Technology to Monitor Patients at Home
Cleveland Clinic tests health-monitoring technology geared for patients to use
Clinic tests monitoring systems for patient use
Monday, November 10, 2008
Plain Dealer Reporter
The Cleveland Clinic is testing an electronic health technology that could help transform the way its doctors and other caregivers practice medicine.
The Clinic is partnering with Microsoft HealthVault to enable certain patients to monitor chronic conditions - high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure - at home. These patients will use high-tech devices, home computers and the Internet to keep Clinic doctors posted on their conditions.
The doctors could rely on the information to adjust medications or order aggressive medical care without seeing patients for office visits. Early medical interventions could lead to healthier patients and fewer hospital admissions, lowering costs.
"There is evidence in the literature that these kinds of more continuous monitoring programs do improve the health of patients over time," said Dr. C. Martin Harris, the Clinic's chief information officer.
"This allows us to begin thinking about treating patients when they're not in a hospital bed or in our office," Harris said.
The Clinic and Microsoft are providing patients with digital blood pressure and heart rate monitors, as well as blood sugar meters, said Peter Neupert, vice president of Microsoft's Health Solutions Group.
The monitors and meters can be plugged into computers, which upload information into HealthVault - the online service that enables users to collect, organize and share their health information.
The Clinic's electronic health record system, called MyChart, would grab the information from HealthVault, making it available to doctors in the form they choose, Neupert said.
The Clinic hopes to involve between 400 and 500 patients in the 90-day pilot project, which began Nov. 5, Harris said.
Frequent monitoring of chronic conditions could arm patients with information to better manage their health.
"One of the good parts of MyChart is it runs an ongoing graph of my blood pressure readings," said William Joseph Moore of Lorain, who has participated in the HealthVault pilot for about a week.
Moore takes his blood pressure reading at least once a day. "It gives you a good opportunity to interact with your doctor on a daily basis," he said.
Because home monitoring technologies have the potential for lowering the cost of health care, Moore also believes they could have "far-reaching implications" for people who lack insurance or money to pay for regular doctor office visits.
We are presently talking to VISICU/Phillips about similar technology and process using home monitoring and our eICU as a nursing hub for remote evaluation/disposition of chronic disease (CHF, COPD, etc.) patients. I'll keep you up to date on our progress with the project.
James V. Palermo, MD
Chief Quality Officer
Health First Inc