Unique Hospital @ Home program reduces readmissions, improves care
Banner Gateway Medical Center (BGMC) and Banner Home Care are piloting a home monitoring program that has proven to reduce hospital readmissions and better coordinate care after a patient is discharged from the hospital. Patients with community acquired pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cellulitis and congestive heart failure are eligible to participate in the Hospital @ Home study.
“National statistics show that heart failure readmission rates average 25 percent and pneumonia average 18 percent,” said David Edwards, MD, BGMC chief medical officer. “The participating patients in the four diagnoses combined have readmission rates of only 5 percent. The program has shown significant improvement of people’s monitoring their own health and has reduced health care costs due to fewer hospital admissions.”
The Hospital @ Home program provides four weeks of monitoring following hospital discharge. Patients who agree to participate receive in-patient teaching reinforced by a visit from a Banner Home Care nurse who provides health education, reviews medication records and sets up home monitoring equipment. The Banner Gateway team also schedules the patient’s doctor appointment after they return home and provides medical coverage if necessary before they can see their primary care doctor.
Equipment may include an electronic scale for daily weights, measurement equipment for oxygen and blood pressure, a device to check white blood cell levels, and a camera phone for patients with cellulitis. The devices are wirelessly linked to an intelli-station placed in the home from which the patient can transmit results via a phone line. These measurements are monitored twice a day the first week, and once a day for the remainder of the four weeks. This home monitoring, along with regular follow-up calls, allows the health care team to monitor patient conditions and alerts them to potential health concerns early.
“The results have been significant,” said David Baker, chief executive officer for Banner Home Care. “These patients now understand the importance of monitoring their chronic illness. By being more aware of their health, they are often able to prevent complications that would result in a hospital stay.”
The program will continue at BGMC, with plans to offer it from the Emergency department and additional Banner hospitals.