Nurse Anita McCole loves Bluetooth-enabled scales for monitoring patients' weights at home. The devices wirelessly transmit the weights of congestive heart-failure patients to a mobile receiver or smartphone, which sends the daily readings to McCole, a case manager at Geisinger Health Plan, Danville, Pa. The computerized system, made by AMC Health, automates what once was a less reliable, labor-intensive process of getting heart-failure patients to track and report their weights.
Combining the wireless scales, voice-response communications, mobile devices and data-analytics technology into Geisinger's case-management program led to a reduction in the 30-day hospital-readmission rate of 44%, a 38% drop in 90-day readmissions, and an 11.3% reduction in per member per month costs over five years, said Doreen Salek, director of population management partners at Geisinger Health Plan and co-author of a study on the program published this month in the journal Population Health Management. These savings produced more than a threefold return on Geisinger's investment in the technology.
“Before, we had to rely on patients weighing themselves at home and calling in,” McCole said. With the wireless scales, “their weights come right through to my computer. I can monitor their trends and see if their weights go up or down.”
Deborah Bolster of San Antonio is delighted that she can connect with her doctors at the San Antonio Orthopaedic clinic through athenaCommunicator Mobile Patient Portal using her new iPhone 6 Plus. The portal links her to the practice's electronic health-record system, developed by Athenahealth, Watertown, Mass.