Health system reaps big savings with remote monitoring

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund
08:10 am

An Arizona health system is expanding its home health monitoring program following a pilot project that saw significant reductions in hospitalizations and length of stay.

The "Care Beyond Walls and Wires" Program, launched by Northern Arizona Healthcare in a partnership with Qualcomm Life, saved an estimated $92,000 per patient, according to data taken of the first 50 patients six months prior to enrollment and six months after enrollment. Of those patients, hospital officials saw hospitalizations drop from 3.26 mean per patient to 1.82 and days hospitalized drop from 13.98 mean per patient to 5.13.

Qualcomm Life and NAH have been working since 2011 on the program, which places home health monitoring kits powered by Qualcomm Life's 2net connectivity platform and HealthyCircles care coordination software with patients discharged from Flagstaff Medical Center or Verde Valley Medical Center following treatment for congestive heart failure or related cardiac conditions. 

[See also: How a home monitoring program slashed hospitalizations and bed days]

Hospital officials said they'll now expand the program to patients with other cardiac problems as well as people with pulmonary issues and those needing post-operative care.

"We had phenomenal results working with Qualcomm Wireless Reach on the first phase of the Care Beyond Walls and Wires project," Gigi Sorenson, RN, NAH's director of telehealth services, said in a press release. "Putting smartphones and biometric health-monitoring devices in the hands of patients empowered them to take better control of their health. For project participants, we've tracked significantly fewer hospitalizations, shorter hospitalizations and dramatically lower costs."

The home health kits are customized for each patient, featuring a customized app loaded onto a smartphone and connected medical devices specific to the patient's condition. Data captured by the devices is automatically uploaded through the 2net Hub or 2net Mobile to the HealthyCircles platform, where healthcare providers can set care management plans and communicate with patients. Included in those plans are medication reminders and alerts set to be triggered if the home health monitoring kit detects a patient's deteriorating health.

Qualcomm officials are touting 2net and HealthyCircles as an ideal home health management platform because all the biometric data is captured and uploaded automatically, so that the data received and reviewed by clinicians isn't entered or affected by the patient. That's a selling point for providers who want objective health data, as well as a care management platform that doesn't interfere with or unnecessarily stress a patient's lifestyle.

"Combining 2net connectivity capabilities with HealthyCircles care coordination and exception based management functionality enables a secure and scalable personalized platform that can ultimately increase patient engagement and adherence while helping healthcare professionals deliver targeted interventions in an efficient manner," Rick Valencia, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life, said in the release.

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