VNA of Cape Cod Offers Leading Home Health Technology to Area Residents
— In-home Telemonitoring Devices Used as Preventative Medicine to Reduce Repeat Hospitalizations and ER Visits —
Through the use of in-home telemonitoring technology, patients of the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Cape Cod are getting a checkup every day in the comfort of their homes. Currently there are nearly 300 monitors in the field, improving the lives and clinical outcomes for patients.
The Honeywell HomMed Health Monitoring System enables the VNA to deliver high-quality care to patients by providing feedback with daily, real-time clinical information regarding trends in patient’s health status.
In-home telemonitoring uses telecommunications devices, about the size of an alarm clock, placed in patients’ homes to take their vital signs every day. The technology allows for early intervention when a health problem is detected, helping prevent emergency room visits and re-hospitalizations. It also improves communication with the patient’s physician by providing trend reports as needed.
When patients’ vital signs are taken daily, irregularities can be caught before they become full-fledged problems. Daily monitoring helps eliminate the two or three-day gaps of information that typically occur between home visits. Patients also become more aware of their condition and understand the effects diet, activity and other factors have on their health.
The system gives patients and their families peace of mind because they know someone is always aware of their condition, even on days of no visits.
The monitors are considered to be part of the “standard of care” at the VNA. Every day, in just three minutes, the telemonitor collects a variety of vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and body weight.
The system also gathers subjective health information, which further assists in evaluating the patient’s condition. The monitor can be programmed to ask up to 10 “yes” / “no” questions in 11 languages. Question sets can be tailored specifically for each patient based on his or her diagnosis. For example, a patient with high blood pressure might be asked, “Are you experiencing any dizziness today?”
The data are transmitted via a telephone line for review by clinicians. Each patient has a pre-programmed set of limits for their individual vital sign readings. If those limits are broken, an alert appears on the computer screen. This allows the clinician to quickly prioritize which patients require first response. With this system, healthcare professionals can detect and address even the slightest abnormalities before they become serious.
A study by the federal government’s Agency for Health Care Research Quality (AHRQ) found that about 70 percent of all health care expenditures are related to chronic disease. These monitors are ideal for patients with chronic health conditions, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, high blood pressure and other illnesses.
The monitors are helping patients stay safe, healthy and independent at home. If you’re interested in finding out more, call the VNA at 508-957-7400.