WebVMC's telehealth system helps Piedmont Hospital reduce heart patient re-admissions by 23 percent

Atlanta 04 April 2007The Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital, a recognized expert in cardiovascular care, has achieved a dramatic improvement in patient outcomes and reduced hospital re-admissions as a result of their utilization of the RemoteNurse mobile technology system from WebVMC, a provider of telehealth technology.


Hospital re-admissions 30 days after discharge for heart patients in the telehealth programme were 23 percent lower than for patients not in the programme, a difference of a 1,4 percent re-admission rate versus a 6 percent re-admission rate. Both figures are significantly below the national average of 20 percent for hospital re-admissions for heart patients 30 days after discharge.

The lower re-admission rates for telehealth patients were sustained over time, with only four percent of the telehealth patients requiring hospitalization at 90 days post-discharge as compared to 11 percent of patients not in the telehealth programme.

The heart centre initially purchased 70 RemoteNurse units and installed them in various home locations, enabling the nurses to monitor patients remotely. Patients and their caregivers recorded their health status each day. This information was immediately accessible to the nurses monitoring those patients. In addition to improving the patients' health status, the telehealth programme helped the nursing staff be more efficient and generated cost savings for the hospital through better staffing efficiency, decreased re-admissions and reduced visits to the emergency room.

In addition to these positive health care outcomes, 100 percent of the patients surveyed rated the programme as excellent to good. All patients reported that the RemoteNurse was easy to use and helped them manage or improve their health. Many commented on the feelings of reassurance and self-empowerment that the system provided.

Physicians at the hospital appreciate the improved outcomes and dedicated care their patients receive. "Overall, the hospital is extremely pleased with the results of the programme", stated Mark Silverman, M.D., Fuqua Chief of Cardiology at Piedmont Hospital. "This is one of the major programmes the hospital has added. The patients I send to the Heart Failure Resource Center (HFRC) are clearly doing much better and staying out of the hospital which is important to the patient and the hospital."

Heart Failure Resource Center - Hospital Recidivism - 5-1-2005 through 4-30-2006

DRG 127 - Heart Failure and Shock Volume Number of 30-day Inpatient Heart Failure Re-admissions 30-day Re-admission Rate Number of 90-day Inpatient Heart Failure Re-admissions 90-day Re-admission Rate
Piedmont Hospital 717 42 6% 80 11%
Fuqua Heart Failure Resource Center 138 2 1,4% 5 4%
National Re-admission Rate 20%

Aghababian RV. Acutely decompensated heart failure: opportunities to improve care and outcomes in the emergency department. Rev Cardiovasc Med 2002;3(suppl 4):S3-9.

The pioneering programme began in 2004 when Fuqua Heart Center began community outreach to heart failure patients in an effort to improve patient care and reduce chronic re-admissions through the emergency department. The programme goals were to increase the geographical reach of services, serve more patients, and increase the intensity of services for high risk, chronically-ill patients.

"We were looking for a programme that would be user-friendly, accessible and cost effective for the nursing staff", stated Jennie Mattia, RN, manager of cardiovascular quality and heart failure disease management at the Fuqua Heart Center. "When we saw a demonstration of WebVMC's web-based programme and RemoteNurse monitor unit, we were immediately impressed with its ease of use for patients and staff, and its connectivity that made information available anytime from any PC and even notified our nurses about readings that indicated a potential problem."

"Piedmont Hospital's renowned Fuqua Heart Center and its commitment to innovation and the highest quality of patient care made it the perfect place to demonstrate the value of our software-based telehealth system in improving the quality of care for heart patients", stated Bill Behnke, chief development officer for WebVMC.

Added Scott Sheppard, president and chief technology officer of WebVMC: "The HFRC needed a system that was cost-effective, easy to use, and web-based to allow access to data anytime, anywhere. Our product was specifically designed to meet those criteria and other unique needs that hospitals demand."

The Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital, a recognized expert in comprehensive cardiovascular care, is located on the campus of Piedmont Hospital, a 458-bed tertiary care facility offering all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services. The Fuqua Heart Center offers an expansive range of cardiac services including prevention, diagnostic testing, cardiac catheterization and intervention, electrophysiology, adult cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, rehabilitation and cutting-edge research. Nationally accredited programmes in cardiac rehabilitation, echocardiography, peripheral vascular and heart failure are available to patients.

Celebrating a century of better care, Piedmont Hospital is a 458-bed acute tertiary care facility offering all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services. Piedmont is a recipient of the 2007 and 2006 Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety according to HealthGrades, a health care ratings company, as well as one of the United States' Most Wired hospitals in the 2005 and 2004 100 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study. The hospital is also a recipient of a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval for health care quality.

Piedmont Hospital is a member of Piedmont Healthcare (PHC), a not-for-profit. Piedmont Healthcare also includes Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 106-bed community hospital in Fayetteville, one of the United States' 100 Top Hospitals for the past three years, and one of the United States' Most Wired hospitals; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 35-bed community hospital in Jasper, named 2006 Hospital of the year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals; the Piedmont Hospital Foundation; the Piedmont Physicians Group, with more than 70 primary care physicians in a network of 21 offices throughout metro Atlanta; and Piedmont Clinic, a 496-member physician network.

In addition, VNA Care Network and Hospice, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, has selected WebVMC to supply its web-based telehealth monitoring system for patients served by the 116-year-old organisation, the second largest of its kind in the United States.

The deal calls for the telehealth monitors to be placed in homes of patients in Central and Eastern Massachusetts beginning spring 2007. The VNA Care Network and Hospice Telehealth Programme sets the standard of care for managing the health of Medicare patients with chronic illness, including CHF, COPD, and diabetes, or those at risk for re-hospitalization.

"We chose WebVMC because its system offers the best clinical disease management while still being easily used by both patients and staff", stated Karen Green, president and CEO of VNA Care Network and Hospice. "In addition, WebVMC is committed to excellence, remaining the leader in telemonitoring through research and development. This philosophy dovetails perfectly with the mission of quality and excellence that the VNA Care Network and Hospice strives to provide the communities we serve."

WebVMC has provided successful solutions to dozens of hospitals and home health care providers across the United States and is a recognized leader in Web-based telehealth technology. "We knew that VNA Care Network and Hospice provides virtual nursing visits in addition to traditional, in-person care, so the RemoteNurse solution was a perfect fit for their needs", stated Bill Behnke. "Our software is designed to be used on multiple platforms, including kiosks, PCs, PDAs, and cell phones, giving the health care team the greatest amount of freedom to manage patients' health anytime, anywhere."

Scott Sheppard believes that using software-based solutions to telemonitor patients is the wave of the future in the health care business. "Remote disease management is a new and effective way to measure and monitor key vital factors in the comfort of the resident's living situation, by letting them remain independent in their own home yet still participate in their own health outcomes", stated Scott Sheppard. "Our web-based system gives caregivers immediate access to vital patient information, identifying any health status changes that need early intervention. The result is decreasing or avoiding altogether the need for emergency room visits or hospitalizations."

VNA Care Network and Hospice is one of the largest non-profit, freestanding Visiting Nurse Associations (VNA) in the United States. The agency offers home health care, palliative care, hospice, and wellness services to residents of Eastern and Central Massachusetts.

WebVMC provides virtual health care 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 April 2007 article Telehealth technology provider WebVMC increases growth by 400 percent in 2006.

Leslie Versweyveld

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