Currently the U.S. is seeing a new COVID-19 surge with numbers of new cases rising significantly and hospitals nearing or at capacity of beds and ICU units. In addition, two people are dying every minute from coronavirus.
To help hospitals manage the crush of new COVID-19 patients, CMS recently launched its Acute Hospital Care at Home program providing new allowances for hospitals to treat patients in their homes using telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM). Designed for patients who meet acute inpatient or overnight observation admission criteria, the program considers the patient’s home to be part of the hospital.
The value of RPM comes to the forefront as a solution to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on emergency rooms and hospitals. With RPM, some COVID patients can receive care at home, freeing up hospital beds. Hospitals who have already taken this route are singing the praises of being able to do so. According to CMS, Brigham Home Health Hospital said they can deliver hospital-level care in their patients’ homes with lower readmission rates, more physical mobility and a positive patient experience.
The ability to monitor the patient’s oxygen level at home through RPM is the key to not having to do so in the hospital. Providers can keep an eye on the patient’s oxygen level while they are at home and make necessary adjustments.
WITHmyDOC’s RPM@Home™ kit has had this functionality even prior to COVID-19. Less severe COVID patients can be monitored daily without leaving their home using RPM@Home’s tablet and pulse oximeter. A unique advantage of WITHmyDOC’s kit is that if the patient is on oxygen, the physician’s monitoring dashboard shows how much oxygen the patient is taking, in addition to their oxygen level.
RPM@Home™ allows physicians to set target parameters for each’s patient’s vital signs. It will trigger a critical alert if the patient’s vital signs fall out of normal range. At that point, with a COVID-19 patient, the physician can decide whether an at-home treatment modification is in order, whether the amount of oxygen the patient receives needs to change, or whether the patient needs to be admitted to the hospital.
Advantages of the RPM@Home™ COVID-19 solution include:
- Optimizing hospital bed utilization;
- Protecting less serious patients at home;
- Recording and submitting oxygen levels via a Bluetooth device to the platform;
- Having the platform capture prescribed oxygen use, providing patient status with or without oxygen; and
- Sending alerts if the patient falls outside of set parameters.
Using RPM@Home for less severe COVID patients is a risk mitigation tool that proactively protects patients, reduces the spread of infection and helps alleviate hospital capacity issues.