Medical Experts a Monitoring Device Away

July 29, 2011 / Russell Legato, Residential Property Analyst

The Health Services of Coshocton County has purchased a new health monitoring device that keeps the communication between clients with chronic illnesses and medical experts daily.

Medical Experts a Monitoring Device Away

The Genesis telehealth monitor is designed and customized to monitor many health problems. A standard monitoring device has a blood pressure cuff, oxygen sensors and scale, which prompts patients to take their vital signs up to four times a day.

“If something is outside the parameters set by the doctor, it issues a red alert so we can act on it immediately,” said Marge Donley, registered nurse and home health manager.

The information registered in the device is then transmitted via phone line to the Home Health computer system, allowing the staff to review the data and to determine whether the patient needs emergency care.

Donley added that the monitoring device also keeps the communication between the patients and physicians, including cardiologists or other specialists not located nearby.

Jerold Meyer, a local physician, said he has been using the telehealth monitor for several of his home-bound patients.

He said the fact that many hospitals are discharging patients earlier while the others are discharging them from rehabilitation centers as soon as Medicare coverage ends “leads to sicker and more complicated patients initiating home care.”

The telehealth system makes it easier to detect adverse health trends at an earlier period, as well as to record positive trends for all the health care providers involved in the patient’s care, Meyer said.

The monitoring device is particularly useful to patients with heart conditions or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It has spared them time and effort to go to the emergency department or hospital.

Additionally, the monitoring device is nonbillable, so patients can save their Medicare and Medicaid when going to hospitals for a billable service.

“The information is transmitted within two minutes, and we can phone the doctor,” Donley said.

“We’ve had very good outcomes.”

The device enables patients to leverage time in checking their vital signs. For instance, it can be set for patient-specific times, such as after waking up, though testing outside the set time can be done if they are not feeling well.

The system will interface with the electronic medical records the agency will keep beginning in January.

Coshocton County has bought seven of the units for about $35,000, six of which are in use.

Donley said more will be bought as funds for the nonprofit agency become available.

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