The Genesis Touch from Honeywell makes it possible for healthcare workers to monitor and interact with patients in their own homes. As we reported earlier this year, the device is built on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 platform, customized for telehealth uses. It can accept data from a variety of devices, including glucometers, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors. Now a study demonstrates some of the savings that this system can deliver.
The Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice is the largest home care agency in Maine, and as a result, must provide services across a broad rural area that is sparsely populated. The organization was early to adopt telehealth devices so that they could monitor patients remotely. As patients started to shift from landline telephone service to cellular phones, they couldn’t rely on these devices anymore. Instead, they started shifting to the Genesis Touch, as it can rely on in-home WiFi or 4G cellular data service for the data connection. The agency was able to keep their hospital readmissions low — around 6% compared with the national average of 20% — but they also realized other savings. The devices were easier to install and were more intuitive for elderly patients to use, reducing the setup costs and increasing patient engagement. Video chat features let healthcare workers answer patient questions quickly, often saving a home visit that could require a round trip of hundreds of miles. And the video conference feature makes it possible to include family members and caregivers in the conversation when needed.
The ability to monitor and communicate effectively with patients in their own homes is already delivering clear benefits in terms of reduced costs and improved outcomes. Early adopters such as this agency will encourage others to follow suit, and we can expect the use of telehealth systems to grow rapidly.