Post-discharge plans get mobile boost

May 15, 2013 in Medical Technology

It’s often been said that telehealth programs offer benefits to healthcare providers in both rural and urban settings. Vree Health is proving that point with two new contracts – one in Big Sky Country, the other in the heavily populated Northeast.

The Merck subsidiary has announced contracts over the past two months to deploy its post-discharge care management programs for the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership, a Montana-based partnership encompassing all of the state’s hospitals, and Griffin Hospital, a 160-bed acute care community hospital in Derby, Conn., serving more than 107,000 residents in Connecticut’s Lower Naugatuck Valley.  Both projects will make use of Vree Health’s TransitionAdvantage platform, which is designed to help patients hospitalized for heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia to adhere to a hospital’s recommended post-discharge care plan.

The goal of both projects is to reduce hospital readmissions – in particular, preventable readmissions within 30 days, for which the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services will penalize hospitals – by using telehealth tools to communicate with the patient at home.

[See also: Intermountain takes on readmissions.]

“Hospitals are being held accountable for something they haven’t controlled or don’t have the infrastructure to control,” said Chris Ellis, director of marketing for the North Wales, Pa.-based company. “There are a lot of solutions out there that use technology, but one of the challenges is that the technology doesn’t always have the right interface. They need the right (platform) to connect to patients.”

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Though targeting the same goals, both projects are decidedly different. In Connecticut, Griffin Hospital will use TransitionAdvantage to engage patients on a daily basis and coordinate with care providers.

“Helping patients transition from hospital to home is a major healthcare challenge that requires providing individual attention for each patient after they leave the hospital,” said Kathleen Martin, vice president for patient safety and care improvement at Griffin Hospital, in a press release. “As part of our commitment to being a leader in preventing hospital readmissions, Griffin Hospital is excited to be implementing TransitionAdvantage as part of our efforts to support patients during their post-hospital recovery.”

In Montana, meanwhile, FMBHP and Vree Health are working on a project, funded by a $10.5 million CMS Innovation Grant, to establish the TransitionAdvantage platform in communities throughout the state where discharged patients might be hundreds of miles from the hospital. Officials hope that all 48 of the state’s critical access hospitals and rural health centers, serving 100,000 Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program members, will be tied into the network by the third year of the three-year project.

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