CAST Case Study: Telehealth Yields Positive Outcomes for Patients at Home

CAST | April 19, 2017 | by Donna Childress

Great Plains Health achieves 98% patient satisfaction scores and reduced hospital admissions using Philips’ telehealth technology

A newly released LeadingAge/CAST case study reveals how a health system scaled up its tailored ambulatory program while receiving 98% patient satisfaction scores and reducing hospital readmissions.
Great Plains Health, based in North Platte, NE, partnered with LeadingAge Silver Partner and CAST Supporter Philips to implement a tailored ambulatory care platform and remote patient monitoring program for transitional care. This telehealth solution achieved their goals and significantly improved the team’s ability to educate patients to better take care of themselves.
Great Plains Health is a progressive health system serving a 24-county region of Nebraska, northern Kansas, and southern South Dakota. It serves primarily Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as some private pay patients.
Its Transitional Care Nursing Program cares for older adults who are discharged from the hospital with COPD, heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, coronary disease, and/or pneumonia diagnoses and live within 50 miles of Great Plains Health. Most are quite elderly, frail patients with multiple co-morbidities.
Team members are passionate about helping patients successfully manage chronic conditions and settle into their daily at-home routines post-discharge. To assist in this effort, they turned to a telehealth solution, a tailored ambulatory care partner that would adapt with their needs, have strong support resources, and provide an advanced solution that best supports their care workflows.
Partnering with Philips, Great Plains Health chose a store and forward system with a patient portal front-end running on a tablet (called eCareCompanion) and a care management back-end (called eCareCoordinator). It is a single-user system with a patient home base unit.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive and includes these outcomes:

  • Patients Staying out of the ER and Hospital: By reinforcing healthy behaviors, this telehealth solution is producing impressive results. So far, 93% of the patients have successfully completed the 30-day program, and only 6.1% of patients have been readmitted to the hospital for their primary diagnosis. An individual success story features an end-stage lung, heart, and chronic kidney disease patient who refused to stop smoking or adhere to food restrictions. Access to the daily vital signs measurements has helped keep him out of the ER. By looking at his vital sign trends and symptoms, the care team was able to discover how much weight he could gain before he started to decompensate. Intervening early and getting him treatment outside the hospital prevented four likely re-admissions for this patient alone, over three months and counting.
  • Reconciled Medications: Nurses help patients reconcile their medications, and nurses assess the home and socioeconomic environment for potential improvements.
  • Patient Security: Patients like the security of close monitoring, especially when family and friends are far away.
  •  Improved Care Coordination: Nurses, physicians, and specialists coordinate care and holistically address each patient’s needs, helping patients to feel in control of their condition.
  • Excellent Patient Satisfaction: Surveys completed by the majority of patients give the program a 4.9/5, or 98%, satisfaction score.

Read the full Great Plains Health/Philips telehealth case study.