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Let’s be honest—most new technologies tend to intimidate. The microwave, computer or cell phone we can’t live without we may once have regarded with wariness or disdain. The latest high tech home-based health monitoring systems are no exception—they typically require self-administering a series of tests and answering a set of automated health questions, all mediated by an appliance that electronically dispatches the results to healthcare providers. Yet when the benefits are compelling enough, even a technophobe will embrace technology, especially when it improves their health, and especially when it can enhance and even save their life.
A unique partnership between Premier Home Care & Hospice and a leading technology company (HomMed) is shattering the myth of what elders will or won’t do in individually monitoring their health. Premier Home Care & Hospice places HomMed’s Home Health Monitoring System in the homes of elderly patients who would traditionally require frequent nurses’ visits or trips to the doctor. Incorporating as attachments the same precision measurement instruments found in hospitals and doctors’ offices, the device—about the size and shape of a large marine radio, which it somewhat resembles—uses voice and text readouts to prompt the patient through the process of taking her own vital signs, measuring her own weight and other health indicators, and answering pre-programmed health questions specific to their condition.
Results are immediately available to both patient and provider (though patient privacy rules are strictly adhered to), without the necessity of a nurse’s visit, and with more accuracy than typically occurs at the doctor’s office, where patients tend to become nervous, skewing the measurements. The automated system reminds patients when it’s time to test, making the procedure a daily routine that provides Premier Home Care & Hospice with more constant and consistent health status monitoring than would otherwise be possible through nurse visits, and at lower cost. At the same time the patient learns to take a more active and informed role in monitoring and maintaining their own health.
The Premier Home Care & Hospice has managed to craft an agreement with HomMed that allows Premier Home Care & Hospice to be the exclusive provider of their system in Lamar County. There are staff benefits to the technology as well. Premier Home Care & Hospice has plenty of nurses who have exclaimed that we have just as cool stuff as can be found in an intensive care unit. The tools, when properly used, allow the nurses to do more of what they came into the profession to do—help people!
Both the efficiency and effectiveness of monitoring has increased, since a single nurse can monitor dozens of patients from her computer, with instant access to up-to-the-minute data going back over hours, days, weeks and months. Abnormal results like sudden weight gain or a spike in blood pressure reading trigger red alerts, mandating a call to the patient, and if necessary, a trip to the doctor or hospital. False alarms are reduced to almost nothing as the nurse becomes well acquainted with the health trends and idiosyncrasies of each patient.
It is the patients themselves that realize the greatest benefit. For one, the system forces them to take more responsibility for their own health. They become active partners in the health care process. Stressful travel and intrusive medical visits are reduced. Premier Home Care & Hospice patients who use the system generally report increases in their overall wellbeing and quality of life. And a few go so far to say the system saved their lives.
Premier Home Care & Hospice has so far placed HomMed systems in dozens of homes. This exemplifies a trend to extend the benefits of personal health monitoring systems to encompass all at-risk people, regardless of age or apparent health. While those with recognized existing conditions are the current priority, self-administered health monitoring has vast preventive and early detection potential. As with previous revolutions wrought by technology, living happily in such a world will become second to nature to most of us. For more information on these systems, you can contact Premier Home Care & Hospice at 903-737-9010.
Administrator/Premier Home Care & Hospice