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Hospital’s Telehealth Program Reduces ER Visits, Treatment Costs

Frederick Memorial Hospital's two-year-old telehealth program for chronic care patients living at home has cut ER visits in half, drastically reduced rehospitalizations and cut treatment costs by about 50 percent.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- A telehealth program launched in 2016 to improve care management for patients with chronic conditions who aren’t in home health care has cut ER visits in half and reduced hospitalizations by almost 90 percent, according to hospital officials.

In addition, the Chronic Care Management Program at Frederick Memorial Hospital has cut the cost of care for these patients by more than 50 percent, the Maryland-based hospital reported. Those numbers have prompted the hospital to expand the program to more patients.

Officials say the remote patient monitoring platform enables providers to forge a bond with patients, improving patient engagement and boosting clinical outcomes.

“Much of CCMP's success is due to the personal relationships we build with our patients as well as the great technology with the telemonitors,” Lisa Hogan, the hospital’s Chronic Care Team Leader, says in a press release. “We call each patient at least weekly and involve them in setting goals for themselves. It is wonderful to see the growth and independence develop as we come alongside them.”

FMH partnered with telemedicine vendor Health Recovery Solutions to launch the program in late 2016. They targeted 150 patients with so-called “high-risk” chronic conditions, such as COPD, chronic heart failure, hypertension and diabetes, who either don’t qualify for home health care or are unwilling to take part in the program for some other reason.

Once enrolled in CCMP, the patients are given a 4G tablet loaded with mHealth software and connected Bluetooth-enabled digital health devices. Care providers at the hospital then monitor those patients on a regular basis, collecting biometric data and communicating with the patients via video, phone or text.

The connected care platform enables providers to identify health issues before they become serious and require emergency care. It also helps providers identify those patients who would benefit from more intensive care, creating a data-driven platform that facilitates the referral process to home health care providers.

Hospital officials said patients spend, on average, 94 days in the program.

FMH charted the progress of patients for one year – six months before entering the program and six months in the program – to come up with cost and cost avoidance statistics. Based on those numbers, the program is due to receive another 50 tablets.

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