SARASOTA, Fla. – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has launched an indoor wayfinding app that uses global positioning technology. Developed by software company LogicJunction in partnership with IndoorAtlas, the hospital’s SMH Wayfinder app uses the digital compass and sensors inside smart phones and the magnetic footprint found inside buildings to help people pinpoint their exact location indoors and easily find their way around the multi-level towers on its 1.5 million square-foot main campus. “As technology evolves and improves, this is another tool we can offer to ease anxiety and help people get to where they need to go,” said David Verinder, CEO of Sarasota Memorial, in a statement. SMH also worked with LogicJunction recently to install touchscreen kiosks in its lobbies to help direct people to various locations and points of interest on its main campus. Visitors can print, email or text themselves maps and directions directly from the kiosk. The health system also developed an informational app to help people locate SMH doctors and services throughout the region, as well as personal health apps to help women track pregnancy milestones and allow clinicians to monitor patients.
CHICAGO – Rush University Medical Center has begun using medication containing an ingestible sensor from Proteus Digital Health to help patients manage hypertension. The smart pill, called Proteus Discover, works together with a mobile app and wearable sensor patch. “Some patients take multiple medications a day, and during busy times a patient may forget to take their required dose that is important for managing a chronic health condition, or multiple conditions,” said Dr. Anthony Perry, vice president for population health and ambulatory services at Rush, in a statement. “If that happens with Proteus Discover, the patient will receive a text notification of the missed dose. Perry said Rush is the first health care provider in Illinois to offer Proteus Discover, and one of only eight health systems across the country using the innovative medication.
BOSTON – Boston Children’s Hospital and Duke Health System have developed an app to help families organize and monitor their children’s health.
The Caremap app enables family caregivers to securely store vital medical information and share it with health professionals as part of their care or in an emergency. Families can also use the app to track health metrics important to them and gain insights to inform their child’s care.
“We wanted to provide a trusted and much-needed resource that would harness the patient voice and family perspective,” said Dr. Michael Docktor, the Caremap app clinical lead and clinical director of innovation at Boston Children’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator, where the app was developed, in a statement. “The ability to track custom parameters provides an important window into patients’ lives that is not captured in the electronic health record, but is important to families.”
The app was built using the Apple CareKit framework and will benefit children with complex medical needs. Using Caremap, families can give medical providers critical information such as allergies, medical equipment they rely on and emergency action plans, by showing them the app or sending a PDF snapshot via email.
Day to day, families can track parameters like exercise, mood, pain and sleep, as well as add custom metrics of their choice, like school attendance or temper tantrums. They can view the data in colorful graphs to see trends and patterns.
Caremap uses the Connect module for caregivers to share data and communications with the patient’s care team, including doctors, other health care professionals, family and other loved ones.
“Effectively managing communication between numerous providers who care for a child with medical complexity can be a full time job for parents,” said Dr. David Ming, Caremap clinical and director of Duke Children’s Complex Care Service, in a statement. “The priority with Caremap is not only to organize relevant clinical details, but also to highlight the overall care goals. These features make this a particularly exciting opportunity to improve care for children with medical complexity.”
The development team at Boston Children’s and Duke plans to add more functions over time. Their first goal is to connect Caremap to Cerner and Epic, the two largest electronic medical systems, via the FHIR interoperability interface. Eventually, they plan to add secure cloud connectivity.
KENOSHA, Wis. – Congestive heart failure patients in Southeastern Wisconsin will finally be able to benefit from Bluetooth-connected blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and scales through a new patient engagement and remote monitoring program set to go live in August.
The Kenosha Visiting Nurse Association has replaced its previous patient monitoring program with new technology from Health Recovery Solutions, making it the first agency in the state to offer such a program.
“Currently we depend on the patient to call us when they notice something is off,” said Shannon Ziglinski, clinical director of Kenosha VNA. “Unfortunately, when and if they do finally call, it’s usually too close to being too late to avoid hospitalization.”
A local grant is funding the implementation of the HRS system and its operation for the first year.
Kenosha VNA will track the program’s success with data from the HRS platform—Ziglinski is confident it will result in cost savings through reduced hospital readmissions.
“We’re positive decreases are coming,” she said.
Ziglinski said the agency is beginning the program with a trial phase of about 20 patients with CHF, eventually bumping up to cover the agency’s daily census of about 120 patients. They hope to expand to cover patients with COPD and diabetes in the future.
Each patient in the program will receive a customized care plan and a tablet to monitor their symptoms and vitals in real-time, as well as to contact clinicians and family members through video visits, phone calls and text messages.
Patient data will be sent through the cloud to a clinical dashboard, where the agency can monitor the patient and pull data to track progress. Family members and other caregivers can also help monitor and engage patients through a mobile app that allows them to track care plan compliance.
“Our nurses are not usually in a patient’s home every day, and definitely not all day every day,” Ziglinski said. “For us, this platform means we can check up on our patients’ progress at any time, every single day.”
PHILADELPHIA – Patients gave positive feedback for video visits with their primary care providers as part of a study conducted at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
“Patients identified convenience, efficiency, communication, privacy, and comfort as domains that are potentially important to consider when assessing video visits versus in-person encounters,” said the study’s authors, who outlined their findings recently in the Annals of Family Medicine.
All 19 participating patients reported overall satisfaction with video visits, with the majority interested in continuing to use video visits as an alternative to in-person visits. Some patients felt more comfortable with video visits than office visits and expressed a preference for receiving future serious news via video visit, because they could be in their own supportive environment.
Primary concerns with video visits were privacy, including the potential for work colleagues to overhear conversations, and questions about the ability of the clinician to perform an adequate physical examination.
The researchers found that video visits were acceptable in a variety of situations and that future studies should explore which patients and conditions are best suited for video visits.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire has switched vendors to introduce an upgraded patient monitoring program focused on reducing readmissions for high-risk patients and improving quality of care.
“We really want patients and their families to understand their part in the process and help them understand their chronic disease,” said Linda Martin-Heaney, clinical manager at the VNA of MSNH.
A new software platform designed by Health Recovery Solutions has been in place for about three months. The system uses Samsung tablets that pair with Bluetooth-enabled devices like scales, blood pressure cuffs and/or pulse oximeters. It features a mobile app and integrates with a portal on the agency’s end. All data captured through the devices is sent to the clinical team in real-time. The devices also trigger alerts for patients at high risk of a medical emergency.
Martin-Heaney said the HRS system is different from the platform the agency was using previously because it features cloud-based technology that is easy to set up and use, and doesn’t experience interference from other technology that may be in the home.
“The platform is really built to cover the gamut of users,” she said. “People who are technology-resistant have no trouble using it, but those who are tech-savvy can use more advanced features like report generating, text messaging or educational videos.”
While Martin-Heaney didn’t get down to an actual figure, she said the cost of the HRS system is equivalent to what the agency has spent on the previous platform.
“It’s an investment we’re happy to make for our patients,” she said.
There is no cost to patients for the technology, and the program is currently serving about 15 patients. It’s too soon to gauge the impact of the program, Martin-Heaney said, but the initial feedback on the new technology has been positive from both agency staff and patients.
“This is really just a newer solution to the age-old problem of helping people to stay healthy and manage their conditions at home, where they want to be,” she said.
NEW YORK – Northwell Health will leverage a new partnership with wearable technology company Peerbridge Health to pioneer the future of remote medial monitoring.
Peerbridge Health technology enables remote patient monitoring through multiple on-body wireless sensors.
“Our collaboration with Peerbridge Health is part of our overarching strategy to introduce disruptive technologies that will help shape the future of health care delivery,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care provider, with 22 hospitals and more than 550 outpatient facilities that care for more than 2 million people annually.
Northwell Health and Peerbridge Health conducted a clinical trial earlier this year to test the Peerbridge Cor, a compact, lightweight, multi-channel electrocardiogram monitor, comparing it to other cardiovascular monitors.
“The trial demonstrated that this technology was superior to the current standard,” said Dr. Nicholas Skipitaris, chief of electrophysiology at Lenox Hill Hospital.
To get ahead of the growth in patient demand, an increasing number of providers are looking for more efficient monitoring like Peerbridge to improve treatment and deliver better outcomes, which also has the potential to significantly reduce expenses, said Arthur Bertolero, CEO of Peerbridge Health, in a statement.
“Our vision is to help consumers partner with their physicians through easily accessible remote monitoring options,” Bertolero said.
PHILADELPHIA – It already has one of the most advanced telehealth programs in the country and now Jefferson Health is further integrating technology into patient care with an upgraded platform and plans for an education and research center.
Already, JeffConnect, the health system’s telehealth program, provides care via smartphone app, tablet or computer. The program also uses virtual rounds to allow family members to participate in inpatient physician visits via video.
Recently, the health system finalized an agreement with Teladoc, a telehealth company that uses phone and videoconferencing technology to provide on-demand remote medical care, for custom software platforms to support its program.
“Jefferson Health is committed to using the right technologies that will enhance the patient experience and deliver greater value,” said Dr. Judd Hollander, associate dean for strategic health initiatives at Jefferson Health. “The technology makes the services relevant—there’s no reason why we can’t communicate with patients using the basic technology that we all use every day.”
With six colleges, nine hospitals and 34 outpatient and urgent care locations that serve millions of patients each year, Jefferson Health’s commitment to telehealth is also driving the system to establish the National Academic Center for Telehealth. The center will serve as a regional, national and international hub for innovative research and educational initiatives using technology to improve health, said Hollander.
“One of the biggest problems with telehealth is that everyone thinks it’s great, but no one can prove it,” he said. “With the NACT we plan to develop an evidence base for when and where it’s right to use telehealth.”
Hollander said the NACT will also train physicians on how to use telehealth but still remember things like the importance of eye contact when treating a patient.
“Telehealth has historically been driven largely by vendors and has lost its academic flair,” he said. “We want to figure out what works for the patients, rather than what works for the vendors.”
SALT LAKE CITY – Intermountain Healthcare is changing the way it monitors chronic wounds with technology from Tissue Analytics.
Tissue Analytics allows clinicians to measure a wound using a mobile app and a cloud-based platform. They can snap a photo of the wound and, through a set of algorithms, record data about its shape and color.
“This technology allows us to put the patient at the center of the care,” said Todd Dunn, director of innovation at Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system based here. “We feel like this is our next evolution.”
Intermountain Healthcare began the process of integrating the Tissue Analytics software last year when it rolled out a proof-of-concept study, followed by a 16-week pilot in several of the health system’s clinics. The software is now integrated with Intermountain’s Cerner electronic health record system, across 22 hospitals, eight outpatient wound clinics and its home care program.
Point-of-care data is stored in the cloud for access by doctors or nurses to track the wound’s progress and make recommendations.
“We have a number of organizations using this technology, including visiting nurse associations and home health care agencies,” said Dr. Gabriel Brat, co-founder of Tissue Analytics. “It is designed to be intuitive and easy to use across the continuum of care.”
Brat explained that when it comes to the wound monitoring space, home health care and inpatient care have historically been separate.
“We knew we needed to integrate the communication and tracking across all spaces,” he said.
Dunn said that integrating the Tissue Analytics software is helping Intermountain Healthcare gain a more longitudinal understanding of the wound and makes their team—from home health care to outpatient clinic to inpatient care—more coordinated.
“We’ll be able to provide more timely, integrated care and we believe the healing times of wounds will improve,” he said.
DALLAS – Home health technology company Axxess is introducing a program to “Uberize” the process of connecting home health agencies with qualified clinicians.
“We’re confident AxxessCARE is going to revolutionize the delivery of home health care in the same way Uber has transformed the transportation industry,” said John Olajide, president and CEO of Axxess.
AxxessCARE is integrated with AgencyCore, the company’s secure, HIPAA-compliant software program, to allow agencies to post needed clinician visits. Through the AxxessCARE mobile app, clinicians can then apply to conduct visits, after they have completed background checks and license verifications. Agencies will have the flexibility to review and select the most appropriate clinician for each posted visit.
Axxess is testing AxxessCARE in a pilot program with agencies and clinicians in the Dallas-Forth Worth area over the next few months before introducing it to the entire industry.
“AxxessCARE is intuitive, easy to use and a logical next step to meet the needs of agencies and clinicians to modernize the delivery of health care in the home,” said Olajide.