Any parent will tell you that given the choice, they’d rather care for a sick child at home instead of having the youngster in a hospital. Besides the cost factor involved, kids can get better, more personal care from a parent or relative, and with medical facilities being a breeding ground for all sorts of diseases, it makes sense to keep kids as far away from that as possible.
Those are just some of the reasons why St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, New York’s largest provider of post-acute care to children and young adults with medical complexity, has been awarded a grant of more than $900,000 to improve care for children who receive services at home via the implementation of an innovative, remote-patient monitoring telehealth program.
The telehealth initiative, the first in New York for children with medical complexity, is supported by AMC Health, a provider of proven remote patient monitoring solutions for organizations serving at-risk populations.
“Remote patient monitoring is redefining how and where patients receive care, with meaningful and clinically actionable information collected at the patient’s home,” said Nesim Bildirici, president and chief executive officer of AMC Health. “We are excited to collaborate with St. Mary’s to bring the proven benefits of telehealth to pediatric populations.”
The program will rely strongly on an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system inquiring about the child’s medication adherence, falls, emergency room visits, occurrences of major medical events, and other changes in condition.
“The responses to the brief two to three minute calls automatically generate reports, flagging responses that require immediate outreach by the telehealth nurse manager or other home care staff,” the company noted in a statement. “The calls provide an additional opportunity to enhance communication and improve the collection of patient information, thus identifying potential areas of risk and enabling the case manager to step in with appropriate and preventive interventions.”
Additional expected outcomes are increased communication among clinicians, accelerated medical interventions, and improved organizational efficiencies.
The emerging population of children with medical complexities (more than three million) is now growing at a rate of five percent nationally, which is approximately double that of typically developing children. This population currently accounts for 33 percent of all pediatric healthcare costs, but represents less than three percent of the pediatric population. The grant will allow St. Mary’s to supplement its existing community programs to enable at-risk children to remain at home with their families.