MUNDELEIN, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With Medicare reimbursement requirements based heavily on outcomes, there is growing pressure on home health agencies to provide comprehensive, around-the-clock support to their patients and reduce hospital readmissions.
The challenge with this new reality: Many agencies cannot afford to add staff or invest in the technology needed to produce these better patient outcomes, which may ultimately impact their hospital referrals.
One solution: SmartCare by medical supplier Medline Industries, Inc. – a 24/7 personal care assistance program helping to improve patient care and satisfaction, and reduce hospital readmissions.
The results: In 2014, SmartCare helped to avoid nearly 300 hospital readmissions. In addition, facilities saved over $1 million in total healthcare dollars, based on an event that could’ve resulted in EMS transport and two-day hospital stay.
Here’s how it works: The patient monitoring program is designed to simulate the nurse call button in the hospital from the patient’s home. With the push of a button from a hand-held device, a patient connects to a dedicated personal care assistant who can virtually assist the patient. The care assistant responds as a staff member of their home health agency so there is no confusion.
Unlike other telehealth monitoring systems, SmartCare provides personal concierge-style assistance for everyday concerns. The team of care assistants goes beyond addressing typical home health care needs or emergencies—they tackle any patient need, no matter how small. They can arrange transportation to doctor’s appointments, speak to their primary care physician or pharmacist on their behalf, as well as address any social issues. If a patient is just seeking a listening ear or companionship, SmartCare’s team is always there.
Staffed with certified social workers, SmartCare assistants are trained to know when to involve the patient’s home health agency, if additional medical care may be needed.
“Transitioning to home health care can be confusing and challenging. Often times, patients need that extra layer of support, knowing someone is ready to help schedule their doctor appointments, or answer questions about their care,” says Mike Lee, president, homecare sales division, Medline. “This solutions-based program also demonstrates a new way of thinking when it comes to proving home health agency commitment to quality versus quantity.”
Providing Connectivity and Peace of Mind
Southeastern Home Health Services serves patients throughout Pennsylvania and Virginia. SmartCare provides staff with much needed connectivity and efficiency, and their patients and families with peace of mind. Agencies may also retrieve activity reports on all patients, giving facilities a real-time pulse on a patient’s condition, day or night.
“SmartCare allows us to stay connected with our patients at all times and provide anything that patient needs, not just needs related to home care,” says Betsy McLaughlin, registered nurse and branch director, Southeastern Home Health Services. “We want to be there with them 24/7, not just when the nurse is visiting with them once or twice a week. This is about being there for them always.”
Among the 160 patients using SmartCare through Southeastern Home Health Services, patient needs have included contacting a patient’s dentist on their behalf to assess a toothache, providing emotional support as a result of family issues, ordering healthy groceries and cooked meals for delivery, and explaining one’s blood sugar levels and medication.
The following SmartCare results for another healthcare agency, Cornerstone VNA in New Hampshire, was featured in the September/October 2014 issue of Remington Report:
- 44 total unique avoided readmissions out of 135 patients enrolled
- 48 percent of patient calls resulted in intervening in patient’s care network (e.g., contacting a personal physician, pharmacist or family member, or arranging transportation to doctor’s appointments)
- 32 percent of patient calls resulted in intervention with the patient on clinical questions or concerns
- 11 percent of calls required non-emergent social reassurance
Also in 2014, SmartCare expanded to serve hospice agencies, in addition to home health facilities. To learn more about Medline’s SmartCare program, visit: http://www.medline.com/clinical-solutions/smartcare
As the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of quality medical supplies and clinical solutions, Medline is dedicated to helping healthcare providers reduce costs and achieve better outcomes across the continuum of care. Named one of the country’s "Best and Brightest Companies to Work For,” the company is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill. and has more than 1,200 dedicated sales representatives to support its robust product portfolio and deliver outstanding customer service. For more information about Medline, go to www.medline.com or visit http://www.medline.com/social-media to connect with Medline on a variety of social media channels.