Lakewood Telemedicine Update

Our telemonitoring project is going very well with all our units in patient’s homes.  A day like today, with a winter storm blowing outside and prioritized staff visits,  highlights one advantage of telemonitoring .  Our nurses can “see” how our patients are doing by their vital signs monitor and the answers the patient gives to tailored questions like: “Are you having more problems breathing today than normal?” or ” Do you need your clinician to call you?”   The patient can be seen on days that they need to be, instead of every Monday or twice a week. 

A number of our telemonitoring patients have stated they feel more in control of their healthcare as they track their vital signs and are reminded daily which symptoms to report to the nurse.  Telemonitoring becomes part of their daily routine. 

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of presenting our telemedicine project to some of the attendees at the Connected Communities Conference in Eden Prairie.  At the conference, I had a number of session participants ask about the efficacy of telemonitoring.   Health care journals, over the last 7 years, have documented phenomenal improvements in patient outcomes through the use of telemonitoring.  The Veterans Administration has thousands of telemonitoring units across the country in veteran’s homes.  Many health insurance companies are putting their own units in patient’s homes because of the proven reduction in hospitalizations and emergent care. 

I am including some websites with research articles on the benefits of home telemonitoring.  http://www.hommed.com/Results/Clinical-Data.asp  

http://www.alexianbrothershealth.org/pdf/telehealth%20program.pdf

This website: www.healthcareitnews.com has many articles about Home Care agencies adopting telemonitoring to improve patient outcomes for people with Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and other chronic conditions. 

With the advance of technology, and broadband applications, there will be many more opportunities to make a difference with home health care.

Happy New Year!

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

2008 Blandin Broadband Conference: Breakout Session One

We had 3 options for the first breakout session. I have included links to presentations when I had them:

Financing Options for Municipality Networks
Milda Hedblom, Dain International & HBC, Inc.
Brenda Krueger, Springsted

Community Broadband Resources
Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors
Pam Lehman, Lac qui Parle ED
Heidi Peper, SHE

Health Care Applications
Peter Walsh, Home and Community Options
Jessica Martensen, Lakewood Healthcare
Michael Hawton, MN Health

Telehealth Tools for the Masses

Thanks to Bill Coleman for sending me a great article from the New York Times on Zume’s the Zuri and other up and coming telehealth tools. The Zuri is a small handheld device that prompts users to take their pills on schedule and to keep track of health-related matters like diet and exercise.

The Zuri reminded me of the recent Lakewood Telemedicine update. They took are looking an implementing tools that will help monitor medical issues for patients and will allow monitoring to be accessed remotely – so a parent could check up on a kid at college or a kid could check up on an elderly parent. Or some days I must admit I’d like to check up to see how I’m doing!

The NY Times article pointed out that one beauty of the handheld device is that you can track symptoms or get reminders as you carry on with your day. The Times also mentioned a range of other services similar in one way or another to the Zuri – such as Google Health.

I can’t remember if I wrote about Google Health here but I looked into it this summer. Google has set up personal health portals. I would love to be able to print out shot records for the kids’ schools. (OK I guess that means I’d have to type it into the system, which isn’t going to happen.) It would be nice to see these tools take it a step forward where not only could you give the doctor access to you – but where you could get access to them or at least to your official health care records – for things like shot records.

Take that a step forward where these records can be shared all over the world – and it makes it easier for people to move from country to country. To borrow an image from Thomas Friedman, it makes use even flatter.

In my quest for the killer app – this is a definite contender!

Not a contender but a fun and semi-related application – Minnesota-based General Mills just created a series of video podcasts on healthy cereal. It’s a great way to impart health-related news. But even more than that it’s a great way for them to disseminate infomercials to partner (and other) sites. They have made it easy to embed the videos into your site – helping to boost the viral impact of the video. Here’s a sample and here’s a kind of helpful (not really) press release on the series.

Lakewood Telemedicine update

Happy Fall!  We are enjoying beautiful fall weather here in central MN.  Our telemedicine program is off to a great start already improving the quality of care provided to our customers.  Our six telemonitoring units are deployed and on active duty, monitoring daily vital signs and assisting the nurses in tracking their client’s health status.  One “win” we have had so far occurred after the nurse noticed her client’s heart rate was getting slower and slower during the week.  The nurse contacted the client, who at the time denied symptoms, but after checking with the MD, a heart medication was found to be the culprit.  The client was taken off the medication and the heart rate returned to normal.  Without this monitoring, the client may have had a number of days of dizziness, general malaise, or worse before the cause was determined. 

The next phase of our project will be marketing.  The telemedicine project manager and I have met with our marketing department to determine the best strategies for getting the word out about our new service.  While there are a few agencies in the area that have telemonitoring, there isn’t anyone that has this kind of technology which includes the Lifestream application- a content-management platform allowing access to information from any internet connection and disease specific content management.  The idea is that in the future, families separated by great distances will be able not only to call on the telephone, but actually see data showing that Grandma is doing well, or Dad answered on his monitor that he is having problems breathing, so he better have someone check on him. 

We are excited to be able to make a difference in health care!

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

Lakewood Telemedicine Update

Happy Summer!  A couple of weeks ago, I announced that we had completed a purchase agreement with Honeywell HomMed.  We are excited to announce that the equipment for our telemedicine project is finally here!  It felt like Christmas opening the boxes and realizing the potential that each piece of equipment has to make a difference in the lives of our clients.  I have been in contact with our designated trainer from Honeywell HomMed.  Our training dates have been set for August 5th- strategic planning and August 26-27th – all-staff training.  The all-staff training will include the set up of the secure website where every piece of communicated information from the client’s monitoring unit is held, the actual equipment set up (Blood pressure cuff, scale, oximeter, video phones, and recording unit), along with a number of equipment set-ups in our clients’ homes.  We will be working on identifying the clients who would benefit most from a telemonitoring unit.   

A number of factors will go into identifying clients who would benefit; a couple of examples being the risk for hospitalization and the client’s ability to learn how to use the equipment.  While the equipment is not complicated, a client with severe memory problems or severe illness may not be appropriate. 

Again, we are grateful to the Blandin Foundation for helping us to obtain the tools to provide better care to our clients! 

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

Lakewood Home Care Telehealth Update

Greetings!  The summer has found our agency busy.  A few months ago, a baby girl was added to my family so I have been out of the office for a while but I am returning to our telemonitoring project with exciting news. 

Yesterday, we were able to submit a purchase order to Honeywell HomMed for 6 telemonitoring units.  We were able to purchase some “peripheral” monitoring devices which include oximeters, scales, blood pressure kits, a PT/INR machine (to monitor blood thinning medications) as well as two video phones and a glucometer kit!  Some of our units will be GPRS enabled, allowing for wireless communication from the peripheral monitoring device to the central unit. 

We were able to use the full Blandin grant amount and chose to use additional funds from another grant to secure the amount of equipment we felt was initially necessary to create a lasting and effective telemonitoring program.  Our matching Lakewood funds will be used to assist with marketing, training, and implementing our new program. 

We will continue to update you as to our progress.  Happy Summer!

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.

Lakewood Health System Update

We continue to research our telemonitoring purchase options. Last week, we had a representative from Patient Care Technologies demonstrate their well@home device.  The well@home model is unique in that it interfaces with Patient Care Technologies’ current Home Health software.  Our home health agency purchased this software a number of years ago.  This would mean our nurses would not have to re-enter the client’s telemonitoring statistics into the client’s online chart.  It would directly interface the information each time the client completed their vital signs, answered questions related to their health condition, or did not complete their tasks.  The newest well@home monitor includes the capability to obtain a 1-lead ECG- something that we have not seen in other telemonitoring products.  On their website: http://www.wellathome.com/ they include an interview with a well@home user from Minnesota. 

In Patient Care Technologies’ own one year study of CHF patients, patients who utilized well@home showed a 37% improvement in the management of their oral medications, 19% reported improved dyspnea, along with a 45% reduced ER care visit rate and 47% rate of decreased acute care hospitalization.  As we look for Medicare to begin the “pay for performance” standards for home care agencies, we are looking to improve our care and utilize more evidence-based process measures, like telemonitoring. 

Our last telemedicine demonstration is scheduled for May 1st from a company called Viterion. 

light speed communityThe Blandin Foundation is supporting four standout broadband programs through the Light Speed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. This post comes from a Light Speed community leader.