Monitoring Medical Conditions at Home: July 22, 2012

Our country’s aging population is creating concern for health officials, because as people get older they tend to require more hospitalizations.

‘Please remove the singer sensor and the blood pressure cuff.’

Janet Rutledge suffers from high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and diabetes, all health conditions that require constant medical monitoring.

“I have all the equipment here and every morning at 8 o’clock the little voice welcomes me - good morning, it’s time to take your stats,” says Rutledge.

She runs through the equivalent of a physical every day.

“I step on the scale and it registers on my monitor. Then it tells me to put on blood pressure cup and the, the oxygen thing and I do that and then it registers.  And then I prick my finger for sugar and that registers.  And the minute it’s all done, there it goes instantly to health care,” says Rutledge.

Janet’s data is transmitted a few miles away to Lee Memorial Health System’s Telehealth office. If anything appears abnormal, they are quick to respond; first by phone, if needed in person.

“The main goal is to keep patients in their home able to take care of themselves and to become independent in their care,” says Cathy Brady, the clinical manager of Telehealth for Lee Memorial Health System.

Right now the service is available to Medicare patients. The aim is to combat budget cuts by keeping people with chronic conditions healthy and out of the hospital.

“That’s going to be the way of the future, because basically you’ve got somebody’s eyes on these folks every single day,” says Brady.

Data shows the remote monitoring is working.

“We have been able to reduce our telehealth re-hospitalization rate to 12 percent. The national rate for re-hospitalization is currently now at 26 percent,” says Brady.

It also gives people like Janet piece of mind, knowing someone is always watching.