Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Jessica Mays, RN
Porter Hills Home Care
Click here to view the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
With hospital stays becoming shorter and shorter, and with so many people unable to drive to the doctor, how can we help manage day-to-day medical conditions at home, avoiding the emergency room and unnecessary trips to the doctor?
What is telehealth monitoring?
Telehealth monitoring, which is typically referred to as Telemonitoring, is a way for clinicians to interact with clients on a regular basis remotely, enabling patients to remain in their home while still being able to have important vital signs monitored.
How is this achieved?
- Computer tablets can be used for face to face interactions.
- A Telemonitoring device can be installed in your home that will export data from the monitoring hub to a software system that is used to track vital signs. The types of vital signs that can be monitored are:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Blood sugars
- Oxygen levels
These devices can be used in any combination depending on your needs. Survey questions can also be set up so you can would answer daily in order to track symptoms or get reminders.
When is Telemonitoring appropriate?
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Unstable Diabetes
- Unstable Hypertension.
The Telemonitoring device allows your medical team to keep a close eye on you while using the trends of your vital signs to adjust medication and determine the course of treatment. You can be involved with your medical care from the comfort of your home!
What happens to the data collected?
Once the data is collected it is stored in a software system that is monitored regularly by clinicians. If an abnormality is noted, then the clinician would contact you to review symptoms and determine what type of follow up is needed. If a concern is noted, the clinician would then make arrangements for further actions such as contacting your Primary Care Physician to relay the data or arranging for an urgent appointment. If Home Health is involved, arrangements for a home nurse visit may be made.
Are Physicians involved?
Yes, some physician offices have implemented using telehealth systems. They are also able to conduct face to face visits using tablets with patients who are no longer able to leave home.
Even if the physician office themselves do not have telemonitoring capabilities, Home Health organizations can often facilitate telemonitoring. This is usually done for an intermittent period of time after an acute illness.
Is Telemonitoring covered by insurance?
While there are some insurance companies that do cover Telemonitoring for specific diagnoses, many, including Medicare do not for the most part. We do have hopes of that changing in the near future as there has been discussion about increase coverage available for telehealth monitoring.