Ohio Living achieves low readmission rates with telehealth

By Nathan Eddy
10:37 AM
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Patients are equipped with Bluetooth-enabled tablets that record biometrics information.

Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice earned a readmission rate of just 7.5 percent, nearly half of the state’s Medicare average, by introducing telehealth services.

HOW IT WORKS

Patients have been equipped with 4G-enabled tablet devices provided by Health Recovery Solutions (HRS), which as well as additional Bluetooth-enabled devices that give patients the ability to record biometrics like their heart rate, weight and blood pressure.

The non-profit also recently expanded its telehealth services through a partnership with Northwest Ohio Accountable Care Organization, and Ohio Living claimed 80 percent of patients enrolled would recommend the program to a family member or friend.

Not only has the telehealth program helped improve patient adherence to health plans, but overall adherence to the telehealth program itself stands at 80 percent.

In addition, Ohio Living said more than three-quarters of enrolled patients said they agree the telehealth program has given them the opportunity to be more involved in their own care.

The information collected through the telehealth applications and associated Bluetooth accessory devices is uploaded to the clinician's dashboard enabling them to monitor patient vitals.

The platform also allows physicians to communicate with patients and be alerted to any change in the patient’s health status — the HRS ClinicianConnect web portal and phone application enables clinicians to manage multiple patients.

ON THE RECORD

"The interactive nature of face-to-face video conferencing promotes patient engagement and increases socialization for isolated patients," Wendy Kiser, executive director at Ohio Living, said in a statement. "Patient engagement is critical to the management of chronic conditions. The face-to-face video conferencing allows our nurses to build relationships with patients and continually engage with them and educate them."

Ohio Living’s expansion of telehealth services includes the use of virtual visits, which utilizes the HRS video conferencing platform-- think FaceTime or video chat between a patient and their provider or caregiver.

Telehealth could also be used to improve home dialysis, help treat muscular disorders and manage hypertension, and simultaneously reduce physician burnout.

"Ohio Living has built a truly outstanding telehealth program,” HRS client success manager William Ashton said in a statement. “Their prioritization of patient education and engagement stands as a model for telehealth programs."

THE BIGGER TREND

A recent American College of Physician (ACP) survey indicated effective adoption and usage of telehealth technologies in internal medicine practices may be improved with education and guidance.

The study found telehealth implementation and usage varied widely among internists and subspecialists, with a third of the 233 ACP members surveyed having used e-consulting, while nearly a quarter had deployed remote care management technology.

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

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209