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Health Services seeks to monitor patient vitals remotely


Health Services of Northern New York will use tele-health tablets for nurses to monitor the vital signs of patients remotely to cut down on emergency room visits.

The tablets from Honeywell HomMed also are meant to streamline the work flow of employees of Health Services, which provides home health care in St. Lawrence County, and improve overall care because patients can be monitored around the clock.

“We believe we’re the first home-health agency in the county doing it,” Administrator Matthew D. O’Bryan said. “This is geared for people determined to be at high risk for rehospitalization. Many will still need a nurse to come. It would be very individualized.”

The Genesis Touch tablet-like devices will allow patients to participate in their own care by sending alerts when it is time to check vital statistics. Each tablet is connected to a blood pressure cuff, a forefinger sensor that measures blood oxygen and a scale for weight. The Bluetooth-powered tablet also will ask the patient a series of “yes” or “no” questions. If the results are outside of the ranges set by a doctor, a nurse will be alerted.

“This will allow us to see their vitals and other diagnostic measures live. It communicates the information directly to us. It will help extend the eyes and ears of the physicians,” Mr. O’Bryan said. “This allows someone who has some chronic health problems to have the benefit of someone seeing them every day. It’s much more efficient.”

What often happens with patients with chronic health issues is that they head to the emergency room when they are not feeling well. The hope is the tele-monitors will let nurses know when a patient’s condition is volatile. It also will alert the agency if a patient misses a reading so the nurse can visit.

The devices are simple to operate, although nurses will spend some time training patients how to use them, Mr. O’Bryan said.

Health Services will work with hospitals to set rules on how the equipment is distributed and try to follow up to see whether the devices keep patients from being rehospitalized.

Honeywell HomMed President John Bojanowski said his company is committed to finding solutions in tele-health monitoring.

“We look forward to our continued collaboration with Health Services of Northern New York working together to improve patient care and outcomes, and reduce health care costs through enhanced workflow efficiencies,” he said in a statement.

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