Telehealth demo in Boston will involve patients with congestive heart failure

By Molly Merrill
10:15 AM

Patients who have been hospitalized for congestive heart failure may benefit from a “Home Telehealth” demonstration project set to take place in the Greater Boston area that aims at testing the efficacy of home-based monitoring equipment for older adults with chronic illnesses.

The project is being funded by a 100,000 grant from the Center for Technology and Aging, which was awarded to the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI), an independent, nonprofit organization that conducts evidence-based research.

The grant is one of five that was awarded by the Center for Technology and Aging to demonstrate how remote patient technologies can improve the quality and efficiency of chronic disease management and post‐acute care of older adults. The other grantees are: San Deigo-based Sharp HealthCare Foundation, Denver-based Centura Health At Home, Los Angeles-based AltaMed Health Services and Stamford Hospital in Conn.

Nationwide, eight out of 10 older Americans suffer from one or more costly chronic illnesses, including congestive heart failure. It is estimated that successful utilization of remote patient monitoring technologies could reduce the costs of chronic disease by nearly $200 billion over 25 years by reducing emergency department visits, hospitalizations, hospital readmissions and other healthcare services.

“This grant will enable NEHI to demonstrate how an important technology can make a significant difference in the quality of life for older adults with congestive heart failure,” said Wendy Everett, president of NEHI.
Participants in the NEHI project will use a home telehealth device from Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based ExpressMD Solutions to collect daily data about their physical health and symptoms. The device sends this information electronically to the patients’ care team for assessment and, if necessary, intervention. NEHI will conduct the project in partnership with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Atrius Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

“Remote patient monitoring technologies make a huge difference in the quality of life for those living with chronic conditions,” said David Lindeman, PhD, director of the Center for Technology and Aging. “These projects will underscore the need to reform reimbursement policies and make possible wider adoption of these
technologies in public programs – Medicare and Medicaid – as well as among private insurers and healthcare systems.”