Mobile health tools cut readmissions for congestive heart patients

Penn Medicine is using an app and a tablet to cut readmission rates for heart failure patients in its Penn Care at Home program.

The software solution, HRS Patient Connect, is slicing congestive heart failure readmission rates at Penn Medicine's program by 53 percent, according to an announcement. The rates went down from 8 percent to 3.8 percent between July 2014 and February 2015.

That 3.8 percent figure is nearly a five-fold dip when compared to the national average of 19.5 percent of patients who return for hospital treatment within 30 days of discharge, the announcement says.

"Since launching with HRS, we've had our best CHF readmission performance to date," Anne Norris, Penn Care at Home's chief medical officer, says in the announcement. "In six of the last 12 months we have had zero 30- day readmissions ...There's a secret sauce here, using this tool to engage patients in their own self-care."

Success such as this points to why providers, payers and patients are embracing mHealth. Other examples where the tools are helping providers include at the Meritage Accountable Care Organization, located in California, where a two-year ,mobile care management project has led to a lower number of hospital readmissions of high-risk patients. Post-operative tools are playing a role as well, such as an app that helps patients understand elective recovery issues before surgery.

In the Penn Care at Home 85-day program, patients are given 4G tablets with information on how to stay healthy and provided with customized instruction regarding medication, as well as instructional videos and individual care plans for the 30-day discharge timeframe. Patients monitor and record progress to care members, providing insight on vital signs, side effects and post-hospital care issues, which are then shared with a nurse, the announcement says.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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