Covenant Health expanded its high acuity care hospital-at-home program in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Tuesday.
WHY IT MATTERS
A suite of electronics is enabling patients from Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center facility and now Parkwest Medical Center with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, cellulitis and more to recuperate at home, according to a local WATE ABC6 report.
Covenant Health’s Advanced Care at Home program provides in-home hospital services, virtual care and remote monitoring to manage hospital-at-home patients’ medication, lab services, imaging, IV treatments, oxygen and rehabilitation therapies that would typically require three to 10 days in a hospital, according to the health system’s website.
Qualifying conditions could also include heart failure, asthma, pneumonia, soft tissue infections, gastroenteritis or dehydration.
“Patients at home – they recover better, their satisfaction is better,” said Dr. John Busigin, medical director for the program.
During a demonstration launch at Parkwest Medical Center, Busigin explained how equipment from Medically Home – including a WiFi router, an iPad and a mobile phone – allows patients to take their vital signs, communicate with their care teams and more and help facilitate in-person visits from community paramedics and healthcare professionals.
“That’s what’s driving all this – the availability of this technology and better patient care,” he said.
As many as 20-30% of the Knoxville-based health system’s patients could receive virtual care through the program.
Patient Ron Slone of Farragut, Tennessee, said he was elated to be home, and that his home hospital supplies were already set up before he was transported back.
“The food is better, and I can be around my family,” Slone said.
THE LARGER TREND
With a lack of specialists available in rural areas, Covenant Health has implemented a number of telemedicine uses since the pandemic.
From individual and group behavioral health therapy to delivering services via remote technologies for chronic care management, telehealth has helped the health system to achieve care goals, according to several of its leaders.
For hospitalized patients, telehealth has also expanded critical care services and implementation of tele-ICU across the east Tennessee region, Chris Skinner, vice president of clinical informatics, told Healthcare IT News in November.
Tele-ICU offers a collaboration with the bedside team, and the organization has seen improvements in ventilator management, quality of care and ICU length of stay, he said.
“The future of medicine will combine more robust virtual care services with innovative advancements in healthcare technology, and we plan to continue to build off of our current infrastructure to meet the future demands,” Dr. Mandy Halford, senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer at Covenant Health, added.
ON THE RECORD
Patients “have reduced infections, they have reduced readmissions to the hospital and so their outcomes are actually better,” Busigin said in the ABC6 report.
Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.