Chicago, Ill – In order to provide more personalized care for home-bound and high-risk patients, CommonSpirit Health at Home has expanded its virtual monitoring capabilities to better respond to patients’ needs during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Serving 140,000 of CommonSpirit’s patients in 10 states, Health at Home fast-tracked the launch of the telehealth tools not only to serve COVID-19 patients, but also for high-risk patients who are self-isolating so they have access to biomonitoring capabilities and a delivery service that sends pre-arranged medications.
Just as the U.S. begins to flatten the curve and the country looks to begin reopening in the coming weeks, the health needs of millions of Americans with chronic conditions could continue to strain the health care system. Many high-risk patients have sought to avoid exposure to COVID-19 by forgoing needed treatments for their disease states, thereby exacerbating their conditions during self-isolation. That’s why, more than ever, home-based remote monitoring is going to be an essential component of care.
“Not only does CommonSpirit Health at Home provide another layer of protection and defense to keep vulnerable patients safe, healthy, and in their homes during this pandemic, but it is also going to play a key role in preventing a post-COVID surge at care sites,” said Dan Dietz, CEO and President of CommonSpirit Health at Home. “When we saw COVID-19 on the horizon, we worked quickly to roll out our expanded tele-monitoring tools knowing that our normal methods of care would need to change. Now we can provide our patients and their loved ones with the peace of mind that their care can continue virtually and be safely managed while they are separated.”
Right now, many patients with chronic conditions are physically disconnected from their physicians and concerned about COVID-19 exposure if caregivers come into their home if it’s not absolutely necessary. Coupled with having less-frequent home visits, CommonSpirit Health at Home’s new connected services are providing a higher level of remote care with:
· Telehealth Biometric Monitoring – For patients looking to protect themselves by avoiding acute care facilities, a new mobile app, a voice platform, or a tablet provided by Health at Home remotely connects them with their clinician and caregivers. The technology tracks vital signs and a person’s disease-specific symptoms so their support team can collectively intervene in a timely manner to prevent exacerbation of the condition. The platform addresses additional care needs with automated medication alerts, voice calls sent at specific intervals, surveys of symptoms, and educational videos. Tablets are loaned to patients who would otherwise be unable to participate in remote monitoring.
· Medication Delivery and Management – As many high-risk or chronically ill patients avoid exposure to family members or friends who help set up their daily or weekly dosages, it can be challenging to adhere to a detailed regimen of multiple medications. Health at Home is addressing this need by delivering prepacked envelopes with the date and time of each dosage listed directly to patients’ homes. Their medications are regularly reviewed by a clinical pharmacist and the service also coordinates complicated prescription refills, which often come from multiple providers.
As care sites reopen, Health at Home’s virtual telehealth capabilities are going to be even more important to provide a higher level of care for these patients as they resume regular care for their chronic conditions. Usage of the virtual care services among early adopters since the launch in early April has increased among Health at Home patients.
Offering virtual services for Health at Home patients is also helping CommonSpirit keep its caregivers safe from community transition of COVID-19 and to better steward personal protective equipment (PPE). The tools also allow caregivers to remotely monitor patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 without risking transmitting the virus.
Anyone who has concerns about coronavirus exposure or has mild symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should contact their provider. If someone experiences severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or new confusion, they should seek medical care immediately and let the care team know about their respiratory symptoms.