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Honeywell HomMed Telehealth Solutions: Helping Hospitals Address Key Pain Points Telehealth Technology Helps Hospitals

Honeywell HomMed Telehealth Solutions:

Helping Hospitals Address Key Pain Points

Telehealth Technology Helps Hospitals Avoid CMS Penalties and Improve the Efficiency & Quality of Patient Care

As fiscal year 2013 has now begun for many hospitals across the country, hospital executives and administrators are taking a serious look at how they can leverage telehealth to avoid the government penalties set to kick in this year, which are based on two of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) key success indicators – a reduction in hospital readmissionsi and an increase in patient satisfaction ratesii. In addition, hospital executives are looking to telehealth as a potential solution to address other pain points, such as improving financial returns, the quality of patient care and operational efficiencies.

According to a recent report from the Dartmouth Atlas Project iii – which uses Medicare data to provide information and analysis about national healthcare markets and hospitals – roughly one in six Medicare patients were back in the hospital within a month after being discharged for a medi- cal condition. CMS has estimated the cost of these avoidable readmissions at more than $17 billion a yeariv; the penalties going into effect in fiscal year 2013 are part of a system‐wide initiative to reduce those costs.

“The report highlights widespread and systematic failures in coordinating care for patients after they leave the hospital,” said David C. Goodman, MD, lead author and co‐principal investigator for the Dartmouth Atlas Project, and director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “Irrespective of the cause, unnecessary hospital readmissions lead to more tests and treatments, more time away from home and family, and higher healthcare costs.”

The Role of Telehealth

Set against this backdrop of healthcare reform, new telehealth solutions are earning their mettle by helping hospitals reduce readmission rates – with an overall result of cutting costs throughout the care continuum, improving the quality of patient care, and giving patients greater access to the health- care services and providers they need.

But is telehealth truly the answer to the pain points plaguing hospitals as they work to avoid CMS penalties?

Since its inception, the idea of telehealth has been touted among health- care industry leaders as a revolutionary concept with massive potential for meeting healthcare’s greatest challenges – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And truly, the past decade has seen remarkable results. Healthcare organizations across the globe have reported positive patient outcomes through the utilization of telehealth services, including reductions in readmissions rates, increased patient satisfaction and quality of care, and improved clinical efficiencies.

This gives nod to the idea that telehealth can impact the efficacy of overall healthcare delivery. But how specifically does telehealth impact a hospital’s ability to not only reduce readmission rates and improve quality of patient care, but avoid CMS penalties as well?

Through the examination of major hospital administration pain points – which also happen to affect the rates by which hospitals will either be penalized or recoup reimbursements from CMS – the ability to assess the impact of telehealth solutions becomes clear:

Healthier financial performance

Improved patient satisfaction rates & quality of care

Increased operational & clinical efficiencies

Healthier Financial Performance

Telehealth represents a solid solution for hospitals trying to move toward value‐based purchasing, which aims to provide information on the quality of health care, including patient outcomes and health status, with data on the dollar outlays going towards healthcare.

To maximize this value‐based purchasing model, telehealth allows hospitals to tie hard data points to the quality of care for each patient through back‐end support software. Honeywell’s LifeStream Management Suite, for example, offers analytical tools to help healthcare providers track patient outcomes and patient case load for each care provider, as well as standard reports to measure operational and clinical staff efficiency.

Telehealth also helps hospitals reduce avoidable readmissions by improving patient care transitions: Because the patient biometrics are regularly monitored with a remote device after a hospital discharge, any change in health can be assessed by trained medical staff, extending patient oversight. In addition, care providers can use telehealth to provide patients with education related to discharge instructions or their diagnosis.

These improved patient care transitions have been recognized within the healthcare industry, an example of which is Care Cycle Solutions v (CCS), a national home health and telehealth services provider, which has shown significant reduction rates in hospital readmissions through the use of proactive patient telehealth monitoring. In the first 30‐days following a post‐ acute event, more than 3,000 monitored patients (vs. 3,000 unmonitored patients) demonstrated the following results:

93 percent reduction in readmissions in first 3‐days

78 percent reduction in readmissions in first 7‐days

62 percent reduction in readmissions in first 15‐days

49 percent reduction in readmissions in first 30‐days

CCS’ data has also shown that monitored patient readmission rates after 30‐days were 6.7 percent –more than 67 percent lower than average industry readmission rates.

The ability to circumvent a patient’s trip to the ER, while also improving patient safety and security, provides overall reductions in hospital readmissions, data points for cost clarification, as well as the opportunity to earn CMS incentive payments tied to patient safety and quality of care. A financial winwin‐ win for hospitals looking to embrace value‐based purchasing.

Improved Patient Satisfaction Rates & Quality of Care

With the ability to efficiently communicate with patients, telehealth offers care providers increased visibility to their patients, facilitating ongoing health management. In turn, this improved communication also positively impacts patients who continue to have the security of care provider oversight, while being able to recover in the familiarity and peace of their own homes.

This combination of increased care provider engagement and improved patient (and family member) peace of mind have positively impacted patient satisfaction rates among healthcare organizations utilizing telehealth. For example, according to a recent study, elderly patients using a video‐enabled remote patient monitoring device reported high satisfaction and improved perception about the quality of care that they received vi . Another study found that telehealth patients report a higher sense of patient satisfaction, because users feel more connected to their care team, which reduces the stress of managing chronic illness and enhances the sense of control of their own health vii .

These higher patient satisfaction rates also nod to another key telehealth attribute – improved quality of patient care – a focus of the findings in the scholarly article Telemedicine and e‐Health viii , which examined the results of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) when it introduced

a national home telehealth program in 2003. The program, Care

Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT), was introduced to coordinate the care of veteran patients with chronic conditions, and grew from 2,000 patients in 2003 to 31,570 in 2007, representing a 1,500 percent growth rate in the first four years.

Analysis of data obtained for quality and performance purposes from 17,025 CCHT patients showed the following results:

25 percent reduction in numbers of bed days of care

19 percent reduction in numbers of hospital admissions

86 percent patient satisfaction score rating after enrollment into the program

The article reports that these results “demonstrate a dramatic reduction

in costs and an equally dramatic increase in quality [of care].”

Improved patient satisfaction rates and quality of care tie directly into further CMS incentive payments available for hospitals – another cost benefit to be recouped by using telehealth. But high rates of patient satisfaction also correlate to another benefit, and that is the hospital’s ability to attract new patients.

It is often said that the best advertising is word of mouth, so with happy patients will come ongoing patient referrals. But beyond this more simplistic notion, higher patient satisfaction rates also translate into marketing campaigns: from case studies to billboards, high patient satisfaction is a story that is easily told. All of which add up to improved patient acquisition costs – it costs less to get more.

Increased Operational & Clinical Efficiencies

The use of telehealth has been reported to positively impact staff and organizational efficiency rates. According to the reference book Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence‐Based Handbook for Nurses ix : “telehealth technology allows for improved productivity of hospital staff, especially in the post‐discharge care setting. Telehealth‐ enabled care models can help clinicians—whether hospital‐based, home‐based, or remotely‐based—better manage the risk associated with chronic care patients, enabling them to move beyond simple data collection toward more interactive interventions. Using these technologies, healthcare providers have greater availability and the opportunity to reach more patients and spend additional time addressing the needs of each individual.”

With continual access to patient data, health care providers can use telehealth software platforms such as Honeywell’s LifeStream Management Suite to streamline their workflows by consolidating all of their patients’ data on one clinical view, and then triaging patients based on the resulting data/alerts.

The utilization of telehealth provides hospitals with a tool to decrease patients’ length of stay (LoS) through enhanced oversight during the care transition process – i.e. patients don’t need to stay in the hospital as long because they will continue to have medical staff monitoring them in the critical days after they leave the hospital.

In Conclusion

By examining three major areas of impact for hospitals – financial, patient satisfaction rates & quality of care, and operational & clinical efficiencies –telehealth can clearly impact the efficacy of healthcare delivery at the hospital level, providing the opportunity to reduce readmissions and improve the quality of patient care coordination – just in time to capitalize on CMS incentive payments and avoid government penalties.

References

i Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Readmissions Reduction Program. [Online] http://cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare‐Fee‐for‐Service‐Pay- ment/AcuteInpatientPPS/Readmissions‐Reduction‐Program.html/. Accessed October 2012.

ii Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Hospital Value‐Based Purchasing Program. Online] http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality‐Initiatives‐Patient‐As- sessment‐Instruments/hospital‐value‐based‐purchasing/index.html Accessed October 2012

iii The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice;

After Hospitalization: A Dartmouth Atlas Report on Post‐Acute Care

for Medicare Beneficiaries, pg. 4

[Online] http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/web‐assets/2011/09/after‐

hospitalization

Accessed October 2012.

Please visit www.hommed.com

iv Jencks SF, Williams MV, Coleman EA; Rehospitalizations among patients in the Medicare fee‐for‐servi- ceprogram. N Engl J Med 2009;360(14):1418‐28.

v Care Cycle Solutions; Results based on internal research conducted in 2011, using a sample group of 6,000 patients. Results printed with permission.

vi Little, A. & Meyers, B. (2010). SCAN Health Plan and HeathCare Partners explore the use of remote health management technology for frail seniors. [Online] http://www.intel.com/about/companyinfo/healthcare/prod-

ucts/healthguide.htm?id=204&assetid=854&cid=SCANPress.

Accessed October 2012

vii Noel, H. C., Vogel, D. C., Erdos, J. A., Cornwall, D., & Levin, F. (2004). Home telehealth reduces healthcare costs. Telemedicine Journal and e‐Health, 10(2), 170–183.

viii Darkins A, Ryan P, Kobb R, Foster L, Edmonson E, Wakefield B, Lancaster AE (2007) Care Coordination/Home Telehealth: the systematic implementation of health informatics, home telehealth, and disease management to support the care of veteran patients with chronic conditions. [Online] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19119835 Accessed October 2012.

ix Schlachta‐Fairchild, L., Elfrink, V., & Deickman, A. (2008). Patient safety, telenursing and telehealth. In
ix Schlachta‐Fairchild, L., Elfrink, V., & Deickman, A. (2008).
Patient safety, telenursing and telehealth. In Patient Safety and
Quality: An Evidence‐Based Handbook for Nurses. Volume 3.
[Online] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/
br.fcgi?book=nursehb?=ch48
Accessed October 2012.

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