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A modern version of a house call

A modern version of a house call

We’ve seen the commercials—a video “doorbell” that lets you see and hear who is at your front door. That kind of instant communication is now helping patients at Campbell County Health Home Health with telemonitoring in Campbell County, Wyoming. The first service of its kind offered at CCH, telemonitoring transmits clinical information like blood pressure from the patient’s home to trained home health nurses in about four minutes.

“It can be difficult for some home health patients to know just when something has changed and they need to call the nurse,” says Ashley Fraser, registered nurse and Home Health Director. “Having the patient’s clinical information sent to us several times a day gives us the opportunity to intervene more quickly if needed.”

CCH Home Health telemonitoring equipmentPatients with a chronic condition like COPD or a cardiology diagnosis are eligible for the telemonitoring program, which started December 2018. If the home health nurse determines that they could benefit from home monitoring, patients receive a kit that contains a scale, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter (to measure oxygen levels in the body) and a transmitter. They are trained to use the equipment until they feel comfortable doing it themselves.

“Having the equipment in their homes brings them comfort,” says Ashley. “It prepares them to be more independent when they are discharged from home health.”

Home Health nurse Annette Smith agrees. She has helped several patients use the telemonitoring equipment successfully. In one case, Annette was able to verify a patient’s changing condition and intervene quickly.

“The issue might not have been found without it,” said Annette.

Up to 15 patients at a time can utilize telemonitoring, and additional equipment, like a glucometer (device that measures blood sugar levels) can be added to the kits. Also in the works are tablet computers for video monitoring, planned for implementation in the spring.

“This technology expands the reach of home health to even more rural patients,” says Ashley. “And it has great potential to expand to more than just home health. This program is laying the foundation for use in things like wound care or even primary care visits. We’ve been working on this for about a year now and it’s already been a great success.”

Campbell County Health's Home Health in Gillette, Wyoming provides care to patients at home—where they receive support from trained medical professionals, family, friends, plus the comfort of familiar surroundings. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/HHH.

Photo: Home Health registered nurse Annette Smith shows the contents of the kit used for home telemonitoring.