Residents at Green Hills Community will be able to meet with doctors in real time without the need for a return trip to the hospital for care.
Green Hills, 6557 S. U.S. Route 68, West Liberty, is now part of a grant-funded two-year pilot project to bring telehealth care to the residents. This project is a collaboration between LeadingAge Ohio and the Optimized Care Network to allow a patient and nurse to directly connect online with the medical director, or any doctor, for a consultation or examination.
The grant provides for the establishment of a state-of-the-art healthcare clinic, known as a CareSpace, that houses a 55-inch 3-D monitor to allow the doctor to see, diagnose, treat and interact with patients. For now, Dr. Charles Kratz, Green Hills medical director, has the ability to communicate with the patients day or night when needed. Eventually, residents will have the option to connect to other doctors and specialists across the state or country for care.
“This is a healthcare experience that puts our residents front and center with a medical professional, allowing them to get even more timely, exceptional, high-tech care that helps coordinate and manage their health,” said Stephanie DeWees, vice president and administrator of Green Hills Community. She further explained, “Imagine having access to the best health professionals in the country without leaving the nursing home setting.”
And, if family lives out of town, there are ways for them to be included in those conversations with the doctor.
The ultimate goal of the project is to demonstrate how increased, responsive access to care reduces the need for trips to the hospital and increase the quality of life for those with complex medical issues. Not only are trips to the hospital expensive and time consuming – they could increase the chances of further complications.
During an 18-month time period following implementation of the program, data will be collected on 50 patients who have received care for congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, or stroke and will be analyzed by graduate students at The Ohio State University. The hope is that the telehealth project will reduce emergency room visits by at least 10 percent and also show a 10 percent reduction in hospital admissions and re-admissions.
Carla Wagner, director of nursing, looks forward to using this new model in health care. She explained, “We have the space, the technology, and the expert medical professionals for one common goal – to provide exceptional care. The future of health care is here.”
Rebecca Marker-Smith is Director of Marketing at Green Hills Community.