Telehealth patient engagement program improves orthopedic outcomes

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/orthocare_06.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]VOX Telehealth‘s patient engagement program with Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, which was announced back in January [TTA 12 Jan], published results for its pilot last month, and they appear to be outstanding. VOX’s model is ‘episode of care’, over a 90-120 day span starting 30 days prior to surgery to 60-90 days post-procedure; the online/tablet platform delivers educational content, reminders and notes on potential symptoms that ties into a customizable by patient alert escalation and notification system. The goal is to reduce post-discharge complications and readmissions, in this case for hip and knee replacement patients, through managing expectations and better preparation by the patient. And the results reported are encouraging:

  • 92 percent of enrolled patients were discharged directly to home–the US average is only 30 percent
  • Length of stay dropped to 1.6 days, nearly 50 percent lower than the US average of 3.7 days. It is lower than Bon Secours’ average of two days.
  • There were 0 readmissions after 30 days, compared to the US average of 6 percent
  • Patient satisfaction was also high: (more…)

Integrating spiritual care into healthcare: conference (US)

2015 Caring for the Human Spirit, 20-22 April, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando Florida

The Health Care Chaplaincy Network (HCCN), which we’ve recently profiled in ‘Chaplain Care for Veterans’, has been integrating online and tele-consultative (email, phone and video chat) resources into spiritual and mental health care in chaplaincy service. This year’s conference highlights include a workshop on TeleChaplaincy: The Online Practice of Professional Chaplaincy. Featured speakers are primarily from the US, but include The Rev. John Swinton, University of Aberdeen, King’s College School of Divinity. Conference registration is also available for a real-time webcast of all sessions and workshops. Brochure  Previously: Patient engagement meets ‘palliative care’ in a care plan pilot with VOX Telehealth [Disclosure: Editor Donna is a volunteer on the HCCN’s marketing advisory council.]

VOX Telehealth rolls out orthopedic pre/post-procedure service

Pre/post-procedure education and monitoring service VOX Telehealth launched their OrthoCare Program at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. OrthoCare was developed in conjunction with The St. Mary’s Orthopedic Institute for total hip and knee replacement procedures and provides a ‘patient care plan’ with specific educational content for the patient to prepare for the procedure and what to expect during recovery. The plan also includes patient reminders and symptomatic observations tied into a customizable alert escalation and notification system. The goal is to reduce post-discharge complications and readmissions. If this sounds ‘soft’, Stephanie Baum at MedCityNews makes two excellent points: joint replacement surgery is one of Medicare’s largest expenditures, and that ‘companies centered on navigating healthcare systems was the third largest target of digital health investments last year, according to stats from a StartUp Health report published in December.’ VOX release

Related: Patient engagement meets ‘palliative care’

Unhappy endings: where even innovation cannot make a difference

This week’s sad news of the death of comedian/film star Robin Williams and his ongoing battles with addiction and depression are the center of this thoughtful article by EIC Veronica Combs in MedCityNews. Even with access to the best care and innovations such as virtual visits, Mr Williams committed suicide. The larger point made is that access and healthcare innovation don’t mean automatic adoption or a positive outcome. Some of those with chronic physical or mental illnesses choose not to change their behaviors, comply with a regimen or even to seek help, much less seek out technology or be a QSer. And some are simply beaten down and depressed by the perpetual Battle of Stalingrad that is chronic disease–ask any diabetic [TTA 5 Apr 2013]. Her conclusion is that though innovation may not help everyone, it doesn’t mean we should not pursue it. And, this Editor would add, for developers to realize that they must make technologies simple and affordable enough–‘tear down that wall’–so that those who won’t access help become fewer. (And, yes, there is a spiritual aspect of care that must be addressed–see VOX Telehealth’s work with HealthCare Chaplaincy Network TTA 25 July.)

Update:  Other factors may have tipped Mr Williams’ depression flare-up. The first (more…)

Funding, granting and executive moves

Summer hasn’t been beach holiday time for some of the companies we’ve been following….Genetic testing for the masses 23andMe, only last fall in much hot water with FDA (but recently making nice–TTA 2 July), received a two-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes for Health (NIH). iHealthBeat….’Smart pill’ developer Proteus Digital Health received a Series G round of $52 million, adding to a June round of $120 million. Investors not disclosed, but Proteus currently has a blue-chip list including Novartis, Medtronic and Kaiser. BusinessWire….Pre/post-procedure education and recovery monitoring service VOX Telehealth received another $1.1 million round of angel financing primarily from original investors, preliminary to an institutional round of financing in 1st Quarter 2015. Release….HealthSpot Station is reinforcing its retail reach (more…)

Patient engagement meets ‘palliative care’

Restoring the ‘human connection’ in patient engagement.  Pre/post-procedure education and monitoring service VOX Telehealth [TTA 23 May] is partnering with spiritual care counsel provider HealthCare Chaplaincy Network [TTA 2 Aprand clinical teams from Northwestern University (Illinois) and the Princeton (New Jersey) Medical Center to develop the PalliativeCare Program. The VOX program is designed to blend health education and coordination support not only around a care plan for a specific disease but also for decision making, caregiver coordination, and necessary spiritual support and social services. It’s an interesting approach that combines online/mobile communications, telehealth and social services/ministry. HCCN’s inclusion in the program is not surprising as they have been transforming from a chaplain training resource for those ministering to patients and families in hospitals to providing spiritual care and resources directly online (via ChaplainsOnHand) for the seriously/chronically ill and their families. VOX release  [Disclosure: Editor Donna is a volunteer on the HCCN’s marketing advisory council.]  

A random walk through ATA 2014

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ATA_Button_color_filled.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] Editor Donna attended ATA 2014 on Monday only. This article is a set of impressions (mainly) of the exhibit floor and visits to a number of select booths.

Donna, it’s Baltimore. You’re not in NYC or Las Vegas.

Arriving after a long trip to a city you used to visit regularly, but haven’t been to in over 30 years, is disorienting, especially when you are heading on a fair spring day to a section that didn’t exist then. The Inner Harbor and Camden Yards resemble Atlanta, not necessarily a bad thing since the parts of ‘Charm City’ they replaced were largely past ‘gentrification’. The Baltimore Convention Center was unexpectedly huge, the distance to registration made longer by a taxi driver who dropped me off at another entrance two blocks away. Any resolve I had to drop in on the many educational sessions was dissuaded by the sheer length of the halls. The thick Exhibit Guide confirmed that the show floor filled two city blocks–a challenge to cover and spend time with my appointments before the close of the day.

Was it a hardware show, a software show or somewhere in between?

You could make a case for both views. One observer I walked with at the start compared it to a radiology trade show–all hardware. Yet a closer look indicated that the hardware–the PCs, tablets and smartphones–was there to show software that integrated: systems to track patients, distribute information, workflows, store and forward images and reports. It was about enabling secure consults, platforms, interoperability, two-way data flows, mitigating readmissions and putting telehealth, telemedicine and education into provider and patient hands. It was also about making the business case. It was most definitely NOT about gadgets and single purpose peripherals, though the latter were still quite visible. The old picture of telehealth closed systems, of proprietary monitoring devices feeding data onto a proprietary PC platform where it’s seen by a care manager, is so 2011.

Noteworthy: the growth in specialized services like telepsychiatry, teleneurology, teleradiology and teledermatology. Contrast: despite VGo‘s ubiquitous telepresence robots accosting you on the floor, a tablet-faced robot following a nurse down the hospital hall and ‘consulting’ with patients will likely still be a rarity.

Patient engagement on top

Traditional telehealth device makers are connecting their devices and opening up their reporting platforms to be accessible to patients. But there are bumps along the way in this transition. A&D Medical has gone ‘Wellness Connected’ with a mobile app (more…)