Home monitoring keeps chronic patients out of hospital

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

Whether it’s COPD, heart failure, or another chronic disease, managing complex conditions can be challenging. This has led to a rise in home health monitoring. Keeping people medically supervised at home goes a long way in keeping them out of the hospital.

Heart patient Eric Stemmers has spent a lot of time in hospitals. He survived three heart attacks and multiple medical procedures. “I have congestive heart failure, I came down with at first. And I got a defibrillator and a pacemaker put in,” he explained.

Stemmer’s problems aren’t going anywhere, and he feels the same way. He would like to stay home if it’s medically safe. Thanks to Lee Health’s virtual health program, he can.

They mailed me a blood pressure cuff. A scale and the blood oxygen and it automatically monitors on my laptop. Eric Stemmers

“They mailed me a blood pressure cuff. A scale and the blood oxygen, and it automatically monitors on my laptop. And it goes to a Lee Health virtual nurse and doctor.”

He is part of a growing patient population being watched from the comfort of home. Lee Health’s medical director of Lee’s Virtual Health, Zsolt Kulcsar, said the system continues to grow. “It’s really kind of the future of medicine, where we meet patients in their home at their place of service, at their convenience. So what this program is built on is people have chronic conditions, they often have very small changes, and the small changes over time can accumulate and cause an exacerbation of that condition,” Kulcsar told Wink News Health and Medical reporter Amy Oshier.

If unnoticed, small changes can become big- even life-threatening- problems. By using take-home devices, patients can monitor metrics like blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and weight. Data goes into a computer and is checked by a nurse or doctor in a central command center.

As home health grows, it reaches more people, beginning with chronic conditions and expanding into acute ones. Including high-risk pregnancy and septic infections. Conditions that need monitoring.

Patients aren’t the only ones being monitored. Hospitals are, too. Lee Health’s 30-day readmission rate is 50% lower for people medically supervised at home.

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