Telehealth Company Gains Ground in Home Health Care’s Battle Against Hospital Readmissions

At a time when health care costs keep rising, in-home care providers are increasingly looking for innovative ways to keep older adults out of the hospital. Many providers have turned to telehealth company Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) to aide in such efforts.

Among them is Sentara Home Care, which has been able to lower its hospital readmission rates significantly since implementing remote patient monitoring software from HRS.

Hoboken, New Jersey-based HRS provides medical centers and home care agencies with a comprehensive remote monitoring platform, complete with blood pressure monitors, scales and pulse oximeters.

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Norfolk, Virginia-based Sentara Home Care provides home health and hospice services in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Last year, Sentara Home Care partnered with HRS and began using telehealth and remote patient monitoring for its high-acuity patients.

As a result, it saw a 9.09% 30-day all-cause readmission rate for its telehealth patients over seven months. That’s lower than the Virginia hospital readmission rate average by 39%, according to statistics provided by the company.

“We started the company eight years ago, and the main reason was to address readmission,” HRS CEO Jarrett Bauer told Home Health Care News. “We have telehealth products that address medication, diet, lack of caregiver support and health literacy.”

Sentara Home Care’s success is not an anomaly for HRS. The company, which launched in 2012, has worked with several home health organizations and health systems to implement its telehealth solution.

Valley Home Care, Community VNA, NVNA and Hospice, Well Care Home Health and Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice, for example, have all worked with the telehealth company. In total, HRS’s platform is utilized by 140 medical organizations.

After implementing HRS’s telehealth platform, Valley Home Care’s monthly hospital readmission rates dropped to as low as 2%. Meanwhile, Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice achieved a 7.5% hospital readmission rate, while Community VNA reported a 55% reduction in hospital readmission rates between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019.

In general, hospital readmissions are fairly common in the U.S., costing Medicare roughly $26 billion annually, according to a 2019 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

As part of its business plan, HRS’s team works closely with providers to make sure all tech and systems are appropriately rolled out.

For instance, providers are set up with tablets to facilitate video visits with clients. HRS also offers, informational videos and biometric devices so that providers can take action even if they are out of parameters, according to Bauer.

“It’s getting them set up with our client success managers, talking with their team, understanding how to best structure their program, listening to them — and then executing,” Bauer said.

In August, Eden Health also partnered with HRS for its high-risk patients at 10 home health and hospice locations in California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho and Arizona.

As a part of the program, which, again, aims to reduce rehospitalizations, Eden Health offered 24/7 patient monitoring to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and congestive heart failure (CHF) patients.

Eden Health also utilized video conferencing and medication tracking in rural communities.

“Telehealth allows us to identify changes in a patient’s condition early so that we can provide prompt interventions that keep the patient where they want to be,” Kristina Wood, divisional manager of clinical Operations at Eden Health, said in a statement. “It also enables the opportunity for our clinicians to connect face-to-face with a patient and/or their caregiver at a moment’s notice, supporting them and reducing their anxiety.”

For now, HRS devices are not reimbursed through Medicare, but Bauer believes this may change in the coming years.

“It’s not something that is reimbursed by Medicare, but it’s something that [CMS] is looking into for [2020],” he said. 

In September, HRS raised a $10 million Series B investment from Edison Partners, bringing the company’s total funding raised to $16 million.

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