Senior Independence Retirement Services selects WebVMC to provide remote disease management services for continuing care patients

Columbus 19 December 2006Senior Independence, a division of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services (OPRS), Ohio's largest and most experienced not-for-profit provider of continuing care retirement communities and services, has signed a partnership with WebVMC, developer of a telehealth system enabling anytime, anywhere virtual medical care technology for remote disease management.

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"At Senior Independence, our focus is on general preventative health care for clients living in senior housing units, many of whom may have unknown or unmet health needs", stated Sally Huston, RN, MSN, Clinical Director for Senior Independence. "Our selection for a telehealth services provider was driven by the desire to improve our existing system so that a nurse was not needed during a client's actual visit. Once we saw a demonstration of WebVMC, we were very impressed with its unique features, ease of use and affordability."

"When we initially designed our technology, we realized there was a real need for a system that would work in multiple settings such as patient homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities, as well as community sites and remote geographic areas", stated Scott Sheppard, President and CEO of WebVMC. "We made our programme interactive, easy to use and low cost so that it can be used to manage a person's health anytime, anywhere, and be accessed by any member of the medical support team."

A key feature of the Web-based telehealth system is the RemoteNurse device, which weighs less than 3 pounds and has an 8-inch colour display that allows the patient to easily interact with the system. The device also has a built-in speaker for communicating with the patient through verbalized assessment questions and instructions for using the various measurement devices available.

RemoteNurse is only one of many unique capabilities of the system, including the following features:

  • Gives patient instructions both visually and audibly.
  • Runs in multiple languages, including Spanish, English, German, French and Russian.
  • Patients can review their previous measurement results on the RemoteNurse.
  • Acts as an educational tool for patients by allowing them to access training materials and information via the Web.
  • Sends "instant alerts" to clinicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when a reading shows something is wrong.

Karen Ambrose, Director of Senior Independence for Mahoning Valley, in Ohio, reports positive feedback about the system from clients like 65-year-old Diane Ziegler, who uses the kiosk at the Senior Center in Youngstown. "I had open heart surgery recently and with the RemoteNurse, I can easily check my blood pressure when I come to the centre for my woodcarving class", stated the retired library clerk. "I just scan my card and follow the touch screen instructions. It's much more convenient than scheduling an appointment at my doctor's office."

Seventy-nine-year-old Marion Slavin, who works part time at the centre, agreed. "The RemoteNurse is easy to use and informative as well", stated Marion Slavin, who uses the system to check her blood pressure 2-3 times a week. "After you swipe your card it will ask you how you are feeling, if you have taken your medications and any other questions incorporated into your programme. My doctor is very happy that I'm using the equipment on a regular basis because she knows it means I'm taking care of myself."

Sally Huston said that this kind of regular monitoring and involvement in self-care maintenance is exactly what Senior Independence was seeking to enhance their goal of reducing costly emergency room visits and possibly unnecessary hospitalizations for patients.

Senior Independence is a pioneer and national model in home- and community-based services and is a division of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services (OPRS), Ohio's largest and most experienced not-for-profit provider of continuing care retirement communities and services. Senior Independence is a statewide programme and serves more than 48.000 older adults.

WebVMC provides virtual healthcare technology using the Internet to manage care for the person with a chronic illness, connecting the patient, caregiver and clinician for 24/7 disease management from any location, in multiple health care delivery systems - home care, hospitals and assisted living facilities. With innovative capabilities, such as audio tracks, touch-screen access and instant messaging, WebVMC's products are user-friendly, comprehensive solutions that cost-effectively manage patients with chronic illness for better health status and better quality of life. More company news is available in the VMW November 2006 article Eastern North Carolina Community takes radical approach to fight two major health problems.


Leslie Versweyveld

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