NVNA and Hospice expands telehealth pilot, cuts readmission rates
A pilot program from Massachusetts-based home health and hospice provider NVNA and Hospice offering telehealth and remote patient monitoring has led to a 40 percent drop in hospital readmissions among their palliative care patients.
The health system began the program in November 2018 in partnership with remote monitoring platform developer Health Recovery Solutions and has now expanded its telehealth services to more than 120 patients a month.
Patients in the program get a 4G tablet preloaded with Health Recovery Solutions’ remote patient monitoring platform, as well as a host of Bluetooth monitoring devices to record vital signs.
The tablet tells patients when to take medication, facilitates communication with clinicians and caregivers, and uploads patient information like adherence to medicine.
WHY IT MATTERS
“We have found, even with the most complex cases, telemedicine adds such value and support to those we serve,” NVNA’s director of telehealth and clinical support services Dan Casey said in a statement. “Our goal, as well as our patient’s, is to make sure they can stay home and have the tools to help themselves stay out of the hospital.”
The health system claimed it achieved an average all-cause hospital readmission rate of 7.3 percent since the start of the year, and as of last month had conducted more than 500 virtual visits with patients.
A further expansion of the program is planned for next month, providing the tablet program to hospice patients in the community, offering educational videos and 24-hour access to a nurse, among other features.
As the expansion continues, early indicators suggest patients have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the program, both in terms of personal involvement in their care and their level of comfort using the system.
According to NVNA, 100 percent of patients in the May program said they are more involved in their care now than they were before using telehealth, and 100 percent of patients on the telehealth program stated they would recommend the use of telehealth to a friend or family member.
THE LARGER TREND
The expansion of the company’s telehealth pilot program comes as numerous other healthcare organizations have released findings supporting the increased use of patient monitoring.
For Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network, care coordination tech has resulted in higher follow-up rates, which means fewer patients retiring to the hospital after discharge and a reduction in avoidable emergency department admissions and readmission.
The platform, provided by health IT vendor Collective Medical, connects every member on a patient’s care team so they can collaborate on care plans and stay up to date on patient histories.
Last month, Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice published a study showing how it achieved low readmission rates with telehealth technology – in this case, patients are equipped with Bluetooth-enabled tablets that record biometrics information.
The health system earned a readmission rate of just 7.5 percent, nearly half of the state’s Medicare average, by introducing telehealth services, and more than three-quarters of patients enrolled in the program said they agree telehealth tech gave them the opportunity to be more involved in their own care.
Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
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