The Role of a Wireless Patient Monitoring System for At Home Care
Among the many benefits being brought to the healthcare service by wireless patient monitoring is the facility to escalate home care for both chronic and acute conditions.
Physicians have long recognized the benefits of care at home but hospitals have been reluctant to send acute patients home because it would have impacted on their revenue under the fee-for-service model. Now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have removed that obstacle by introducing the Acute Hospital Care At Home waiver, the road is clear for home care to grow apace. And wireless patient monitoring is making it possible.
Benefits of care at home
Certain practical benefits of caring for patients at home have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include freeing up hospital beds and keeping vulnerable patients away from possible further infection.
Further to these, home care has been shown to have a demonstrative benefit on speed of recovery and the overall cost of treatment. Patients take more interest in their own care, fewer appointments are missed, fewer journeys necessitated, and fewer medical staff required to manage the same number of patients.
With a relatively low equipment cost and a much higher level of patient comfort than that afforded by the legacy wired monitoring devices, wireless patient monitoring enables physicians to monitor numerous patients at once, with a high level of patient engagement and a seamless flow of data.
Using artificial intelligence to detect deteriorations in patient condition as indicated by the data, early interventions can be effected without physicians having to be on constant alert. The economic benefits are substantial. One study put the average cost of patient care at home 38% lower than for those receiving care in hospital.
Acute and chronic care at home
Care at home promises significant benefits for patients requiring both acute care and chronic care. The type of patients who would benefit from acute care at home are cases who would ordinarily be admitted to the Emergency Department for round-the-clock observation, or those with managed chronic conditions who have an acute event. Typical conditions include wound care, pediatric cancer, pneumonia, CHF, COPD and UTIs.
Devices like VitalStream are proven to be highly effective for monitoring ECG, pulse oximetry, blood pressure and other vital signs applicable in the observation of acute conditions.
Patients with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, mental disorders, and disabilities like visual impairment take up 75% of the healthcare spend in the US. Even so, they face a high level of risk due to insufficient education on their condition and being left unmonitored between check-ups.
With wireless patient monitoring at home, patients become fully engaged in their own care, are never left unmonitored and are spared the cost and inconvenience of having to attend routine consultations – as are health services.
A further benefit is the increased confidence patients derive from knowing they are constantly in direct contact with their physician. They feel more inclined to leave the house and pursue healthy activities that can improve their mental and physical condition and help to mitigate some of the secondary impacts of chronic diseases, such as absenteeism.
How it works
VitalStream is a simple, wearable device, lightweight, small and comfortable. It is very easy to install and set up.
The patient is connected wirelessly via a tablet or smartphone to the healthcare team monitoring their condition. Continuous, beat-by-beat data enables physicians to identify changes in the patient’s condition as soon as they occur, so early intervention can be made. If necessary, they can be brought in to hospital for further treatment.
Once the acute event has passed, the device can be returned and redeployed for a new patient. Or, where the patient has a chronic condition, they continue to wear the device and maintain their usual monitoring.
With the burden on hospitals forecast to increase as populations grow in numbers and age and the number of qualified physicians falls proportionally, home care will play a more and more important role in the structure of healthcare. Thanks to wireless patient monitoring, not only will the burden be eased, but the outcomes for patients will improve too.
For more information on VitalStream, contact Caretaker on +1 434-978-7000