Intermountain Healthcare expands home care services using technology

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The Utah-based health system is leveraging remote monitoring, telemedicine and virtual visits to provide primary care, some traditional hospital-level services and palliative care to patients at home.

“It will help us keep our patients comfortable and at home, continually connected with caregivers who will monitor their health status through Intermountain’s advanced clinical information systems when we’re not with them,” says Rajesh Shrestha, chief operating officer of community-based care at Intermountain.

The new Intermountain at Home service is meant to augment the organization’s existing home care and hospice services, with the intent of preventing or reducing hospital admissions.

“Intermountain at Home is a thoughtful, proactive and preventive healthcare approach that extends complex medical treatment and technologies beyond clinics and hospitals to help us care for patients in their own homes,” said Seth Glickman, MD, Intermountain’s chief medical officer of community-based care.

Among the technologies that the organization is utilizing are virtual urgent care visits via Intermountain Connect Care, a 24/7 online service that enables patients to receive personalized care from medical staff through their mobile devices and computers, as well as appointment-based video visits for home check-ups with a primary care physician or advanced practice clinician.

Also See: Intermountain seeks to extend reach of its telehealth programs

“This innovative program is designed around people, supporting first and foremost our patients who are at risk for hospitalization or complications, along with their families,” adds Shrestha.

According to Intermountain, heart failure patients admitted to one of its hospitals have an average stay of 4.6 days and a 30-day re-hospitalization rate of 21.7 percent. However, with Intermountain at Home, the healthcare provider contends that these patients “could avoid hospitalization in the first place and receive the same face-to-face clinical care from providers and nurses, along with monitoring and medication administration at home, instead of in a hospital.”

In addition, the use of patient navigation services and electronic health records “connected securely throughout all settings across the Intermountain Healthcare service area will further support improved outcomes and positive experiences for everyone who’s served by Intermountain and the caregivers who care for them,” according to the announcement.

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