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Mobile Healthcare Monitoring, A Stress and Cost Reducer

Published on June 16th, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Many people suffer from chronic medical conditions that require constant hospitalization unless perfectly monitored. These patients are often in and out of hospitals, incurring massive bills and high levels of stress. A similar situation occurs for patients recovering from high risk procedures; often they are hospitalized for a long time post-surgery because they do not posses the monitoring equipment at home to stay on top of their recovery. Thus the hospital bills exponentially increase and the patient is more and more inconvenienced. They are also taking up beds in hospitals that are often over capacity. Hospitals are full to bursting, and these patients take up a space that a more urgent patient could use. Additionally, this in and out of the hospital type of situation is often more taxing than helpful. Older patients recovering from serious surgery, or who have chronic diseases, often find the constant change and commotion of being in and out of hospitals to be exhausting and ultimately detrimental to their health.

This was the thinking behind a new study released by Vidant Health in North Carolina, who used an elaborate, yet understandable in-home monitoring system for a selection of discharged patients. The hospital system took a group of cardiovascular disease patients, a high risk disease that often requires high expense, and offered them in-home monitoring after they were discharged. Monitoring equipment was set up by a trained professional in the patient’s house, which the patient then checked once daily. The patient recorded the daily findings, which were then accessed remotely by a TeleHealth nurse. The nurse could then contact the patient’s doctor, as recorded on the patient’s Electronic Health Record, if there was an issue with the data or an emergency. The program was highly successful, with a 71.5% drop in hospitalizations, a 68% drop in the amount of days spent in the hospital, and an estimated 68% drop in costs for the patients.  Patients asked during the middle of the study reported their satisfaction with the new form of care. The system was successful at its main goal – reducing the stress and cost of constant hospitalization. However it also displayed a promising avenue of mobile healthcare, the monitoring aspect of healthcare that is made easier when it is mobile.

An in-home monitoring system, connecting convalescing patients with specific TeleHealth nurses in a simple, low-key way is an excellent example of the prominent benefits of mobile healthcare. With mobile healthcare, cheaper care does not equal lower quality care, a remarkable fact. In a program such as the one studied by Vidant Health, hospital beds and ER lines are freed up, leaving the patients who would be subject to constant hospitalization comfortably recuperating at home. Mobile healthcare used in this way provides benefits to patients and hospitals alike, reducing cost and stress for both parties.

 
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