are challenges in deploying telehealth programs effectively – mostly related to engaging reluctant clinicians, showing its value and ROI and handling the change management it requires.

ON THE RECORD

"The HRS telehealth technology allows us to provide care for our congestive heart failure patients who live in rural areas and face long drives to receive care," said Murali in a statement.

"We are incredibly excited to launch a telehealth program with Marshfield," Jarrett Bauer, CEO of HRS, said in a statement. Marshfield is a leader in patient care and they have demonstrated impressive dedication to the advancement of technology in healthcare. HRS is honored to have been chosen as their telehealth partner."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.