Today’s healthcare technology is moving forward at light speed. The new hardware/software of yesterday is being outshined by the latest and greatest in new medical devices and treatments. There is an assortment of new and exciting products available for the LTPAC setting. I have chosen some of my favorites in remote patient monitoring, resident tracking devices, telemedicine
Select Technology Trends in Healthcare and LTPAC
Remote Patient Monitoring
For nursing home residents, remote monitoring can help staff better monitor residents and focus their attention on the patients who need medical assistance. The system is particularly helpful for monitoring patients with chronic diseases including diabetes, heart failure, and patients recovering from strokes. In addition, remote monitoring prevents unnecessary trips to the doctor and hospital, which can reduce costs.
Sotera Wireless - The medical device company’s non-invasive standalone sensors that are part of its ViSi Mobile System received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. It’s designed to be used in ambulatory, non-ICU clinical settings. It’s about the size of a sports watch and captures and wirelessly transmits core vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, pulse rate, ECG, respiration rate and skin temperature. Future models will include sensing technology and be able to record posture among other things.
eCaring - The health IT company’s core market are senior citizens. Its CareTracker system generates actionable data, flags changes in health patterns. The information is transmitted to care managers. It is developing an institutional care model that’s being used in pilot programs at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, where it’s being used to reduce readmissions of cardiac care patients.
Metria™ Wearable Sensor - This small wearable device from Avery Dennison promises to be a discreet and comfortable way for medical providers to monitor the health of seniors and others. It sticks directly to the body with skin-friendly adhesive, collecting data like heart rate, blood pressure, and the amount of sleep and sending it wirelessly to be interpreted by sophisticated computer algorithms. A connected mobile app allows both patients and caregivers to examine the data.
A Foolproof Medication Compliance Monitor - A tiny ingestible sensor by Proteus Digital Health "is a game changer for medication compliance." "The sensor, which costs less than a penny, is placed on a pill. It gets activated by stomach juices when it's ingested. A digital signal is then sent to a Band-Aid®–like monitor worn on the patient's arm." This records the medication taken, ingestion time, heart rate, body temperature, body position, and rest and activity patterns.
Symphony CGM - Echo Therapeutics has developed a noninvasive, wireless monitoring system for people with diabetes. A pen-like skin preparation device administers insulin via pain-free transdermal skin permeation rather than a needle. A biosensor is then placed on the administration site, much like a Band-Aid®; it wirelessly transmits the patient's blood glucose level every minute to a remote monitor, which tracks glucose levels and rate of glucose change. Visual and audible alarms are triggered if levels move beyond the target range.
Checkme™ Health Monitor - About the size of a deck of playing cards, the device can monitor heart rhythm, blood oxygenation, sleep patterns, temperature, blood pressure, footsteps, and more—without wires—and display the data on an accompanying smartphone app.
WoundRounds® - An app-device combo, WoundRounds® automates wound assessment; simplifies wound treatment; wirelessly enables care team communication; and identifies bedridden, at-risk patients before pressure ulcers can develop. "The app lets the provider at the point of care record the clinical state of a wound." "It uses clinically validated tools to standardize wound assessment. It also allows different providers to track the wound. Different caregivers can actually track wound progress and improve the quality of care."
Resident Tracking Devices
There are now new solutions to address wandering and help keep our residents safe and secure. One way to end wandering in seniors with Alzheimer’s is to use a life-saving location device. Using GPS tracking, these devices allow seniors to be found quickly and safely.
GPS Smart Sole - One of the premier “wearable technologies,” GPS Smart Sole is an innovative technology that puts satellite monitoring in a sole that can be placed into a shoe to provide real-time tracking of a user. The soles offer peace of mind for families who can set up a safe zone for a user and receive alerts from the ergonomic GPS SmartSole along with a smart locator app and map, wherever T-Mobile coverage is available. The SmartSole also has a 2-3 day battery life with normal use, and will alert caregivers by email or text notifications when the battery is low.
Hospital Readmissions - “Hospitalizations of nursing home residents are frequent and result in complications, morbidity, and Medicare expenditures of more than a billion dollars annually. The lack of a physician presence at many nursing homes during off hours might contribute to inappropriate hospitalizations. Findings from our controlled study of eleven nursing homes provide the first indications that switching from on-call to telemedicine physician coverage during off hours could reduce hospitalizations and therefore generate cost savings to Medicare in excess of the facility’s investment in the service.”
Wound Care - The CARE Telemedicine solution is an advanced clinical assessment tool allowing Post-Acute providers to improve their outcomes and meet the regulatory demands. Our high definition\resolution pan, tilt, zoom camera allows a remote wound specialist to evaluate pressure wounds from anywhere in the world. In rural and urban areas our CARE Telemedicine solution enhances the SNFs' quality of care capabilities. In addition to remote wound evaluation, our telemedicine solution allows access to remote physicians or advanced nurse practitioners to immediately evaluate patients who have a sudden acute change in condition. The CARE Telemedicine solution removes artificial boundaries associated with the traditional care delivery model. The CARE Telemedicine solution enables providers to meet the current healthcare demands, contributes to quality of care and delivers improved outcomes.
A shared record does more than benefit patients. It can save money and become the platform to succeed under Medicare/Medicaid Payment.
Facility nurses record telephone orders directly into the system. This creates an opportunity to prompt the physician or nurse practitioner for clarification when required.
Physicians using Practitioner Engagement write and approve orders electronically. No more lost paperwork.
Electronic orders are signed faster. A correctly designed system forces the use of complete diagnoses prior to the nurse/physician signature.
Integrated Medication Management can reduce instances of non-formulary medication use. Depending on order routing, the integrated pharmacist can review pending medication orders for non-formulary meds.
Integrated laboratory and radiology mean faster results and intern faster care and treatment.
Bundled payments and shared savings. The CMS is driving payment reform, and LTC patients are the most costly. Shared CPOE can enable the use of order sets that are proven to reduce re-hospitalizations.
eHealth Data Solutions
Provides data analytics that address clinical, quality, risk, and reimbursement concerns in the long term care industry.
Innovative web-based products: “CareWatch®, RiskWatch®, and UBWatch®, provide MDS accuracy, scrub UB-04s, match clinical and billing functions, optimize RUG rates, report and investigate occurrences, and enhance treatment plans while emphasizing quality of care. With a proven return on investment, eHDS services increase the transparency and accountability of clinical, administrative, and billing activities enterprise-wide.”