Home Health Technology | Tech Medicine

Home Health Technology

This eWeek article by M.L. Baker of Ziff Davis Internet, "Report: Digital Health Coming to Grandma's House," covers a Parks Associate report claiming that Home Health providers will increase their use of monitoring technology to decrease their cost and improve the quality of care.

Home health providers are nurses and aides that come to your house to monitor your health and sometimes perform tasks that are too complicated for you to do yourself, such as administer intravenous medication or change wound dressings.

The article points out an important issue facing Home Health, namely, who pays? Thin margins allow for little ability to invest in these technologies. Increasing costs of labor and nursing shortages further pressure the bottom line. Although many devices could improve the quality of care provided to seniors who are homebound, I believe that insurance companies will only cover products that have an established record of improving health enough to decrease hospitalization costs and the costs of caring for complications.

Although the article doesn't name any of these technologies, I know of one. I spoke on a IFTF panel last fall with Pramod Gaur, CEO of Viterion, whose vital sign monitoring device has been approved for over 50,000 Veterans Administration patients due to it's ability to decrease hospitalizations for congestive heart failure patients. It transmits patient's weights to their provider to monitor for an increase, which would trigger a nurse disease manager to provide instructions to use more diuretics (water pills) to drain fluid from their lungs. This is one example of a simple monitoring device, easy enough to use for patients, and simple enough for a provider to work into the workflow of their clinic.

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Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.