"Wealth from Health" and CyberCare concepts to stimulate patient self management

Boynton Beach 16 July 2001The Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey, will conduct a 12-month funded programme using CyberCare's telehealth technology, products and services under the guidance of Douglas Ratner, M.D. The programme is made possible by a grant from Merck & Company, a research-driven pharmaceutical product and services company. Under the programme, CyberCare will install four patient monitoring units at remote locations as well as the central monitoring station at the hospital.

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Throughout the programme, the CyberCare System, consisting of the Electronic HouseCall family of products, the CyberCare 24 Network and the Cyber HealthManager, will be used to monitor patients diagnosed with cancer and chronic conditions including coronary disease, congestive heart failure, and geriatric concerns. Under the programme, which is slated for initial installation by July 31, 2001, patients will receive EHC equipment and network services, allowing them to instantly transmit their vital signs to their caregiver, as well as speak with and see their caregiver in real time through the Electronic HouseCall patient monitoring station.

According to Dr. Ratner, CyberCare's technology is a natural extension of a disease and population management programme called "Wealth From Health" which he has successfully implemented for twelve years. "Wealth from Health" boasts a credit-based incentive format instrumental in motivating more than 1200 patients to self manage their disease management processes and adhere to preventive guidelines.

Dr. Ratner is currently the Director of Internal Medicine Residency at Overlook Hospital and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Columbia Physicians and Surgeons. He was the originator of the "Wealth from Health" concept, which he founded to help his patients in private practice. Dr. Ratner has also been actively involved in introducing disease management and e-health care solutions to Overlook Hospital and the community it serves.

"Now we are in position to scale the programme and reach a larger number of patients in a more cost-effective manner while they are in the comfort of their homes or workplaces", Dr. Ratner said. "Such cutting-edge technology allows for real time transmission of vital signs including blood pressure, blood sugars, weight, oxygen saturation, and temperature to their care providers. The CyberCare System also provides the platform for interactive educational video sessions, for which in this time of managed care, patients are craving."

"In our consumer-centric world, this type of technology fits nicely into patients' existing life styles and may be able to help in reducing the potential for medical errors. This programme will equally be instrumental in teaching young physicians to incorporate such new technology into their practices and the delivery of medical care in the future", Dr. Ratner added. Michael E. Lemnitzer, vice president of business development for CyberCare, is starting to see a trend in hospitals looking for a real balance between reducing costs associated with treating the chronically ill while improving their care.

"Our technology gives patients the chance to pro-actively manage their own health while providing their physicians with the means to receive more accurate up-to-the-minute data concerning their condition", as Mr. Lemnitzer stated. "Leading hospitals like Overlook will be among the first to realise the true advantage of the CyberCare System and the Internet, as well as the benefits they bring to managing chronic disease in the home, the work environment, and other community-based locations." More hospital news from CyberCare is available in the VMW July 2001 article James A. Haley and Cyber-Care finalise specialised telehealth training for federal health care installations.


Leslie Versweyveld

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