When the federal government began placing increased financial pressure on hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, there was significant pushback. Many hospitals — especially those in poorer regions of the country — complained that this would impact their bottom line too much and cause them to no longer offer support for everyone who needed it.
In the years since, hospitals have turned to technology and partnerships with home care agencies and other providers. Many realized that having access to home care nurses, aides, and other supports dramatically improves care, recovery, and quality of life after discharge from the hospital.
Technology has played a significant role in helping hospitals reduce their readmission rates, including monitoring devices such as Sentara’s telehealth program that has been improving post discharge care.
According to the Stamford Advocate blog, Sentara Home Care Employs Telehealth to Reduce Hospital Readmissions, a PRWeb news release:
“Patients are enrolled in Sentara’s telehealth program following a direct physician referral or home health nurse assessment. Once enrolled, patients receive a 4G tablet, pre-loaded with HRS’ software, and a suite of Bluetooth devices to record their vital signs, including weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. Via the tablet, patients also have access to educational videos and quizzes, daily symptom surveys, and medication reminders. Patient data, from biometric readings to survey and quiz answers, are forwarded in real-time from the patient’s tablet to the clinicians’ dashboard at Sentara’s central office.”
Some elderly men and women may struggle to utilize technology, but with the right support — through visiting nurses and home health care aides — they can grow in confidence to be able to use these technological devices and stay on top of their health post-discharge.
The article went on to note:
“Sentara’s centralized care model places a dedicated team of nurses at the core of the care team. The primary responsibility of the nursing team is to monitor the vital signs and health status of patients on the telehealth program. The telehealth nurses collaborate directly with nurses and physicians when an intervention is required to mitigate a patient’s symptoms or prevent an ED visit or hospitalization.”
Utilizing an effective care model, which includes valuable team members, the impact of hospital readmissions can be significantly reduced, thus improving quality of care and costs for the overall health care system in the country.
As more home care agencies tap into the growing opportunities within telehealth and connect with hospitals, doctors, and other providers, they can help elderly and disabled patients receive more effective post discharge care and help reduce readmission rates even more.
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