Telehealth Systems Create New Reality

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Telehealth Increases Patient ComplianceHealthcare workers see the marked difference between an abstract idea and reality every day. It’s one thing for a patient to be told by a doctor to follow a certain regime or take a particular medication—and quite another to incorporate it into the patient’s daily lifestyle. But technology, in the form of telehealth monitoring, is changing all that.

Dotty Fazenbaker, RN, BSN, has seen these results first hand. When it was her job to look at telehealth results, she frequently saw longtime noncompliant patients begin changing their health patterns for the better within a week or two. Fazenbaker is now an implementation manager with Bosch Healthcare, and in a recent webinar on how home health agencies can use telehealth to improve their business, she said the difference is that patients can see their telehealth results daily.

For home care agencies, the opportunities related to telehealth cannot be overstated. With readmission penalties in place and scheduled to ramp up, hospitals and accountable care organization (ACOs) are looking for partners to increase their remote patient monitoring abilities. Agencies are already familiar with the technology and have the infrastructure in place to treat patients in their homes.

Remote patient monitoring benefits ACOs by helping to:

  • Reduce readmissions
  • Provide the right care at the right time in the right place
  • Reduce information gaps between acute care and post-acute care
  • Increase patient engagement
  • Improve their ability to share protocols

Fazenbaker said emphatically that home health agencies should not wait for ACOs to come to them, as this opens up the possibility they’ll create their own systems. Instead, she encourages agencies to approach ACOs with statistics on the lower re-admits, ED visits and home visits that telehealth systems produce, along with details on their well-established, successful use of remote patient monitoring.

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