Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by Samsung.
Providers and insurers have a financial stake in keeping patients out of the hospital. To do so, they need accurate, up-to-date patient information and the ability to quickly share that data with different members of their team. Not only does this take the right software, but also the right device.
Half of all American adults — about 117 million people — suffer from one or more chronic health conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, many of which are preventable or highly treatable. These individuals account for the vast majority of all healthcare spending — funds that could be saved with better preventative care and disease management.
With the use of telemonitoring in the home healthcare sector, organizations can now capture previously inaccessible in-home patient data with the help of tablet-equipped home health aides; which has produced an annual savings of $3,000 per member. To keep at-risk patients healthy while minimizing costs, healthcare providers need to take a team-based approach on how to effectively use this new technology and achieve both goals.
Look at a typical routine example of an aide’s day: The home health aides will visit patients who have chronic diseases to capture biometric data and record their observations. They must then communicate this data with care managers, who coordinate any necessary medical intervention. Because each care manager remotely oversees more than 100 patients, they need accurate and immediate information from the health aides who interact with these individuals on a regular basis.
Without a complete picture of each patient’s symptoms and condition, it’s hard for care managers to make good decisions and respond to potential health threats before there’s a real problem. With the daunting task of making sure all necessary information is communicated back in a timely manner, implementing the proper program on an easy-to-use mobile device is key for all members in the process to do their job efficiently and effectively while also improving patient engagement scores and helping the organization save money.
Organizations need to invest in the proper software and cloud-based applications that will facilitate communication between a patient’s entire care team on the proper device that has a highly secure architecture and is also easy-to-use for consumers and employees.
Both of these items together will make it easier for aides to record patient behaviors, mental and physical state, vital signs and medication adherence in real-time. In a case study involving eCaring, a real-time patient monitoring platform, and mobile provider Samsung, they were able to utilize Samsung tablets for their business and point-of-care.
The case study involved more than 350 participants over a year’s time and with that many people, Samsung was able to provide mobile devices on a large-scale deployment. When deciding to choose a phone or larger device, a 9.6’ Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablets with front and back facing cameras were chosen. The larger tablet screens made it easier to navigate the icon-based software and view images better. Cameras are essential for clinical photography and documentation.
The tablets also had a long battery life of at least eight hours, which could allow the aide to do multiple visits with no need to stop and recharge throughout the day. Using the Samsung tablets in conjunction with eCaring’s software have opened the line of communication between caretakers and management by allowing for immediate response and suggestions while also educating the patients more quickly on their health.
1. Real-time data: In the past, care managers had to wait for health aides to finish their rounds and upload patient data after appointments. Now aides can use designated tablets to enter data from each patient’s bedside. Care managers have real-time access to this information, enabling them to intervene more quickly when members need additional support.
2. Actionable alerts: The software is customized for each disease and individual, and sends alerts to care managers when data is outside healthy parameters for a specific patient or when there are negative trends. So far, the system is generating an average of two alerts per member per month. Because the device offers actionable alerts, care managers are able to respond quickly to patients at the point of care.
3. Empowered employees: Health aides are the company’s first line of defense, and the telemonitoring technology helps them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. As one care manager put it, “eCaring opens the lines of communication and empowers the aide to be a part of the member’s total care. It also enables aides to communicate with the healthcare team and have some feeling of responsibility for members and their health.”
4. Client satisfaction: Organizations’ patient engagement and overall customer satisfaction moves in a more positive trend since they can now offer better care and disease management education.
5. Decreased hospitalizations: Once the implementation of the solution on the device is complete and being used, overtime, insurers start to report an average of seven prevented hospitalizations per month across a population of 200 to 250 patients.
Pamela Hall, COO for eCaring stated: “…tablets set the industry standard in providing top-level customization and control of hardware and software via APIs…tablets also [need to be] certified to communicate on a broad range of cellular networks…we are able to bring the benefits of digital, Internet-based services to individuals without broadband access.”
Proper programs on usable devices have increased efficiency and the ability to meet new and growing program demands and patient transactions. The potential is endless on having access to tools, such as mobile devices and healthcare software that can help Americans live more connected yet independent and healthy lives.