Devices & Technology

Telemonitoring Systems Bring Health Care Home

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By Suzi Birz, principal, HiQ Analytics, LLC, contributor

In his blog, Jon Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), cited studies indicating that home-based telemonitoring using mobile phones and other remote monitoring improves outcomes, while reducing hospital admissions and total days of care.

Linkous defines telemedicine as “interactive videoconferencing, remote monitoring, consumer-based wireless health, remote interpretation of medical images and internet-based medical education.”

The technology used by patients to transmit information to clinicians has attracted a number of vendors to the marketplace. One recent entrant is Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corporation.

Health Guide
The Intel® Health Guide combines an in-home patient device as well as an online interface. Photo courtesy of Intel®.

The Intel® Health Guide combines an in-home patient device with an online interface to provide communication through video conferencing between nurses and patients, connect monitoring devices to collect vital signs and other patient readings, provide reports allowing nurses to prioritize cases and create a personalized care plan for each patient, and allow patients to view education materials.

“The solution is based on Intel research that found social connectedness, changing patient behavior, and engaging patients to be some of the most important features that should be considered when designing a personal health system,” explained Rhonda Chetney, MSN, RN, director of clinical support services at Intel. “We enable these actions with video conferencing, nursing care plans that are customized to patient behavior and telehealth sessions that engage the patient.”

ProActive Healthcare in Cincinnati, Ohio, an in-home health care organization, is offering the Intel® Health Guide as part of their services to increase their patients’ quality of life through proactive care and intervention, while allowing them to maintain their independence in the comfort of their own home.

The collected data enables trending which is used in the face-to-face conference calls and in customizing the care plans.

“Communication with the patient occurs via teleconferencing if the patient has the appropriate connection or via telephone and data from the monitoring equipment that is used to guide the call,” explained Chris Disimile, RN, telehealth nurse manager of ProActive Healthcare. “ProActive is collecting heart rate, blood pressure, weight and blood oxygenation using a pulse oximeter and accepts input from three glucometers.”

Health Guide
The Intel® Health Guide allows clinicians to monitor patients in their homes and manage care remotely. Photo courtesy of Intel®.

“If the data goes outside physician-set parameters or trends in the wrong direction, the nurse can contact the patient or physician immediately based on the care model,” said Disimile. “Through daily monitoring and trending data, we are able to facilitate interventions before the person progresses toward hospitalization.”

“Monitoring of chronic diseases, including congestive heart failure, COPD and diabetes, can improve quality of life,” said Disimile. “This is not replacing the clinician or home health nurses; rather it provides a way to have continuous monitoring.”

“In addition to heart disease, COPD and diabetes, Intel has found an interest in the technology for monitoring patients with increased obstetrical risk, dementia, childhood asthma, and palliative care and post-cardiac surgical patients,” noted Linda Kenworthy, P.Eng, Intel’s business development manager. “The interest is coming from home care facilities, visiting home agencies, and providers and payors – all wanting to extend or broaden their reach to the patient’s home and monitor recovery, at-risk patients or chronic diseases.”

“The nurses monitoring the data can change the sessions each day to address patient behavior and aid in engaging the patient and fending off boredom,” stated Chetney. “The sessions can include videos and education materials that address recent changes in health status.”

Linkous’s blog noted that “Telemedicine is not a separate specialty. In fact, many successful applications of telemedicine are simply folded into the normal clinical practice.”

Telehealth solutions for monitoring patients at home and assisting with disease management are also provided by McKesson Telehealth AdvisorPhillips Medical Telehealth SolutionsTouchPointCareViterion TeleHealthcare.

Read more:
American Telemedicine Association
Intel in Healthcare

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