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Telemedicine Gives Long-Term Care Facilities an Instant Link to Healthcare

Telemedicine platforms like Signature Healthcare's YourDoc2U are reducing costs and improving outcomes in senior and assisted living facilities across the US.

- A telemedicine platform launched by a Kentucky-based long-term healthcare system is poised for growth after officials say it helped one facility decrease costs by 30 percent.

YourDoc2U, a startup created in 2015 by executives at Louisville-based Signature Healthcare, is now being used in 40 Signature LTHC and rehabilitation centers in four states. The company runs some 143 centers in 11 states, and plans to more than double the number of facilities and states using the platform by the end of 2017 – and possibly branch out to other healthcare systems.

“We’re in a hyper-growth mode,” company CEO David Duggins recently told Insider Louisville. “I think we’re just scratching the surface.”

The company is following a tried-and-true business model for telemedicine platforms in senior, assisted living and long-term care facilities: Set aside a kiosk or room with a secure, private audio-visual connection, provide a mobile cart with devices that can capture a patient’s vital signs and transmit them securely, then connect on the other end to a clinician who can conduct a real-time virtual visit. A separate connection allows family members to listen in on the visits.

The telemedicine cart can also be moved to a patient’s room if the patient is incapacitated.

Dorian Goodman, who oversees 12 Signature LTHC facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky, said one 128-patient center saw a roughly 30 percent increase in profits using the telemedicine platform, primarily through reduced transport costs and better medication management.

He said the platform is especially helpful for patients with conditions such as pulmonary disease and dementia, as well as those which might require specialist care and transport to and from a distant hospital.

Telehealth providers are experimenting with a variety of platforms for delivering healthcare to LTHC and assisted living centers. California-based OhmniLabs, launched by a trio of Stanford grads, is putting its zero-touch robots into senior living facilities and even private homes through partnerships with Home Care Assistance of North America (HCA), a national health and homecare provider, and California senior care facilities like The Heritage Pointe in Walnut Creek and Avenidas in Palo Alto.

“We started with the idea of creating an affordable robot for the home environment,” company co-founder and CEO Thuc Vu, told mHealthIntelligence.com earlier this year. “What we saw in (elder care) was that there were no other products like ours.”

Through kiosks, mobile platforms, robots and even specially equipped tablets, healthcare providers serving long-term residents are able to improve outcomes by enabling real-time consults at any time, reducing the need for hospital transports or house calls. This helps not only with regularly scheduled check-ups, but in catching health issues early, before they require more specialized care or even a hospitalization.

Dig Deeper:

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