PINEHURST, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A pioneer in telehealth teams up with the hottest company in home care to create an amazing approach and unbelievable results.
FirstHealth of the Carolinas, widely applauded for creating the nationally renowned Chronic Disease Pathways evidence-based standards of care, has partnered with Health Recovery Solutions (HRS), a software company started at Johns Hopkins University, to transform their telehealth remote monitoring program.
What began in 2014 as a 25 unit trial of the HRS system has grown to a full-scale partnership that utilizes over 160 units and serves high risk patients with chronic disease across eight North Carolina counties.
“HRS has been a game changer for us, creating a much more flexible and comprehensive platform,” says Patty Upham, Director, FirstHealth Care Transitions. “Telehealth technology is an essential component of our overall strategy for managing this high risk population.”
The First Health Center for Telehealth has used this technology to manage well over 800 patients in its four distinct care settings: Complex Care Management for high risk patients with heart failure, COPD or diabetics not eligible for home health but who still require ongoing support, Medicaid and Dual Eligible heart failure patients managed by the local network of Community Care of North Carolina, and high-risk patients for PACE Life St Joseph (an alternative program for patients who would otherwise be in a skilled nursing facility) and in the traditional home health setting. Of the 175 heart failure patients monitored to date for Community Care, there has been a 40% reduction in the number of hospitalizations as compared to the six months prior to enrollment in the Center for Telehealth. That represents over 80 avoided hospitalizations and a $560,000 savings to the State’s Medicaid Program.
To date, First Health’s home health 30-day readmission rate for 2015 is 7.9 percent, which is 27 percent better than the national benchmark and 19 percent better than its readmission rate last year.
How it works
HRS supplies First Health patients who have diagnoses of heart failure, COPD or diabetes with the most advanced remote monitoring devices focused on changing patient behavior. Patients go home with HRS's disease-specific 4G Tablets customized to their medications, diet requirements and care plans. The HRS Tablets are integrated with wireless bluetooth devices (PulseOximeters, BP Monitors, Thermometers, Activity Trackers and Scales) and are preloaded with educational videos, that require patients to complete daily teach-back quizzes and surveys. The HRS Tablets also allow for video chat, wound imaging and real time risk assessments monitored by clinicians and patient family members. High-risk alerts are sent to nurses to prompt video chat with the patients as needed. This real-time care coordination has prevented exacerbations and hospital visits.
Return on Investment
The HRS telehealth remote patient-monitoring platform has allowed FirstHealth to reduce the number of costly home nursing visits while improving the quality of care. First Health’ home visits per 60 days in 2015 was 4.8 visits, 40% lower than the national average.
“Reducing nursing visits per episode of care not only reduces the overall cost of care, but it also allows us to provide care to more patients with the same amount of staff,” Upham says. “The return on investment is positive.”
FirstHealth recently received a 4.5 Star Rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, a measure of the high quality of care it consistently delivers. HRS was recently recognized as a Luminary Finalist at the national LINK Home Health Conference. This distinction goes to a company that demonstrates significant technological advancement in the home care industry.
About FirstHealth of the Carolinas: FirstHealth of the Carolinas is a private, non-governmental, not-for-profit health care network serving 15 counties in the mid-Carolinas.
About Health Recovery Solutions: HRS is a New York City based telehealth provider, supplies some of the nation’s leading medical centers and home health agencies with the most advanced patient monitoring devices, focusing on changing behavior to reduce readmissions and improve clinical outcomes. For more information, call (347)699-6HRS or visit www.healthrecoverysolutions.com