Assistive Technologies have been advancing throughout the entire health care industry. The widespread use of smart phones and laptops have become a standard way to communicate and access information among providers and patients. These include things like smartphone apps, texting programs, wearable tech, remote monitoring devices, and the software to integrate these devices into patients’ medical health record. As assistive health technology continues to advance, we continue to provide patients with the most innovative tools needed to manage their healthcare. Partners Population Health is using assistive technology to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.
Types of Assistive Technologies
Blood Pressure Remote Monitoring is designed to help patients better manage their hypertension. The program provides eligible patients with a blood pressure cuff they can keep. The data from the blood pressure cuff is directly uploaded from the device to the patients’ electronic medical record (EMR). This gives providers access to timely and accurate patient data and creates an environment for more collaborative care. Patients can access their data in Partners Patient Gateway providing a better picture of their overall health.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Telemonitoring is designed as a two month program for patients with advanced CHF. The program, which is also jointly administered by Partners Home Health and Partners Population Health, provides education to patients and caregivers and provides daily monitoring of CHF symptoms in order to assist the prescriber with disease management. During the course of the intervention, CHF nurses coordinate care of the patient through communication to the prescriber on a regular basis and communication back to the patient on any needed treatment changes. Patients who meet criteria related to diagnosis, caregiver support, and have a safe and accessible living situation are referred to the program from their Partners primary care provider, a Partners specialty physician, our High-Risk Care Management program, CHF nurse, or other clinician for enrollment in the program. The goals of the program are to empower patients to independently manage their disease, decrease inpatient utilization, and decrease healthcare costs. Patients are outfitted with a telemonitoring device in order to help patients take charge of their CHF. The equipment lets them easily track their vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation and weight) at home, for better understanding and management of their health. The unit automatically sends their readings to a nurse in our monitoring system who checks the readings. If there are any changes or warning signs, such as a sudden rise is blood pressure or an increase in weight, a nurse contacts the patient to discuss these changes. Additionally, the nurse will update the Care Team (including the physician) about the patient’s progress and provide ongoing education, support and information so the patient can learn to self-manage their care. In addition to the telemonitoring, the CHF nurse provides structured education to the patient and caregiver regarding their disease process and how to independently manage their disease. Patients learn things such as the importance of adhering to their treatment plan, how to identify early warning signs of possible exacerbation and when to contact a healthcare professional.
Partners Patient Gateway, our electronic patient portal, was developed by Partners HealthCare and is a convenient, efficient, and secure way for patients to manage their health communications with their provider’s office. Patients can renew prescriptions, request referral authorizations for specialist appointments, view lab results, and access quality health and wellness information. For more information or, if you are a Partners patient, sign-up for a Partners Patient Gateway account, please click here.
Clinical Texting provides educational text messaging campaigns that are aimed at improving health outcomes by engaging patients in the management of their care. Patients can enroll to participate in a texting program that includes information, with links to resources. The length of the texting program varies based on the goal of the program.