FDA Approves 2 Philips Telehealth Apps Aimed at Improving Transition Home

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two telehealth apps from electronics company Philips that seek to ease the transition from hospital to home care, the company announced earlier this month. 

The eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion apps, part of Philips Hospital to Home’s suite of telehealth programs, focus on reducing readmissions to the hospital by providing physicians with data while patients recover at home. 

“The FDA clearance of the Philips eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion applications marks the first major step in realizing our vision for a digital health platform that seamlessly integrates data to transform the way we deliver patient care,” said Jeroen Tas, CEO of Philips Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services.

Both eCareCoordinator and eCareCompanion are part of the Philips Transition to Ambulatory Care (eTrAC) program, a clinical program whose goal is to help health care providers reduce readmissions and lower health care costs by focusing on effective chronic care management within the home.

The app eCareCoordinator supports population health management by providing clinicians with a daily review of each of their patients, allowing them to prioritize patients and adjust care plans or intervene as needed.

It gives clinicians real-time access to both objective health data – such as vital signs, blood pressure and weight – as well as subjective responses collected via health questionnaires and other communication with the care team about the patient’s status. 

The eCareCompanion app serves as a patient portal, driving patient engagement and self-management. Accessed via a tablet, it allows patients to answer questions about their health and enter requested measurements to stay connected with their care teams.

Its ability to connect with medical devices, such as a weight scale, oximeter, blood pressure meter and medicine dispenser, gives a better picture of the patient’s health status. The app also reminds them of pre-assigned health tasks, such as taking medications.

The two apps will support new at-home care models like the program being piloted at Banner Health, a pioneer accountable care organization (ACO) in Arizona.

Banner Health’s Hospital@Home program provides four weeks of monitoring following a hospital discharge. Patients who agree to participate receive in-patient teaching reinforced by a visit from a Banner Home Care nurse who provides health education, reviews medication records and sets up home monitoring equipment.

The Banner Gateway team also schedules the patient’s doctors appointment for follow-up care and provides medical coverage if necessary before they can see their primary care doctor.

Philips will be launching a similar program with Henry Ford Health System, an integrated health system based in Michigan. 

“As our health care ecosystem evolves to meet the needs of a rapidly aging population while facing financial realities, we’re seeing that digital health care can help us improve patient care and their quality of life,” said Hargobind Khurana, Medical Director of Banner Telehealth. “We’re eager to incorporate these two new applications as part of our telehealth program to our patients and clinicians to facilitate better recovery at home.” 

Written by Emily Study