There have been discussions about the value of home monitoring of discharged hospital inpatients for decades. Everyone seems to have understood that this was a good idea to prevent hospital readmissions but the technology was expensive and difficult to deploy (see: Cost Savings Associated with Home-Based Physiologic Monitoring; Partners HealthCare Integrates Home Monitoring Data into Hospital EHRs; Keeping Tabs on Patients Post-Discharge Via Telemonitoring). A recent article raised this topic again including an assessment of dollars saved by the parent company by patient home monitoring (see: Northern Arizona Healthcare saves $90,000 per patient in home monitoring pilot program). Below is an excerpt from the article:
Since it first started placing home health monitoring kits with patients discharged from Flagstaff Medical Center or Verde Valley Medical Center following treatment for congestive heart failure or related cardiac conditions in 2011, parent company Northern Arizona Healthcare says is has saved up to $92,000 per patient."Putting smartphones and biometric health-monitoring devices in the hands of patients empowered them to take better control of their health," ...[according to] NAH's director of telehealth services....NAH saw hospitalizations drop from 3.26 mean per patient to 1.82 and days hospitalized drop from 13.98 mean per patient to 5.13 and, based on the health system's data about the first 50 patients six months prior to enrollment and six months after enrollment, that added up to the savings of approximately $92,000 per patient. The home health kits are customized for each patient, built on Qualcomm 2net connectivity platform and HealthyCircles care coordination software, and featuring an app loaded onto a smartphone and connected medical devices specific to the patient's condition. Data captured by the devices is automatically uploaded through the 2net Hub or 2net Mobile to the [Qualcomm] HealthyCircles platform, where providers can set care management plans and communicate with patients. Those include medication reminders and alerts set to be triggered if the home health monitoring kit detects a patient's deteriorating health. Based on the pilot's success in metrics and cost savings, NAH officials said they are planning to expand the program to patients with other cardiac problems as well as people with pulmonary issues and those needing post-operative care.
Here's an excerpt from the 2Net web page:
The 2net Platform is a cloud-based system designed to be universally-interoperable with different medical devices and applications, enabling end-to-end wireless connectivity while allowing medical device users and their physicians or caregivers to easily access biometric data. With two-way connection capabilities and a broad spectrum of connectivity options, the 2net Platform will change the way you do business.
It seems to me that home monitoring of patients at risk for readmission after hospital discharge has reached a more sophisticated level. On the patient side, we have achieved a high degree of user comfort with smart phones and can then combine them with biometric monitoring devices to provide useful information to healthcare providers. On the provider side, we see "platforms" that enable providers to establish and set care management plans and communicate with patients. The dollar savings per patient in the article quoted above seem remarkably high. However, patients with congestive heart failure have always been an important target for home monitoring programs because of their high readmission rate. These dollar savings should provide an incentive for more hospitals to make the initial capital investment to establish similar programs.