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Digital medicine collaborations are picking up speed. Just last week, biosensor company Valencell and data analytics firm FirstBeat announced a collaboration. Last year we covered VitalConnect and BePatient, another pair of biosensor and analytics companies, who collaborated in a trial program at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek and Concord, California to monitor heart failure patients after discharge.

Now Boston’s Partners HealthCare Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is stepping up the collaboration concept by adding provider-based video conferencing and clinical home visits to the mix. The trial started with 60 patients in 2016 and is now expanding to 500 randomly selected patients. The patient pool is drawn from people who went to the BWH emergency department with problems with heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, cellulitis, or complicated urinary tract infections. Rather than hospitalization, half of the patients are fitted with VitalConnect’s VitalPatch biosensor and assigned to the “home hospital” program. The other half are admitted to the hospital. The VitalPatch continuously streams vital signs including single-lead ECG, heart rate, heart rate interval, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, skin temperature, body posture, fall posture, fall detection, and activity including steps. The incoming data is are analyzed by BePatient’s PhysIQ Personalized Physiology Analytics platform at the hospital so the care teams stay informed. Patients and clinicians will be able to video conference and either a doctor or nurse will make a home visit each day.

The BWH Home Hospital project is measuring a series of meta outcomes. The group is tracking reduction of hospitalization costs for the group who receive care at home versus those who are admitted. The study also tracks health outcomes plus health-related quality of life, patient safety, and overall patient experience. This decentralized care model may seem like a return to doctor’s visit instead of hospitalization, but the hope is that the use of biosensors, real-time data analytics, video conferencing, and the daily visits can combine the best health care while reducing costs.