Catholic Health System Home Care selects McKesson's advanced remote monitoring solution to reshape home care delivery

Atlanta 24 October 2006In a major step to enhance its service outreach, Catholic Health System Home Care (CHS Home Care) of Buffalo, New York, recently selected McKesson's Telehealth Advisor advanced remote monitoring and disease management system to provide telemonitoring services for its home care patients. As one of the largest home care providers in Western New York, CHS Home Care employs more than 400 associates who care for thousands of patients daily in a variety of settings. By partnering with McKesson for telehealth capabilities, CHS Home Care's goal is to achieve co-ordinated clinical care across settings and programmes by enabling daily connection with chronic disease patients outside the scope of traditional home care.

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"Home health has traditionally focused on treating symptoms", stated Mark A. Sullivan, CHCE, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health System's Home Care Division. "Traditional home care visits will always be the foundation of CHS's care delivery, but increased instances of chronic illness in a rapidly aging population make it imperative that we focus on prevention and wellness. McKesson's Telehealth Advisor is the only system with the depth of disease management content, including NCQA-certified programmes, and the level of integration that the current and future health care environment demands."

McKesson's Telehealth Advisor solution consists of three components: disease management programmes, Health Buddy appliance from Health Hero Network Inc., and a monitoring application for use by the home care agency. The system is designed to reduce patient re-hospitalizations by monitoring conditions and modifying behaviours through targeted education and feedback. The remote technology enables home care agencies to collect patients' vital signs, such as weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, via an easy-to-use electronic device in the home and then transmit this data to the agency's office.

CHS had a successful pilot over the last year with local HMOs and plans to enhance its service to include broader disease management by now utilizing McKesson Telehealth Advisor. Each patient will receive a Health Buddy in-home monitoring appliance. Patients will respond daily to McKesson Telehealth Advisor's diagnosis-specific disease management education content. CHS also anticipates that the telehealth technology will be an effective adjunct to its chaplains and spiritual counselors for patients who live alone and are more susceptible to depression and loneliness.

The selection of Telehealth Advisor builds upon CHS's investment in McKesson's Horizon Home Care information solution. The seamless integration between the two systems streamlines data gathering and collection and ultimately supports better care co-ordination and patient outcomes. All patient clinical data collected by McKesson Telehealth Advisor flows to the electronic medical record held in the Horizon Homecare system, where it becomes available to the entire care team.

"CHS Home Care has a track record for success in the innovative use of technology, and we are excited to expand our partnership", stated Craig Frazier, McKesson's vice president and general manager of Extended Care Solutions. "Working closely with home care industry thought leaders like CHS helps us to stay on top of emerging issues and better anticipate our customer's needs."

Telehealth Advisor is a key component of McKesson's consumer and personal health offerings. In addition to Telehealth Advisor, McKesson's consumer solutions include on-line physician consultation services, Web portal technology, triage software and personal emergency response systems, to name a few. These solutions serve the growing market for interactive technologies that empower consumers through secure electronic access to health care providers, personal health records, health care financial management systems and other tools.

Formed in 1998, the Catholic Health System is one of the two largest health care providers in Western New York. The organisation's more than 8000 associates and 1200 physicians care for hundreds of thousands of patients through home health care, acute care, long-term and sub-acute care, adult homes, counseling, social service and behavioural health programmes. Home Care services encompass several divisions that provide skilled nursing care, rehabilitation services, private duty nurses, home health care aide services, spiritual care, medical equipment services, a personal emergency response system (Lifeline) and in-home meals.

McKesson Corporation is a health care services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality health care by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 173-year history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; health care information technology for hospitals, physicians, home care, and payers; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payers designed to improve outcomes for patients. More company news is available in the VMW March 2006 article Foothills Health Information Network and Oconee Memorial Hospital select McKesson for e-prescribing and Electronic Health Records.


Leslie Versweyveld

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